Monday, April 08, 2013

Bainimarama & Khaiyum's Lies & Evil Designs on iTaukei Land in their Draft Constitution

Bai & Khai Duo dodgy plans for Fijian Land!

 Given the critical importance of land to native Fijians, I thought I will include these pieces posted by Navosavakadua on the FijiToday Blog. It should be thought-provoking to all Fijians in the current political climate as the Bainimarama Dictatorship forces its draft constitution on the people of Fiji.

What a juvenile smart aleck
by navosavakadua
How stupid does Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum think we all are?
He’s claiming that the ‘conversion’ of 68.7 hectares of native land to Crown grant land under the Qarase Government proves that there never was any protection for Native land entrenched in past constitutions.

He knows that there’s always been a provision for the swapping of Native land for Crown land so that essential infrastructure could be provided. 

His STATE LANDS (AMENDMENT) DECREE 2013 (DECREE NO. 7 OF 2013) deals with this issue, putting an end to this small degree of flexibility in Native land legislation. He claimed this was to protect Native land, but it was never more than an attempt to spread the lie that he was all for protecting Native land.
As things stand, Bainimarama’s 2010 Land Use Decree gives him the right as PM to approve 99 years leases under whatever terms and conditions he likes on any native land. He can’t take ownership without proper compensation, but giving 99 year leases with low rents is no different from seizing the land. It will take 4 generations for land to be recovered by its owners.

Under all previous constitutions, the Bainimarama Land Use Decree 2010 would be unconstitutional but the Land Use Decree says “This Decree has effect notwithstanding any provision of the Native Land Trust Act [Cap. 134], Agricultural Landlord and Tenant Act [Cap. 270], Agricultural Landlord and Tenant Ordinance 1966 and any other law”. It over-rides every other law of the land.

As with all ASK decrees there is specific provision that “any decision of any Minister or any State official or body, made under this Decree” cannot be challenged in a “court, tribunal, commission” etc etc.

If Sayed-Khaiyum thinks all this bunkum about land swaps means that we’ll think no protections have been removed he must take us for fools.

This smart-alecky school boy debating shows how out of touch he is with reality.

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Land Use Decree plus Constitution equals land power grab by Bainimarama
by navosavakadua

Understanding of the implications of the Bainimarama constitution’s abolition of all protection for Native land is slowly spreading.

A storm has blown up on the Fiji Democracy Now blogsite on the issue of whether the Qarase Government broke the law with the swap of Native Land for freehold land in the Momi Bay development. It seems two things are being confused here.
(For a legal analysis and more evidence on how the Bainimarama Dictatorship lied about this transaction log on:
1. Was the law broken to effect a swap of native land for freehold?
2. Did the landowners get a fair deal?

On the first issue, it’s clear the law was NOT broken. For starters, if the law had been broken, Sayed-Khaiyum would have jumped at the opportunity to take the Qarase Government before his hand-picked court. Perhaps, the fact that Qarase relied on legal advice might have complicated matters, but make no mistake the opportunity to expose even an innocent mistake would not have been missed.

Without being privy to the details, it seems to me the process was to make an indirect swap. Freehold land was acquired by the State and, under Section 4 of the Crown Lands Act, it is Crown land, and hence capable of being swapped under Section 3. The proof of this comes from none other than Sayed-Khaiyum when he closed what he saw as a loop-hole with (DECREE NO. 7 OF 2013), the STATE LANDS (AMENDMENT) DECREE 2013.

This very specifically disallows the process of an indirect swap. It says “any i Taukei land which is exchanged for portions of State land under subsection (3) must not be exchanged for portions of private freehold land under subsection (4).”

If the indirect swap process was not permitted, why did Sayed-Khaiyum need to issue a decree to ban it?

But let’s not lose sight of what’s important here. Sayed-Khaiyum thought he could take advantage of the confusion and pose as a protector of Native land. And why did he want to do this? Because he knows that once everybody understands that he’s removed all past Constitutional protections of Fijian land he will be the focus of a lot of anger.

As to whether the landowners at Momi got a fair deal, I don’t know and it’s clear there’s a lot of guessing and gossip going on here.

What I do know is that the Bainimarama constitution removes ALL the past protections for Fijian land. Any law on land can be passed with a simple majority. But that’s really no surprise because the key laws covering land have already been swept away by the Land Use Decree, which over-rides the Native Lands Trust Act and ALTA. (The first was designed to protect landowners, the second to protect tenants.)

The Land Use Decree 2010 gives the Prime Minister complete discretion to issue leases of up to 99 years with whatever rents or other conditions he chooses. Under the Land Use Decree 2010 he is required to consider the best interests of the landowners but he must also give equal weight to “the overall wellbeing of the economy.”
It is crystal clear. “All leases issued or renewed under this Decree shall take into consideration at all times the best interest of the land owners and the overall wellbeing of the economy.”

The Land Use Decree also requires that “all land available are leased with the purpose of providing a livelihood for all parties concerned”. What does that mean? Tenant’s rights? Take this in conjunction with “socio-economic” rights in the constitution and it looks like the ASK plan is to create rights for landless people to claim unused Native land, or to have existing leases extended. And remember, the PM’s decisions under the decree cannot be challenged in court. All power to Bainimarama.

This is typical ASK – sneaky and too clever by half. It’s why the constitution had to be rushed through. It’s also why we haven’t heard any details about decisions made by Bainimarama under the Land Use Decree. But ASK is making a mistake if he assumes we are all too stupid to notice the sweeping powers of the Land Use Decree and the removal of all protection of Native land under the draft constitution.

Does Bainimarama have any understanding of what ASK has in mind? Who knows? We can be sure Bainimarama hasn’t read any of the legislation or the draft constitution, but ASK may have told Bainimarama it’s worth trying get these powers over Native land in his hands, as that will be his means of building power.

But this is a very high risk strategy. Once the grab for total power over land is understood by landowners and their family members in the military Bainimarama will be in trouble.

 (For a legal analysis and more evidence on how the Bainimarama Dictatorship lied about this transaction log on:

Click Links to Find Out!

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