Fiji - Listen to youths, chief pleads


Siteri Sauvakacolo, Fiji Times –

Date of publication: 
24 September 2015

GOVERNMENT and Opposition must listen to the youths of Fiji.

The plea was made by member of Opposition Ratu Suliano Matanitobua in Parliament yesterday.

The Tui Namosi referred to conc­erns of Bua urban youths who ca­l­led for wider consultation in the district of Wainunu for the prop­o­sed Wainunu bauxite mine.

“The network is stressing the need for development that is foc­u­s­ed and driven by the people, where all members of the community are meaningfully involved in all stages from consultation, negotiation to monitoring stage,” Ratu Suliano said.

“The network is calling on the Government to abide by the principle of free, prior and informed consent when approaching and negotiating with landowners for the use of natural resources for large scale extraction, such as bauxite mining.

“The network is calling on the iTaukei Affairs Board, which had consistently advocated free, prior, informed, consent in radio prog­r­ams and its public consultation since mid 2014, and the network hopes that it does so, to genuinely empower landowners, and not merely pay lip service.”

Ratu Suliano said proper information given to landowners would allow them to have free and prior informed consent and they would be able to negotiate for the best possible returns that would compensate the loss of livelihood, environmental degradation and their inability to practise their culture during the development.

He added that the youths of Bua were calling on the Department of Environment to abide by their mission and work towards ensuring issues that dogged the Nawailevu mining project were never repeated.


Fiji landowners in bauxite talks plea

Serafina Silaitoga, The Fiji Times –

14 September 2015

WIDER consultation should be done in Bua province for any bauxite mine in the future.

Responding to plans by the district of Wainunu to have bauxite mining in the area, business consultant, farmer and villager Ropate Sivo said the consultation would provide a fair hearing to all villagers.

“There should be a wider consultation not only in Wainunu but in the whole of Bua,” he said. “This is so we can hear what the people have to say,” he said. “It is only fair because we should learn from Nawailevu that has set precedence for the people of Bua to learn from. “Wainunu is lush with thick vegetation and virgin forests and if bauxite will happen there, then we should not disturb the environment.”

Mr Sivo said that landowners should be consulted because they would feel the effects of the development.

“If the bose vanua of Wainunu agreed, then we, the villagers of Wainunu, should be informed and given the minutes of the meeting which agreed to bauxite mining and as soon as possible,” he said. “We have seen the impact and effects it has in Nawailevu and we should learn from that. We don’t need opportunists to come and dictate the destiny of Wainunu and its people without even proving them in the arena of development for us to respect these people making decisions. “So a wider consultation is what we are asking for and should happen before any decisions are made for bauxite in Wainunu. The consensus should be given by the all members of the mataqali and not just traditional leaders,” said Mr Sivo.

Tui Wainunu Ratu Orisi Baleitvea said traditional leaders in Wainunu had made the decision and their people would certainly be consulted for their views.

“Who is this man speaking about the future of Wainunu? We have always worked with our people when it comes to development and that will happen for the bauxite as well,” he said.