THE Tui Vitogo, Ratu Wiliame Sovasova, has urged the Constitution Commission to maintain the right of traditional chiefs and heads of yavusa and mataqali to receive money from land leases.
In his submission to the Constitution Commission in Vitogo Village this week, Ratu Wiliame said the commission had to ensure traditional village heads were given a portion of the lease money accorded to landowners.
Ratu Wiliame's submission is based on the land reforms made by the government at the beginning of last year which resulted in the implementation of the equal distribution formula of land lease payments by the iTaukei Lands Trust Board (TLTB).
According to the TLTB Land Use Structure, all lease monies received or held by TLTB would be distributed equally between all, including chiefs (turaga itaukei, turaga ni qali, turaga ni mataqali) and all the other living members of each landowning units from January 1, 2011.
Under the Land Use Decree 2010, the ownership of all land designated under the decree shall remain with the State or native land owners until the expiration of the lease or until such time the land is no longer required under the decree.
Ratu Wiliame also called for the reinstatement of the Great Council of Chiefs, saying one of the responsibilities of the GCC once it is reinstated would be to govern and manage the traditional resources of the iTaukei people including land and traditional fishing grounds.
Ratu Wiliame submitted that the GCC should be independent of the government and funded from finances such as monies received from land leases.