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PM defends land and Christianity clauses

Shalveen Chand
Thursday, July 10, 2014

PRIME Minister Rear Admiral (Ret) Voreqe Bainimarama has labelled talks of land and Christianity by political parties as propaganda and lies.

He made the comments while addressing the people of Navuso on Tuesday downplaying accusations levelled against him.

"They have accused me — a fellow iTaukei — of weakening the protection of iTaukei land and of weakening the position of the Christian churches in Fiji. On both counts, these are lies.

"They are simply not true and let me explain why," said Rear Admiral (Ret) Bainimarama.

"There is no threat to iTaukei land. None.

"You don't have to take my word for this.

"You can read it for yourself in our Constitution, which we translated into iTaukei for the first time so you can all understand it.

"In black and white, it says that no iTaukei land can ever be taken away permanently. Never.

"A particular portion can be used for a period of time if the government needs land for some public purpose like a road or airport.

"The provision to use land for public purpose has been there in all our constitutions and all our previous laws. This happens all over the world also.

"But now under our new Constitution, the landowners must be paid compensation and when that land is no longer needed, that land must be returned to the traditional owners.

"This provision is new under our Constitution and it is a wonderful provision."

As for religion, the Prime Minister said talk of a threat to Christianity was also a lie.

"Jesus doesn't need defending. If anything, his position in Fiji has never been stronger.

"For any Christian, He is our Lord and Saviour.

"He is at the centre of our lives and nothing can change that," he said.

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