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State legal owner

Luke Rawalai
Saturday, January 27, 2018

PRIME Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and Native Lands and Fisheries Commission director Ratu Vananalagi Vesikula have reassured the iTaukei people that their fishing rights were still intact.

Responding to notions raised during the talanoa session for the return of the qoliqoli ownership to the iTaukei people in Natewa on Thursday evening, Ratu Vananalagi told the people the rightful legal owner of waters in Fiji was the Government.

Ratu Vananalagi clarified that since independence, the waters around Fiji was the legal property of Government.

"This is the truth that every other Government before this one knows and it has been since the Deed of Cession," he said.

"The legitimate owner of Fiji's waters is the Government.

"Therefore, notions and rumours that this Government is trying to take away the qoliqoli from the iTaukei people are false and baseless.

"However, the iTaukei people have the customary right to use their qoliqoli or traditional fishing grounds."

Mr Bainimarama said nothing had changed.

He added politicians and tale spinners were passing around baseless rumours on things they did not know.

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