Villagers’ new lease of life

Shelvin Karan at the bauxite stockpile area in Navakasiga, Bua where operations have slowed down. Picture: SERAFINA SILAITOGA

NEW vehicles and improved sanitation are fruits of royalty and lease payments for bauxite landowners in Bua.

While many have spoken against the bauxite mining and the issue turned into a political football by politicians, the landowners are happy their living standards have improved.

Vilikesa Kaidawa Jr, who spoke on behalf of the biggest landowning unit Naicobo in Nawailevu Village, said life had improved.

“The bottom line is that we, as landowners are able to financially secure our families and improve our living standard. We have purchased new vehicles to help us generate income,” he said.

“So many people have talked about bauxite and many heated arguments have resulted but we the landowners have lived the difference.

“And the difference is that our living standards have improved, we can invest money for our future and our children’s future and we can better educate our children.

“There is hope of a better future for our children compared with what many of us had lived through as a child of Nawailevu.”

Mr Kaidawa said they never had flush toilet but the payments received have empowered villagers to make a difference.

“We thank the Government for their assistance and providing us an opportunity to live better lives today compared with how our forefathers lived,” he said.

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