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Monday, January 22, 2007

Landmark court ruling for Fijian landowners

A landmark court ruling now allows Fijian landowners to log or harvest trees that is on their land. The ruling referred to mahogany trees that were on land owned by the Mataqali Naua of Serua which the landowners were not permitted by the Native Land Trust Board to harvest with the trees to be kept for the Fiji Hardwood Corporation.

The ruling has resulted in more calls for a review of the Native Land Trust Board and its purposes. Most Fijian land and resource owners in recent years have been complaining about the restrictions placed by the Native Land Trust Board which inhibit them from developing their own land and resources. There have also been criticisms about the Board taking out 15% of proceeds received from developing native resources with the actual land/resource owner only receiving 55% of proceeds at the end, after all other distributions.

This has been said to be a major stumbling block to Fijian land and resource owners in developing and benefiting from their own resources.

It is expected that a review of the Native Land Trust Board will be carried out soon.

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