Article By RICHARD NAIDU
A solution looking for a problem
ATTORNEY-GENERAL Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has issued a very long, 30-paragraph defence of the iTaukei Land Trust (Amendment) Bill.
But I am not sure he has really got to the point.
The aim of the law change, he says, is to speed up the backlog of mortgage consent applications at the iTaukei Land Trust Board. Once this is done (he seems to suggest) investment will flow, and the value of iTaukei land leases will increase; and this will be great for landowners.
This is fantasy. Whoever has drafted the amendment Bill does not seem ever to have worked in the real world of dealing with iTaukei leases. For the past 25 years, I have worked for commercial tenants of iTaukei land. So let me try to enlighten him.
To cover every argument would take a lot more words. But let’s try to hit the key points. I am not talking here about the need to consult. Should the Government consult landowners? Of course it should. It is very important. That is just obvious.
What is the problem? The Government thinks this is a commercial problem. So let’s talk about commercial and tourism leases from TLTB.
TLTB usually approves mortgage consents in less than a week. No commercial lawyer I have talked to says differently.
If a request is more urgent, in my experience, TLTB will try to help.
TLTB’s fees for commercial lease consents are expensive – up to $1,000 plus VAT. So we should expect good service.
Most applications run smoothly. Occasionally they do not.
If TLTB thinks there is a problem with the mortgage or the lease, there may be delays. But that is normal, as in any process.
So — that’s TLTB leases. Now, what about leasing from the Government — State leases? State leases are a problem. To get a mortgage consent for a State lease can take weeks, or even months. The Government also wants a legal fix for the State Lands Act and Government leases. That is in Bill No 16.
One of the Government’s mistakes is to treat these two different types of land with exactly the same fix. The laws are One of the Government’s mistakes is to treat these two different types of land with exactly the same fix.
The laws are different. different.
“Cut, paste, vote”
In one sense each of the State Lands Act and the TLTB Act are the same.
They each say “you must not deal with my leased land without my consent”.
But they each say it in a different way.
The TLTB Act says a lessee can’t “alienate or deal with” a TLTB lease without consent. It also says that it is “in the absolute discretion” of TLTB whether it consents or not. That is all the TLTB Act says about it.
Is a mortgage a “dealing”? We all accept that it is – so end of story. We ask for consent. The State Lands Act says it differently. A lessee must get permission before it “alienates or deals with” State land (same as TLTB Act).
But a State land lessee must also get permission before it “mortgages, charges or pledges” the lease, or goes to court about the lease. And anyone who wants to lodge a caveat against a State lease must also get Government permission.
The TLTB Act does not have these additional restrictions. The law is different.
Has the Attorney-General’s Office realised this? Because it has simply put the same words into both of the Bills.
A good law firm frowns on “cut, paste print” lawyering. These Bills seem to be “cut, paste, vote” legislating. That is not a good way to change the law. If Bill No 17 had been circulated for consultation, we could point out these things.
So both laws are to be changed saying that consent is not needed for mortgages, charges, pledges, caveats and so on – but in a very long-winded way.
But there’s more If that was the only issue, we might just say “more badly-written laws, – Richard Naidu – what’s new?”
But that’s not all there is. In both Bills – 16 and 17 – there is another new subclause.
More cutting and pasting. And this is the change that bothers me, and which nobody seems to be focused on.
Each Act will also be changed to say this: “For the purposes of this section, any such consent shall only be refused where there is a breach of any lease condition or where such application to deal with the land is not in accordance with any law”.
What does this mean? For TLTB, it changes the rules. It means any lessee of TLTB land can sublease to anyone else — or sell a TLTB lease to anyone else — and TLTB must agree.
There are only two exceptions to this new rule; • if the lessee has breached the lease (for example, the lessee has not paid its rent); or • if the sale or sub-lease would breach a law (for example, a foreign investor is not allowed to do business on the land).
The explanatory notes to the Bill do not talk about this change. Nor do they say why this change is needed.
The TLTB Act says TLTB is supposed to have “absolute discretion” on any “alienation or dealing” with a TLTB lease. So why is this discretion being altered? Imagine you own a house and you rent it to someone. Your tenant says to you: “By the way, as long as I pay my rent, I can put another tenant in the house. Or maybe I will let someone else stay there and charge them a higher rent. And you can’t stop me. Would you agree to that? If you would not, why should TLTB be made to do that? Why is the government doing this? Most people know I am not a big fan of our current government. Do I think they are trying to take away landowners’ control of their land? No. I don’t think they mean to. But they don’t seem to know what they’re doing. And they never ask anyone for advice first. So they don’t seem to understand “the reality of the matter”.
These law changes do things that maybe they haven’t thought about. They need to be properly discussed. This Government is constantly rushing into Parliament to change any law it wants to, any time it wants to, without thinking clearly about it.
Many of our laws — including the TLTB Act — are decades old. They were well-designed, by expert legal drafters.
These people consulted properly and put thought and care into their words.
Now I see a lot of bad legal drafting being just “glued on” to good laws to satisfy some poorly thought out political whim.
It’s a bit like putting a Kia bumper onto the front of a Rolls-Royce.
If you have a problem in Government, look for the right ways to fix it. If there are delays at the Department of Lands, find out why and fix them. Don’t just reach for your pen to change the law.
Laws should be treated with more respect than that.
More value? And finally — what will be the effect of this law on iTaukei land? Will it make it more marketable? Will it make it more valuable? It will not change its value one bit. In 25 years of practice, I have never heard a developer, a banker, a lessee — or even a landowner say “gosh, if only there was no mortgage consent — iTaukei land would be so much more valuable”.
Political sloganeering is very different from the serious business of law. The two should not be mixed up. It’s great to say in the Budget speech “we will fix all the problems”. But there has to be a real problem first. This is just “a solution looking for a problem”. In the process it is creating a much bigger one.
• RICHARD NAIDU is a Suva-based lawyer. The views expressed in this article are not necessarily the views of The Fiji Times
Radio NZ reported that several leading opposition politicians in Fiji had been arrested following their criticism of government moves to amend land legislation. Journalists were also taken in for questioning by police
MP's arrested on Sunday were:
Acting Police Commissioner Rusiate Tudravu confirmed this to local media and it was also reported by some of the MPs themselves on social media, said RNZ.
Prasad posted on Facebook that he was wanted in relation to his party's criticism of government moves to amend the iTaukei Land Trust Act in parliament.
Radio NZ reports that more pressure is mounting on the Fijian government to impose a national lockdown amid the worsening Covid-19 crisis.
More than 16,000 people infected with the virus are in isolation - with a quarter of them sent home because there are not enough hospital beds.
Fiji has the highest daily infection rate in the world.
Total deaths 177.
The Bainimarama Government announced that people with Covid-19 symptoms in Fiji’s Suva-Nausori containment zone will no longer be tested for the virus.
A leaked document from the Fiji Ministry of Health showed that all health workers who are Covid-19 positive but show no symptoms are being ordered to keep working.
Epidemiologist Michael Baker told 1 NEWS he is extremely worried about the situation. He says you can still catch Covid from someone who is asymptomatic.
“There are many vulnerable people in Fiji’s health system.”
1 NEWS Pacific correspondent Barbara Dreaver said “One way of getting rid of that statistic is to stop testing. What we are seeing is a disintegrating health system, a health system in crisis and a tragedy unfolding for the people of Fiji”.
It's clear that the corrupt and incompetent Bainimarama government, who brought the Covid-delta virus into Fiji and looted millions from foreign aid and donations meant to help the people, doesn't care for the well-being of the people! It's time the people and their elected leaders stand up together in unison and say STOP! Enough is enough, and take back control of their beloved Fiji!
Opposition MP Niko Nawaikula reported that his MP's seat in parliament has been vacated. He is no longer an MP and has thanked his many supporters for their support.
The Speaker Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, who was behind every coup in Fiji, sent Niko a letter vacating his seat. The Speaker had been notified by the Supervisor of Election [SoE] Saneem that the name Niko Nawaikula has been removed from the National Register of Voters. Wow!
Rememnber, Saneem is the nephew of the AG Sayed-Khaiyum, who also appointed him to his role as SoE!
Niko is a vocal advocate for the rights of indigenous people and has made representations to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
This latest fiasco means that Niko will not be able to participate in the next Parliamentary session to apply his expertise in the debate about the iTaukei Land Trust (Budget Amendment) Bill 2021 ('Bill'). It's Sayed-Khaiyum's bill that seeks to amend the Act to remove the requirement of obtaining the consent of the indigenous iTaukei Land Trust Board for any mortgage, charge, pledge or caveat on a lease under the Act or for any such lease to be dealt with by any court of law or under the process.
This attack on Niko smells like a nasty ploy by the megalomaniac AG Sayed-Khaiyum to ensure Niko is not present and not able to object to his conniving plans to amend the Act. What a bastard!
Niko has contacted his solicitor. He has also contacted a number of very close friends to help finance his court challenge.
Niko's Party Leader, Viliame Gavoka, who has failed to unit the party, is also Sayed-Khaiyum's father-in-law. Gavoka said that the Party regretted the decision againts Niko. On really!
And what does he propose to do about it, sweet bugger all apparently!
Gavoka said that the SODELPA party encourages members and supporters to rally behind Mr Nawaikula in his legal pursuit with the Court of Disputed Returns, and asked supporters to uphold the MP and his family in their prayers. Wow!
This has to be a joke, right!
It's not a very inspiring rally call. This has to be the weakest support from an Opposition leader ever under a dictatorship!!
Now just imagine if the captain of the All Blacks was this weak - imagine that for a moment!
If Gavoka won't come out fighting to defend Niko, then what chance does the party really have at wining the next elections! Sweet bugger all!!
FBC reported that dictator Voreqe Bainimarama had confirmed that he had asked Fiji Labour Party Leader Mahendra Chaudhry to resign as Finance Minister in 2008.
Bainimarama said that he had sent Sayed-Khaiyum with a letter asking for Chaudhry’s resignation because of his case. “We had to remove him because of his case, his tax case”. Oh really!
Sayed-Khaiyum said that he personally went to Chaudhry’s house one night on instructions from the Bainimarama who was concerned that the FLP Leader’s tax matters were bringing disrepute to the government. Yeah right!
What a joke!
Here you have Frank Bainimarama who committed Sedition, Treason, Murder, Rape and overthrew the last democratically elected Qarase government, worried that his reputation would be damaged by Chaudhry's Tax Matters! What a joke!
Frank Bainimarama obviously did worse things like:
Yes, Frank Bainimarama did all these nasty things, which are far, far worse than any tax matter!
So this means that Bainimarama is either too stupid to understand the difference or he is a big fat liar, when he said he asked for Chaudhry’s resignation because of his tax case!
The Fiji Times reported that the megalomaniac AG Sayed-Khaiyum had praised dictator Frank Bainimarama, claiming that Fiji has a so-called "Good Captain" in Frank Bainimarama. Yeah right!
This is the same Frank Bainimarama who ran two naval patrol boats aground on a reef! The very same Bainimarama that ordered his CRW soldiers to carry out a coup in 2000, and when the coup had failed he had the soldiers arrested and beaten for following his orders! Bainimarama also abandoned his men at the start of the mutiny in November 2000 and took off down through the casava-patch to save himself! He subsequently became the first Fiji Military Commander to shit-himself while running from a fight!
This is not the actions of a good captain! Not even close!
Bainimarama overthrew the last democratically elected Qarase government in 2006 based on false accusations, and since then Fiji has been on a fast track to rack and ruin!
It's now 2021 and the government is broke with more than $9 billion in debt. Fiji is now one of the 75 poorest nations and must resort to begging for loans and donations! Even foreign aid and donations meant to help the poor people have been looted by the Bainimarama government and used to pay for useless stuff.
This is not the actions of a good captain! Not even close!
There are over 200,000 people living in poverty in Fiji reported the UN, with many struggling to put food on the table! The people have had no choice but to dip further into their FNPF retirement savings, which the Bainimarama government claims is part of the government assistance!
This is not the actions of a good captain! Not even close!
Frank Bainimarama also refused to close the border, which allowed Sayed-Khaiyum to bring the Covid-delta variant into Fiji! 1,043 new Covid-delta positive cases have been recorded in the last 24-hour period reported the Fiji Times. 74 people have died! But Bainimarama still refuses to lockdown, and he eased restrictions on peoples movements. He now blames the people for the spread of the Virus!
This is not the actions of a good captain! Not even close!
Frank Bainimarama also boasted that New Zealand and Australia could learn how to manage their Covid cases from Fiji. A few months later Bainimarama is begging New Zealand and Australia for help to manage its Covid crisis!
This is not the actions of a good captain! Not even close! And these are just a few examples!
How stupid and arrogant can Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum be! This is beyond ludicrous! He obviously doesn't care for the safety and wellbeing of the people in Fiji! And the people need to remember this come election day 2022!
Khaiyum brought his friends affected with the Covid-DELTA variant from India into Fiji. This was in April 2021. They travelled to India and then returned with him on his special Fiji Airways flight from Singapore. It affected 13,886 people and cost the lives of 74 people!!
There are 11,064 active cases!
Fiji is now facing a medical crisis because of Sayed-Khaiyum, and its health services are overwhelmed and struggling to cope! So much so that NZ and Australia have had to send in a team to assist Fiji! Fiji's halfwit PM Frank Bainimarama had earlier claimed that NZ and Australia could learn how to manage their Covid-19 from Fiji. What a fool!
Despite Fiji's Covid crisis and the 74 deaths, Khaiyum refuses a national lockdown! He also refused to close the border!
Now he brings in another Covid infected person into Fiji with his leased B737 MAX planes! What an arrogant bastard!!
Military sources reveal that a pilot who took part in bringing the B737 MAX planes to Fiji from Seattle had tested positive while in quarantine at the SOFITEL hotel. The pilot has since been moved to the Tanoa Hotel.
The military source also says that "Fiji Airways and Khaiyum want to keep this information very quiet, as they don't want any negative publicity surrounding the sensitive B737 MAX'S and also the fact that this DELTA Variant was brought back by those on that special flight that was put up to bring Khaiyum home from Singapore after his medical treatments"
It's clear that Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum doesn't give a rats-ass about the people of Fiji and their welfare! And the people need to remember this come election day 2022!
You know you live in a DICTATORSHIP when the Bainimarama Govt, run by failed lawyer Sayed-Khaiyum, puts the monthly payment of $38 million for "Empty Planes sitting Idle on the Tarmac" before the lives and needs of the people of Fiji, who are struggling to make ends meet during this Covid-Delta crisis!!
fijivillage reports that Canterbury University statistician Professor Michael Plank Statistician has said that Fiji's rapidly escalating COVID-19 crisis has overtaken the spread of infection seen in India at its reported peak!
With people still not following protocols, said Prof plank, COVID positive people moving around and people still undecided on vaccinations based on misinformation and disinformation, the COVID cases continue to rise and the burden on the health workers is already immeasurable.
Meanwhile, the Bainimarama govt has refused to go into lockdown and have also eased restrictions on people's movements! Bainimarama now says it's not his government's fault and blames the people for the worsening crisis, for not following protocols! This is a sure sign of a dictator with low intellect and POOR leadership skills!
Frank JV Bainimarama is a gutless bloody wonder with a record of deflecting blame for the results of his incompetence and stupidity onto others!
The 7-day average of recorded new cases per day is now 746.
There are now 11,033 active Covid-Delta cases in Fiji.
The total deaths from Covid-Delta is 74, and it's expected to increase.
Fiji's health spokesperson Doctor Fong says the average daily case numbers are increasing, together with cases of severe disease and deaths. He also says that severe COVID-19 is a medical emergency, and a delay in receiving appropriate medical treatment reduces a person's chances of recovering from the disease.
This is the time when a sensible govt would be focused on helping the people instead of paying $38 million a month for empty planes that sit idle on the tarmac!
Fiji's corrupt and incompetent Bainimarama Government has failed the nation, putting their Greed before the People.
Thousands of families are struggling with high unemployment, no money and no food! They are worried about their loved ones! And the current dire Covid-Delta situation is only getting worse by the day, adding to the people's misery.
As at 9 July 2021:
Meanwhile, businesses operated by Bainimarama's corrupt supporters continue to profit off the people! They argue against having a lockdown, and easily convinced the twice 'form 4' failed Bainimarama to put profit before the safety of the people.
There is an Indian saying, "Chaati me bhaand ke nahin lay jayega", which translates "you can't tie it (money) to your chest when it is time for you to go".
Change is sorely needed in Fiji before the overall situation can begin to improve!
The people, united against a common enemy, have that power to effect positive change! And what a wonderful place Fiji will become, once change comes and the Bainimarama dictatorship is no more!
stuff.co.nz reported that Fiji's rugby team had abandoned a plan to wear jerseys supporting Covid vaccinations when playing against the All Blacks on Saturday in the lead-up to the test at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.
They were supposed to wear shirts bearing the message "Vaccinate Fiji”, but ultimately took to the field without them.
Fiji is in the midst of a Covid-19 crisis with cases rising sharply, but the pro-vaccination message was dumped at the last minute due to resistance from some team members.
The idea for the jersey reportedly came from one of the team's main sponsors, Fiji Airways, which is controlled by Fiji's megalomaniac Minister for everything Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
A spokesman for the airline said the company was disappointed with the team’s decision.
Fiji Village reports that Acting Police Commissioner, Rusiate Tudravu said that Police will take in some people for questioning from Qauia Settlement after some people were protesting within the lockdown area.
Tudravu said they had received information that the youths in Qauia were being used to carry out a protest asking about the lockdown period amongst other things, and those who used them will be questioned when the lockdown finishes.
Meanwhile, Veronica Malani has filed a case against Fiji's megalomaniac AG Sayed-Khaiyum, relating to his 1987 bomb making activities that caused injury and death, and there are witnesses, and yet Tudravu has refused to take Khaiyum in for questioning !
The Fiji Times reports that Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete has dismissed reports that he and Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama had gone into hiding in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.
Responding to queries during the Bula ko Lau virtual COVID-19 discussion, Wagainabete said that he and Bainimarama were of the view that specialists like permanent secretary Dr James Fong should address the people because the pandemic was their area of speciality.
What a load of rubbish!
Many across Fiji are unemployed and struggling to feed their families! They are worried and want answers and assurances from their elected leaders, who have conveniently gone into in hiding!
Fiji's health system has failed under Bainimarama's arrogant and corrupt leadership, and there is no money to help the people in this time of crisis! Fiji is now dependent on foreign aid and donations that are being diverted by the Bainimarama govt to pay for useless things while the people struggle!
As the Minister for Health and also a doctor, Wagainabete should be at the forefront of Govt's fight against the Covid-Delta virus. Bainimarama, as Prime Minister should also be in the front! Unfortunately, both Wagainabete and his boss Bainimarama have proven to be highly incompetent and clueless! They wasted time and money organising meetings to develop a strategic-tactical response that has gone nowhere! Maybe they should have consulted real experts instead of their usual bunch of high-ranking military imbeciles who joined the military because they couldn't get into University! What a bunch of clueless, good for nothing imbeciles!
Meanwhile, both Wagainabete and Bainimarama continue to receive their exorbitant govt salaries while the Permanent Secretary for Health Doctor Fong does their jobs! They should each divert a third of their salaries to Doctor Fong!
Fiji's death toll from the virus has reached 39, with 636 new cases recorded in a 24-hour period!
In their defence, Dr Waqainabete said that he and Mr Bainimarama would only address the nation when the need arose. Anyone with half a brain would rightly think that a national crisis would qualify as a dire need! Apparently not, not under Frank Bainimarama's failed leadership!
FBC News reported that Fiji's Vocid Delta outbreak continues to spiral out of control as 2,570 new COVID cases were recorded in a single week from June 28th to July 4th.
This makes up 42 percent of the total cases recorded during this second wave, says FBC News.
30 people have died.
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says that Fiji should expect an increase in the infection rate.
People must never forget, especially the families of those who died from the Covid-Delta virus, that it was Fiji's megalomaniac AG Aiyas Sayed-Khaiyum who brought the virus into Fiji on his return flight from Singapore.
When asked what "kal tuf" meant in the Rotuman language, the elderly Rotuman laughed wholeheartedly, saying he had the perfect definition!.......
Since Baiimarama seized power through his treasonous coup in 2006, he has recklessly spent billions of dollars with little to show for it.
All he has done is increased Public Debt from $2 billion at the time of Qarase to more than $9 billion now, and it's still climbing.
The major beneficiaries have been Bainimarama, Khaiyum and their corrupt families and all the business houses like Tappoos, Punjas, CJ Patel, Vinod Patel, RC Manubhai and of course all the intermediaries like Nur Bano Ali and Sanjay Kaba. Just check out all the names of the new board members on FNPF, FRA, Water Authority, Fiji Airways etc.
In his 2016 article Fiji’s Sleeping Public Debt Nightmares (ed. in FT 3/12/2016) Prof Narsey outlined Fiji's Burden of Public Debt.
"Who Bears the Burden of Public Debt?
The burden of the public debt will be paid by:
Who will NOT bear the burden of Public Debt
Looking at the experience of Fiji these last thirty years since Rabuka’s 1987 coup, one can make a few generalisations about who will not be bearing the debt burden:
There is no escape from Public Debt, says Prof Narsey, except by emigrating (which educated and smart Fiji people will keep doing), or by dying (which is happening more frequently with reducing life expectancies in Fiji).
In his recent interview on ABC, Prof Narsey says "that when the people of Fiji finally riot, they won't riot against the Fiji Military, but against all the Business Houses who have contributed millions to Bainimarama and Khaiyum as listed by the Supervisor of Elections, Saneem".
Many are praying, wishing and even dreaming of this day! When it finally arrives, we suspect it won't be pretty!
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Fiji's rigged 2014 elections. Click HERE to hear Prof Wadan Narsey explain how the 2014 Fiji elections was Far from free and fair: Another victory for treason, lies, deceit, money and the culture of silence.
Prof Ghai Constitution
Fiji's dictator revealed
RFMF BoI report 2000
BoI missing pages
Khaiyum's Final Solution Thesis
Click HERE to read the article on C4.5 about JV Bainimarama’s anti-Fijian policies driven by Khaiyum’s genocidal 'sunset clause' thesis on how to destroy Fijian cultural autonomy.
Click HERE for a copy of the thesis posted on C4.5.
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