Consultations to pave the way for the formalisation of Melanesian settlements in Fiji said to be the first in the country, were held last night in Wailoku.
Former civil servant Paterisio Nunu who was among those who attended the meeting shared their long-standing sense of neglect and thanked the government for taking the initiative to hear their plight as descendants of Melanesians brought to Fiji by blackbirders.
“We are a forgotten group of people, yet we played a major role in the development of Fiji in the early days,” Nunu said looking forward to positive outcomes from the consultation which will be carried out in other Melanesian settlements across the country.
Assistant Minister Sakiusa Tubuna, who chaired the consultation, highlighted its significance in rectifying historical injustices and acknowledging the enduring contributions of Fiji’s Melanesian descendants. He acknowledged Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka for his leadership and the establishment of a task force committee dedicated to extending land tenancy rights to Melanesian settlements and accommodating their growing populations.
He called for collaboration as he launched the “Project for the Formalisation of Melanesian Descent and Settlements in Fiji.”
Permanent Secretary for iTaukei Affairs Pita Tagicakirewa was also present at the consultation.
Photo: Fiji Government