Government needs to be consultative: Prof Prasad

Leader of National Federation Party Professor Biman Prasad has urged the government to withdraw Bill 17 and consult landowners.

While debating for Bill17, Prof Prasad said any changes to the native land trust act has always been a sensitive issue and always involved different interpretations and fears.

“It’s arrogant and disrespectful for government not to accept the fact that they need to consult widely on these changes,” he said.

Prof Prasad added that the government is creating fear by getting Police to hold opposition leaders on a statement of Bill17.

“When we issue a statement on Bill that is presented to parliament which becomes a public document, we are holding by the Police”.

Prof Prasad is asking the government to refer the bill through the Speaker to the relevant standing committee if it’s unpalatable for them to consult landowners and other stakeholders.

Meanwhile, Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport Hon. Faiyaz Koya said the opposition continues to use the land to influence people.

He added that under the Fiji First government, not a single inch of land has lost by the Itaukei.

“Bill17 is not actually taking away anything from the landowners, it is actually how they gain economically from the land”, he said.

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