Fiji: SEEP clears the air

Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari | The Fiji Times

THE Social Empowerment Education Program (SEEP) was never influential in the decision making by Namosi landowners with regards to the Namosi Joint Venture project.

The Waisoi people of Namosi have gone through different companies for the past 43 years and are now with the Namosi Joint Venture.

SEEP acting director Leo Nainoka informed youths at the Natural Resources Management Youth Symposium that they had only worked with the landowners in connecting them with government.

Mr Nainoka said many had always had a misconception of SEEP being involved in decisions made by the landowners.

“People have attributed some of the work in Namosi to SEEP, I’d like to state here that this is a big misconception. The work in Namosi is really to be attributed to the people in Namosi,” Mr Nainoka said.

He said the people of Namosi had been through 43 years of exploration with various companies such as Central Mining Finance, AMEX and ANGLO.

“These are companies that through the 43 years the Namosi people have been through them; they have experienced different companies.”

Mr Nainoka said a lot of people had always linked SEEP with the Namosi project.

“We were invited by TLC (iTaukei Lands Commission) to create a space for dialogue, to discuss and the people themselves made the decision.

“And we tried to link them with relevant stakeholders like the Mineral Resources Department but it’s not that SEEP went in there and influenced their decision.

“Sometimes when development comes in there’s already fragmentation and it can deepen the fragmentation to another level, this is something that we need to watch.”

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Filed under Environmental impact, Fiji, Financial returns, Human rights

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