Fiji landowners in bauxite talks plea

Serafina Silaitoga | The Fiji Times

WIDER consultation should be done in Bua province for any bauxite mine in the future.

Responding to plans by the district of Wainunu to have bauxite mining in the area, business consultant, farmer and villager Ropate Sivo said the consultation would provide a fair hearing to all villagers.

“There should be a wider consultation not only in Wainunu but in the whole of Bua,” he said.

“This is so we can hear what the people have to say,” he said.

“It is only fair because we should learn from Nawailevu that has set precedence for the people of Bua to learn from.

“Wainunu is lush with thick vegetation and virgin forests and if bauxite will happen there, then we should not disturb the environment.”

Mr Sivo said that landowners should be consulted because they would feel the effects of the development.

“If the bose vanua of Wainunu agreed, then we, the villagers of Wainunu, should be informed and given the minutes of the meeting which agreed to bauxite mining and as soon as possible,” he said.

“We have seen the impact and effects it has in Nawailevu and we should learn from that. We don’t need opportunists to come and dictate the destiny of Wainunu and its people without even proving them in the arena of development for us to respect these people making decisions.

“So a wider consultation is what we are asking for and should happen before any decisions are made for bauxite in Wainunu. The consensus should be given by the all members of the mataqali and not just traditional leaders,” said Mr Sivo.

Tui Wainunu Ratu Orisi Baleitvea said traditional leaders in Wainunu had made the decision and their people would certainly be consulted for their views.

“Who is this man speaking about the future of Wainunu? We have always worked with our people when it comes to development and that will happen for the bauxite as well,” he said.

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Filed under Environmental impact, Fiji, Human rights

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