Labour Member of Parliament for Nadroga, Lekh Ram Vayeshnoi today warned the NLTB, the Sugar Cane Growers Council and the Fiji Cane Growers Association to stop using strong arm tactics for the renewal of land leases for the Crown Schedule A tenants at Kabisi, Sigatoka.
Mr. Vayeshnoi has also hit out at the Fiji Times editorial today where it incorrectly stated that 27 leases have been renewed as a result of negotiation by the SCGC, NLTB and FCGA.
Not a single lease has been renewed to date in Kabisi area despite Government’s assurance in Parliament during the transfer of crown schedule A and B land that the interest of the farmers will be protected under NLTB’s Management.
The current offer letter that has been given by NLTB to the concerned tenants at Kabisi, demands excessive premium which is beyond affordability considering the gross annual income of tenants.
Other conditions attached in the offer letter are also ridiculous and harsh and would make a farmer subservient to provisions NLTA, which the SDL Government is desperately intending to impose on the farmers.
I am surprised that the Chief Executive of SCGC, Mr. Jagnath Sami and his political baby the Fiji Cane Growers Association is also part of the humiliation that the vulnerable farmers are subjected to at Kabisi, Sigatoka.
The Fiji Human Rights Commission has also unfortunately done nothing and decided to turn a blind eye on the plight of tenants of schedule A land at Lomowai, Nadroga who were illegally and forcefully removed from their land and properties soon after the transfer of Crown schedule A/B land to NLTB.
The signing of the offer letter would be tantamount to serving another “Girmit” which will severely damage the future of coming generations. In event, the farmers are misled to accept the renewal, the blame for this must squarely lie on SCGC and its Chief Executive and as well as the Fiji Cane Growers Association who are adamant to sell out the farmers and the Indo-Fijian community.