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Minister quizzed over fisheries change

The Opposition today questioned the Minister of Fisheries and Forests, Hon. Osea Naiqamu,  over the abolishment of goodwill payments to landowners. Hon. Niko Nawaikula asked the Minister for Fisheries and Forests if he could explain what part of the Fisheries Act or any laws of Fiji, which makes it unlawful for indigenous Fijians to redeem a […]

Peni Shute

February 9, 2016 2:46 pm

The Opposition today questioned the Minister of Fisheries and Forests, Hon. Osea Naiqamu,  over the abolishment of goodwill payments to landowners.

Hon. Niko Nawaikula asked the Minister for Fisheries and Forests if he could explain what part of the Fisheries Act or any laws of Fiji, which makes it unlawful for indigenous Fijians to redeem a levy on the use of their fishing grounds.

Hon. Naiqamu said the question was a legal matter and he would refrain from answering:

Madam Speaker this question is a legal question and the honourable member is fully aware that I’m not a lawyer, the honourable member is asking me for my legal opinion on provisions on the fisheries act. Madam Speaker I am the minister of fisheries and I implement the fisheries act, it is not part of my responsibility to provide a legal analysis on the fisheries act that is the task of the office of the office of the attorney general.

Additionally, Madam Speaker the honourable member is asking me to handover my legal opinion on other legal laws of Fiji apart from the Fisheries Act, obviously Madam Speaker it would be inappropriate for me to provide a response. This question would be best directed to the proper manner of courts to the lenard Attorney General.

When asked by Hon. Nawaikula whose advice he was referring to, Minister Naiqamu said the question was irrelevant to the initial oral question.

Hon. Ro Kiniviliame Kiliraki asked a supplementary question on where the traditional owners stand in regards to his decision. Minister Naiqamu replied the question was irrelevant.

Hon. Viliame Gavoka asked Minister Naiqamu if the government allowed license holders to fish in areas proclaimed as traditional taboo areas of Fiji. The Minister replied:

Once the traditional taboo is abided by the customary right, the fisheries endorse it and it governs and manages it.

Hon. Mosese Bulitavu asked the Minister for Fisheries as to what was the rationale behind the change.  Minister Naiqamu said that the question was not related to the initial question.

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