Today is a historic day for members of the Yavusa Waidau in Navuloa Village after receiving their full lease title for 473 acres of land from the Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama this morning.
The Yavusa Waidau is one of the four successful landowning units in Fiji to have received full freehold title under the Freehold Buy-Back Scheme that Government instituted some years ago.
Prime Minister Bainimarama said at the handing over ceremony that the land had once been alienated by our colonizers “but now it is yours again, and by law it cannot be alienated again”.
Under the Freehold Buy-Back Scheme, landowning units are given 30 years to repay their loan to Government but for Yavusa Waidau, they were able to replay their loan 11 years early.
“You will now be an inspiration to other landowning units who want to take full possession of their freehold land titles and to all Fijians who have big ambitions and are willing to work hard and intelligently to achieve them,” the Prime Minister said.
“This ceremony is not the culmination of the dreams you had all those years ago, it’s the beginning of the dreams you have today and the future you will build tomorrow.”
The Prime Minister also urged the younger members of the Yavusa to build their talents and abilities in order to build their community.
“Study hard, help your elders and speak up with your own views. Use the land efficiently and sustainably,” he added.
“Look to access the many opportunities my Government has made available to you and always keep your eyes open to new possibilities because we learn from the past, but we see possibilities in the future.”
Speaking on behalf of the Yavusa, Mr Paula Ravutia said the occasion is one that will go down in history as it is something that “our forefathers initiated long time ago and now the present generation has fulfilled it”.
“It is an emotional day for us as we look back and reflect on the struggles and difficulties we faced over the years to reach this stage. The repayment to Government reached the fifth generation and we can proudly say that our Yavusa made our own history by completing our repayment within 19 years only,” Mr Ravutia said.
“We thank the Prime Minister and his Government for the tremendous assistance. Our future generation will certainly benefit from this initiative. ”
Under the Freehold Buy-Back Scheme;
• Government purchased freehold land on sale on behalf of the landowners, on a fair and market price determined by Government-registered Valuers;
• This is done through interest-free loans on the terms and conditions stated under the Sales and Purchase Agreement;
• The landowning units are given 30 years to repay their loan.