Minister for Lands- Ashneel Sudhakar says the Landowners of Suvavou Village have been Misled.

He was responding to the Written Objection Petition made by the villagers to the Suva City Council yesterday on the proposed re-zoning, currently used as the ‘Thurston Gardens Car Park’ for the construction of the Indian Embassy.

Sudhakar says such claims by landowners should have been raised before such a Project was made.

“The Suvavou villagers or the people  who did present the petition, I think they have been misled unfortunately, people with vested interest are going around telling them a different set of story, It is not the Botanical Garden and just adjacent to this particular property that I mentioned, the British High Commission residents, the area use to form the part of the Gardens, at some stage in 1989 or before 1989 the then Government leased this portion to the British High Commission to build their Ambassadors residents, now if the claim by the landowners that they currently are making if that claim had any element of truth than that claim should have been raised as well”

Sudhakar has emphasized once again that the proposed rezoning on the Land belongs to the state. Even going further to show a planned map of the area where the proposed land sits.

“Actually I haven’t seen the petition that was presented by the Suvavou villagers to the Suva City Council, but that is obviously with them. But the issue seems to be here, the Lands Department is pretty clear on their side of the situation the land belongs to the State, if there were claims by landowners that they own certain portion of the land that is obviously another argument for another Day”

He also responded to the statement made by he Fiji Museum Board of Trustees on how the area has a significant archaeological and historical attributes, which over the years have contributed to the cultural landscape, that defines Thurston Gardens and the adjoining areas.

Opposition Member of Parliament-Ro Filipe Tuisawau who is an elected member from the Rewa Province that includes the Suvavou people has confirmed they will be writing directly to the Government and the Indian Government as well on their Written Objection to the Rezoning of the land.

“At the moment the petition to SCC is part of their overall plan for a settlement to overall Suva land claims by the Tui Suva and his people so the Botanical Garden issue is part of that and they’ve put in a petition on that not to proceed and of coz I’m working closely with them and on that issue myself and Hon. Niko Nawaikula and I’ll be having further meetings with Tui Suva and his people on other options and of coz includes writing directly to the Government and not only that with the Indian Government in 2 weeks time”

Written Objections for the Proposed Rezoning officially closed yesterday. A formal statement will be issued by the Ministry of Local Government on this submissions will be made by this week.


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