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The Board of NLTB held its bi-monthly meeting on Denarau Island on Thursday 5th May 2005. Issues of public interest are detailed below:

1] Developments taking place on Denarau
The Board toured all the major developments taking place on Denarau. This included the Denarau Beach Resort, Sofitel, Hilton, Golf Terraces Hotel, Port Denarau, Denarau Residential as well as the site of the proposed Rugby Stadium. Mr Martin Darveniza of Tabua Investments hosted the Board meeting which allowed Board members to see at first sight investor confidence on Native Land.

On their way to Nadi, Board members also visited developments on Natadola and Momi Bay.

2] Mahogany Case [Atunaisa Tiva]
The Board thoroughly considered the judgement handed down by the Fiji Courts of Appeal, as well as the opinions given by Solicitors advising the Board. It decided that a sub committee of the Board is to look into all the various aspects pertaining to the case, and that a special meeting of the Board is to be held later this month to consider the way forward.

The Board is also looking at how it can deal effectively in future with frivolous and vexations legal cases that are brought up by individual Mataqali members without the support of the majority of the landowners.

3] Customary Fisheries Bill
The Reserves Commissioner, Mr Ilaitia Caginavanua has been a member of the team that has been holding meetings around the country explaining the proposed new Bill on the subject, and hearing the views of the public. There are two aspects that NLTB wishes to comment on:

i) That it is well placed to administer the provisions of this Bill. It has the systems in place and the experience in administering this matter.
ii) That the ownership of the Qoliqoli should be returned to NLTB to administer on behalf of the owners, similar to the way it administers land on behalf of the landowners.

4] Review of NLTB
The review by the Consultants, The Boardroom Practice Limited is scheduled for tabling at the June meeting of the Board.

5] New Project Potentials
The Board was informed of new major initiatives that were currently being followed up. In some instances we are looking at entering into MOU's before finalising lease documentation. Some of the major ones are itemized below:

i) Extension of Nausori Airport Runway - Ongoing meetings with the
landowning units for the lands to be leased. We note AFL's proposal to actively encourage landowner participation in all business opportunities in the Nausori Airport.

ii) Bilo Peninsula - Ongoing discussions and meetings being undertaken to package sites for marketing both locally and abroad for tourism.

iii) Mau Quarry - Negotiations with the Mataqali concerned in Namosi for the revival of the Mau Quarry, by an interested investor.

iv) Lami Joint Venture - Discussions proceeding on a development lease at Matata, Lami that will involve the Mataqali and a foreign investor, which could see the development of further industrial land in the Wailada area.

v) Teak and Silver Goungdon Forest Plantation - Private sector initiatives are at the forefront of developing new forest products. Both teak and silver goungdon are species that could be harvested much earlier than mahogany. Various areas are being looked at for setting pilot projects for these two forestry products.

vi) University of Fiji - This development is on native land and possible expansion could take in areas not currently developed.

vii) Proposed FIT Medical Facility - About a 100 acres in the Delainavesi area is being earmarked for this, discussions are continuing with the Landowning Units.

6] Tourism Department
During the month the Tourism Department has commenced advertising on internet of potential tourism sites. Eight sites on Kadavu were advertised calling for tenders which will close on 20th June. Since the establishment of the Tourism Department this year they have been fully occupied in identifying and packaging potential sites.

7] Manager Legal - Following his sentencing, Mr Bukarau's resignation has been accepted. Advertisements will be placed soon for a replacement.


12th May, 2005

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