Chief says sorry

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Tui Bua Ratu Makutu Nagagavoka during an interview with The Fiji Times. Picture: ELENA VUCUKULA/FILE

A Vanua Levu chief has asked the iTaukei Land Trust Board to forgive his people for their negative remarks about the board’s services.

Speaking to landowners and management of the iTaukei Land Trust Board in Nabouwalu, the Tui Bua, Ratu Makutu Nagagavoka, assured board officials that landowners in Bua would work closely with them.

“TLTB’s revelation that it will work closer with landowners and do away with the old relationship we had over the past years is good news and we welcome that,” Ratu Makutu said.

“I know the past years weren’t rosy. When TLTB officials visited our villages, the gossiping about their services would start as soon as they turned their backs.

“The landowners have also criticised the services offered by TLTB, but we hope that it changes now for the better of all.”

Ratu Makutu said the new office in Nabouwalu would make a big difference to the landowners because they wouldn’t have to travel to Labasa.

“Visiting the TLTB office in Labasa means villagers leaving Bua as early as 5am, arriving in Labasa at 10am, visiting the office and having until 2pm to finish their business before catching the last bus back home,” he said.

“So, it hasn’t been easy for us. But this new office will give us more time during the day to attend to our business with the TLTB.”

Ratu Makutu also raised concern about the presence of security officers at the TLTB headquarters in Suva.

“I recently visited the headquarters in Suva and noticed they had security officers at the entrance.

“As a chief, my first reaction was hesitation because as an iTaukei, our houses are open to all.

“I remember when I last visited the headquarters a few years ago, there were no security officers and we all felt welcomed when we entered the office.

“Now, it has changed, but I guess it’s to do with the changes in time and safety of all.”