Idyllic Fiji Transforms Into Nightmarish Trap for Investor Dave Rand and Fiji Land Owners Association Members
International investment risk escalates in Fiji: Piracy is alive and well in the South Pacific
For Immediate Release
LOS ANGELES/EWORLDWIRE/Oct. 26, 2016 ---
Idyllic Fiji transforms into a nightmarish quagmire for 5,000 people, mostly Americans, New Zealanders, and Australians who've purchased land in the Fiji Islands with large portions of their retirement savings looking to finish out their lives in their own little piece of paradise.
After commercial property values appreciated towards hundreds of millions of dollars in metropolitan areas, the new Fiji government, in an effort headed by Fiji's Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, rushed through parliament a piece of legislation in December 2014 known as Act 16 of the Land Sales Act with little debate and no public scrutiny. The law is being applied retrospectively upon non-citizen free-hold landowners by attaching new legal consequences (FJ $50,000 fines and even imprisonment) to events already completed (sales contracts executed under previously existing laws) if they do not build homes at a minimum cost of FJ $250,000 on their lots by the end of this year. The law will disproportionately punish small lot owners - many who wish only to retire in Fiji - by drawing no distinctions between them and speculative commercial real estate investors.
As the 31 December deadline approaches the islands are still reeling from the after effects of Cyclone Winston that struck Fiji this past February - the worst storm in recorded history to hit the Southern hemisphere. Materials and labor remain in short supply as the country struggles to rebuild, much less accommodate the needs of new construction.
For the past 21 months, these very same individual property owners have petitioned the Fiji government for redress by every form of communication - letters, emails, phone calls - even appearing in person at the offices of government officials, only to be turned away and have their concerns fall on deaf ears. Finally, within just the past few days and mere weeks to go did the Fiji government make it known they would hear hardship cases upon payment of a $1,000 application fee plus 9 percent VAT and further require the filing of personal financial information, with no promise of granting any extensions or waivers. In addition to its capricious and threatening tone, this action is too little too late, and most land owners feel it's merely an attempt to increase the bounty, size up the prize and gather information to be used later for prosecutorial reasons.
Confidence and hope are shattered. The law's real intent seems obvious - an act of piracy with one of the largest bounties in recorded history. A massive land grab, unprecedented by any of the surrounding nations in these modern times. International investors of all types have already taken notice and the tarnished reputation of Fiji's instability after years of government upheaval will be back on trial.
This type of government overreach undermines Fiji's standing among the international community and sullies the recent election of its U.N. diplomat Peter Thomson as president of the U.N. General Assembly. Thomson recently tweeted, "A world where every person's #humanrights are respected is one that is inherently safer more just and more stable." This statement is inherently contradictory to the unethical and immoral application of Act 16 and the threat it poses to individual property rights. Having recently regained membership in The Commonwealth (http://www.thecommonwealth.org/) after years of being banned for their undemocratic behavior, Fiji must resist once again becoming bad actors when it comes to basic human rights.
International land owners have formed groups online to fight this in unison rather than "walk the plank" and lose their hopes and dreams for Fiji.
One such group, The Fiji Land Owners Association, has united to bring this story to the world on behalf of all international landowners in hopes it can gain some leverage to negotiate a better solution that will strengthen, rather than weaken, a democratic culture for all stakeholders in Fiji.
Numerous landowners are willing to go on the record to share their stories, struggles, ups and downs along with their unshakable dreams of living and assimilating into the amazing culture, land and seascapes - that is the island nation of Fiji.
MEDIA: To receive a press kit with government contacts, related articles reflecting a recent history of the area, details of the Land Sales Act, and statements from residents, please contact David Rand at 603-501-9271 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Fiji Land Owners Association
23371 Mulholland Dr
Woodland Hills , CA 91364