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Rabi leaders denounce alleged opposition to redevelopment
AUCKLAND, New Zealand (The Kiribati Independent, June 11, 2012) – The Executive Director of the Rabi Council of Leaders (RCL) has
denied reports that their Banaba Rehabilitation Programme is opposed by landowners.
Speaking to Kiribati Independent in Tarawa, Marlie Roota said the landowners in Rabi, in Fiji, and Banaba in Kiribati support the project.
A few landowners living in Fiji wrote to President Anote Tong and the Rabi Council of Leaders urging them to abandon their proposed plan for Banaba.
Banaba, formerly known as Ocean Island, was mined by the British government. The people of Banaba were relocated to Rabi island in Fiji.
Marlie said they held consultations with the landowners three years ago. She said "RCL has the right to undertake any projects or to remove any remaining machineries on the island because the council has bought them from the landowners," she said.
Members of RCL have surveyed Banaba and held meetings with the community. They returned to Fiji last week. It is understood the team will visit Kiribati again for further negotiations.