OVERVIEW OF BANABAN STATUS IN KIRIBATI
Bananba has important concessions under Kiribati Constitution
This is an excerpt out on another paper - "Essentially Being Banaban in Today’s World: The Role of Banaban Law “TE RII NI BANABA” (Backbone of Banaba) In A Changing World".
Banaba now comes under the laws and jurisdiction of Kiribati legislation under a dedicated Chapter IX of the Kiribati Constitution, and even though the majority of Banabans reside in Fiji, there are certain considerations over their rights and ownership of their landholdings on the homeland. Some of these include:
That their right over their land will not be affected in any way by reason of the fact that he resides in Rabi Island in Fiji.
All land that was acquired by the Crown before Kiribati Independence Day would be returned to the Banaban from whom it was acquired or his heirs or successors upon the completion of phosphate extraction.
Where any Banaban possesses any right over or interest in land in Banaba, no such right or interest shall be compulsorily acquired other than a leasehold interest and in accordance with 8 (1) of the Constitution.
Every Banaban shall have an inalienable right to enter and reside in Banaba
There shall be a Banaba Island Council The powers and duties of the Banaba Island Council shall be prescribed by or under law.
One of the most important concessions in the Kiribati Constitution is the presence of two nominated members in the House of Assembly known as the Maneaba Ni Maungatau. One member representing the Banaba community and the other represents Rabi.
The Rabi Council of Leaders (RCL) in Fiji administer Banaba at a cost of approximately F$12,000 a month (Sigrah & King 2001), however the Kiribati government does provide for some government services with a local island administrator attending to such functions as the postal and radio services, health nurse, school teacher, and island policeman.
All other services are provided by the RCL and administered by their appointed Banaban Island representative.
Since the cessation of mining in 1979, the government has conducted at least two feasibility studies to assess the viability of re-mining the island (Roche Bros 1987).