14 Oct 2003

Fiji landowners threaten to close Natovi jetty

9:36 am on 14 October 2003

Traditional landowners in Fiji have threatened to close down a key link in road and sea transport between Viti Levu and the islands of Ovalau and Vanua Levu.

Natovi Jetty in Tailevu province is used by ferries to carry people and freight between Suva and the other two islands.

But the Fiji Sun reports that the traditional landowners in the area want it closed down because they have not paid royalty for gravel used in its construction more than 30 years ago.

The newspaper says the threat has been delivered through their chief, Ratu Vilimoni Verebalavuu.

Ratu Vilimoni says he is reluctant to take the action because of the importance of the jetty, but the only option left is to close it down to force the government to pay.

He says the Public Works Department claims it has no record of the gravel used more than 30 years ago.