15 Jun 2004

Senior Fiji figure issues gloomy prediction for country's future if trends continue

6:19 am on 15 June 2004

The chairman of Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs has predicted an extremely gloomy future for the country if present trends continue.

Fiji TV reports that Ratu Epeli Ganilau has told the annual conference of the Fiji Law Society that 20 years from now there will be a severe downturn in the economy and employment.

He said this would be due to unreasonable landowner demands and the collapse of the tourism, garment and sugar industries.

Ratu Epeli says unresolved land lease problems have caused an unprecedented mass migration to urban areas, sparking social and economic strife.

He says tribal conflicts have re-emerged and become more violent and bloody.

As well ethnic tension has erupted.

Ratu Epeli said that Fiji was already a thriving haven for drug dealers and money launderers.

He is predicting the country will have more criminals, younger drug addicts and more HIV positive people.

Ratu Epeli says Fiji's salvation lies in equality, fair play and national unity.