7 Apr 2005

Fiji Labour Party pulls out a lands talks over backlash fears

10:15 am on 7 April 2005

The Fiji Labour Party has pulled out of talks it was supposed to have in Labasa because of fears of a backlash against it following the jailing of the lands minister, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu.

The talks were scheduled yesterday between the Labour leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, and the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, and members of their parties.

They were to have discussed the country's pressing land lease problems.

But the Fiji Sun reports that Labour pulled out because of fears, that the presence of its members in Labasa wouldn't not go down well with the supporters of the jailed minister - who's the paramount chief of the Tovata Confederacy.

A Labour party spokesman, Shalendra Raj, is quoted as saying whilst there's not been any indication of any uprising of any kind, they are taking a cautious approach.

Mr Raj says they have asked the Prime Minister's Office to reschedule the meeting for next week, when they can meet and discuss land issues.