3 Nov 2005

Fiji landowners block road in dispute with Fiji Hardwood Corporation

4:43 pm on 3 November 2005

A group of indigenous landowners in Fiji's Tailevu province has seized control of a road and set up a roadblock to prevent trucks carrying mahogany logs to a mill run by the Fiji Hardwood Corporation.

A newspaper report says a fire has been lit at the entrance to the road and logs placed across it as villagers sit nearby with placards.

A spokesman or the landowners, Ilaisa Kacivakanadina, is quoted as saying they want all operations stopped so their grievances can be heard by the company.

He says there is no demand, only grievances.

These include the Fiji Hardwood Corporation not supplying electricity to the villages as agreed earlier, they have not been compensated for the mahogany logging and their resources have been damaged.

As well, men were hired from outside to work on the mahogany plantation instead of local villagers.

The newly appointed chief executive of the Fiji Hardwood Corporation, Adrian Hazelman, has yet to comment.