6 Sep 2006

Fiji group warns hoteliers over qoliqoli stance

3:15 pm on 6 September 2006

An indigenous group has warned Fiji's hoteliers to back the Qoliqoli Bill if they want peace.

The Fiji Sun reports that the warning has been issued by the Fiji Tourism Resource Owners Association and its president, Ratu Osea Gavidi.

Ratu Osea has called on hoteliers to deal directly with qoliqoli or indigenous foreshore owners rather than the Native Lands Trust Board.

He has told the parliamentary committee scrutinising the Bill that the legislation has been delayed 125 years because foreigners were governing Fiji.

Ratu Osea says the fishing grounds of the qoliqoli have been thoroughly abused because tourists are there and the indigenous owners cannot access them.

On the management of the qoliqoli after the legislation is passed, Ratu Osea says the Native Lands Trust Board cannot be trusted because it has mismanaged their land for the last 70 years.

He says they have asked that when the Bill comes into effect, they should be released from slavery under the NLTB and allowed to manage their own resources.