2 Nov 2006

Indigenous landowners in Fiji's west wants breakaway state

11:45 am on 2 November 2006

A group of indigenous landowners in Fiji's west are calling for the setting up of a separate, breakaway state.

The Fiji Times reports the call emanates from the current tensions between the military and the government, with the landowners saying they do not want to be punished by worrying developments in the capital.

At a meeting held on Denarau Island near Nadi yesterday, the landowners called for a separate government for the western division.

A company director and landowner, Napolioni Ratumaiyale, is quoted as saying innocent people in the west, who stand to lose the most, are being ragged into a conflict that does not concern them.

He says the western division has tourism, sugar and gold which are the industries that are suffering from such tensions, so it is better for the west to be governed separately.

A landowner of Denarau Island where many up-market hotels and resorts are located, Timoci Vatu, says they are fed up of self-serving and greedy leaders in Suva and are desperately trying to reassure guests that everything would be fine.

Another landowners spokesman from Sorokaba in Ba, Samula Kautoga, says "those two arguing in Suva have already made a lot of money and are just not concerned about the plight of the grassroots communities."

He says it would be better if the island of Viti Levu is separated into two governments.