3 Oct 2011

Fiji lorry drivers angry regime pulls plug on meeting at eleventh hour

2:38 pm on 3 October 2011

Members of a transport union in Fiji are angry at the last minute cancellation of a permit to hold their annual general meeting.

Gatherings are restricted in Fiji under the regime's Public Emergency Regulations which require meeting organisers to apply for permission from the police.

Surendra Lal of the Vanua Levu Cane Farmers Milling Transport Union says the union's applied for permits in the past with no response but this time they were given the official go ahead.

But he says just an hour before the meeting he was told they were not to assemble.

"No reason has been given. We were just told verbally that the permit has been revoked but we are being informed by sources within the commissioner's office that the government has planned a total ban on meetings of trade unions in Fiji. That's what they have informed us."

Surendra Lal says operators and drivers had pressing issues to discuss including having to wait in queues for up to two days to deliver cane to the mills.

Fiji police could not be reached for comment.