FIJI POLICE MONITOR CANE HARVEST

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SUVA, Fiji (July 8, 1998 - Fiji Times/Pasifik Nius/Niuswire)---Police reinforcements from Suva were sent to Labasa and Seaqaqa yesterday in anticipation of trouble in Fiji's northern cane belt, the Fiji Times reports.

A senior police source said the move was a safety measure.

He said the officers were to prevent a possible repeat of events in Rakiraki when the Penang Mill opened for crushing earlier last month.

Ten officers from the Police Mobile Force at Nasinu were sent yesterday. "The extra numbers will supplement those officers who are already at Labasa and they will be involved largely in securing a stable atmosphere to allow farmers to go ahead with their harvesting unhindered," the source said.

The move has been applauded by the Sugar Cane Growers Council which yesterday said it was what farmers needed to get harvesting underway.

However, National Farmers Union Labasa spokesman Latif Subedar said that there was no need for a police presence in the cane belts as only a handful of farmers were harvesting.

This was despite an order by the Sugar Industry Tribunal last week for harvesting to begin.

Title -- 1533 ECONOMY: Police monitor Fiji cane harvest Date -- 8 July 1998 Byline – None Origin -- Pasifik Nius Source -- Fiji Times, 8/7/98 Copyright -- Fiji Times Status – Unabridged

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