TRIBE PLANS TO CLOSE NADI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

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By Charles Chambers

SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 9, 1999 - Fiji Times/Pasifik Nius/Niuswire)---Fijian landowners are resisting the planned takeover on Monday of Nadi International Airport by Airports Fiji, Ltd. and plan to disrupt flights, the Fiji Times reports.

The traditional head of the landowners, Ratu Josateki Savau of Saunaka village, said the land on which the airport stood should be returned to them. If not, they are likely to force its (the airport’s) closure.

He said the 434 acres had been acquired by the Fiji Government during the Second World War to construct an airport. Now the land had been taken over by AFL for commercial purposes without any benefit to the landowners.

Ratu Josateki said the land first should be given back to them before it could be leased out to the new company.

He said that the practice was used by other Pacific countries when land was initially acquired for private use.

He said the understanding was that the land would be used only for a public purpose but over the years this had been extended (to include) for commercial gain.

He said the commercial income derived from 1979 to 1998 was $87 million (US$ 43.5 million).

"We have had enough," he said.

Title -- 2036 LAND RIGHTS: Fiji tribe plans to close Nadi airport Date -- 9 April 1999 Byline -- Charles Chambers Origin -- Pasifik Nius Source -- Fiji Times, 9/4/99 Copyright – FT Status -- Abridged

This document is for educational and research use only. Recipients should seek permission from the copyright source before reprinting. PASIFIK NIUS service is provided by the niusedita via the Journalism Program, University of the South Pacific. Please acknowledge Pasifik Nius:

niusedita@pactok.net.au http://www.usp.ac.fj/journ/nius/index.html

SABOTAGE POSSIBLE BY NADI AIRPORT WORKERS

SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 8, 1999 - PACNEWS)---Fiji’s Nadi International Airport could be the target of sabotage by militant members of the country’s Public Service Association, according to an Australian study.

The report said a recent High Court decision to refuse the Association’s application to have the planned privatization of the airport delayed or prevented has "created an air of uncertainty on the future actions of FPSA members."

The report claims the purpose of sabotage would be to delay the privatization process or to embarrass the Government and senior executives of the country’s Civil Aviation Authority.

The report was prepared by Australian consultants Stephen Curnow and Paul Algar last December.

The five-page report, Summary Risk Assessment and Security Proposals, said the sabotage could take place without the knowledge of the Association leadership.

The report, however, did not predict the precise level of threat, saying it was difficult to gauge because information received was varied and confused.

The report said Association members had undertaken acts of sabotage to force their point of view in the past, but no one was charged in connection with criminal acts against Government facilities.

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