COURT ORDERS FIJI LANDOWNERS TO END BLOCKADE

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SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, August 1) – A High Court in Fiji has granted the Sugar Cane Growers Council an injunction which sees the removal of a blockade on a tramline near Ba.

Landowners from Sorokoba blocked the tramline with a tree preventing farmers from taking their sugar cane to the Rarawai Mill for more than two weeks.

Fiji Broadcasting Corporation Limited reports the Sugar Cane Growers Council filed an injunction and an order to lift the blockade until tomorrow morning was handed down late yesterday.

Justice Connors has ordered the landowners to explain to the court tomorrow why the blockade should be extended.

The tramline which serves cane farmers between Ba and Tavua was blocked off after the Fiji Sugar Corporation refused the landowners’ proposal to take up a 50-year lease for the property.

The landowners then agreed to the Sugar Corporation’s request for a seven year lease provided the Corporation paid them $90,000 as a goodwill payment.

The Corporation has refused to pay any goodwill to the landowners, saying it would not entertain such demands and hijacking negotiations.

Sugar Cane Growers Council chief executive Jaganath Sami welcomed the court’s decision saying the whole idea was to get justice for the farmers.

The closure had resulted in 50 tons of cane stuck on the ground while 660 tons were stranded on the rail which were too old to transport to the mill.

Fiji Sugar Corporation chairman Charles Walker said farmers would not incur any losses.

[PIR editor’s note: Fiji’s Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase has recently addressed differences between members of the industry and believes that they will be resolved.]

August 1, 2006

Fijilive: http://www.fijilive.com

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