CHAUDHRY SAYS FISHING RIGHTS BILL THREATENS TOURISM

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SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Sept. 5) - The concerns raised by the Fiji Islands Hoteliers Association (FIHA) in its submissions on the Qoliqoli Bill is legitimate says Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry.

He said the FIHA was right in stating that investment would be affected if the Bill was put into effect in its current form.

[PIR editor’s note: The Fijian word "qoliqoli" describes traditional fishing rights. The Bill proposes to return control of the traditional fishing grounds from the Government to the native owners, who will be represented by the NLTB. The Fiji Islands Hotel and Tourism Association has warned that its members will have no choice but to close down if the Qoliqoli Bill is made into law. ]

He said their submission should be critically reviewed and not taken out of context.

"It is perfectly understandable if the hoteliers are not feeling secure," said Chaudhry.

Chaudhry said the government needed to re-examine the Bill carefully and make amendments to cater for the investors as well.

Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase had today lashed out at the foreign hoteliers saying some of them still had colonial views and was looking down at the indigenous landowners rather then working with them in partnership.

September 6, 2006

Fijilive: http://www.fijilive.com

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