GAY-FRIENDLY ACCOMMODATIONS RAISE CONCERNS IN FIJI

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By Samantha Rina and Semesa Madigi

SUVA, Fiji (FijiSUN, Oct. 3) - An exclusively gay and lesbian holiday villa is already in operation in Fiji.

The discovery has sparked concerns in the Methodist Church, which will consider another march to express its opinions on gay rights.

[PIR editor’s note: Purple Roofs Gay & Lesbian Travel Directory lists numerous gay-friendly hotels and other accomodations in Fiji and around the world.] The church’s assistant general secretary Reverend Tuikilakila Waqairatu said investors often underestimated society and misled locals when presenting investment opportunities.

"Tomorrow the management committee will meet and we intend to highlight this matter to the members," said Waqairatu. "Like in the case of the Da Vinci Code film, we might have to hold a protest march so such activities will not be encouraged or promoted."

The villa, which is located at Pacific Harbour, is managed and operated by gay owners. It has a clientele of gays and lesbians and has a rate of FJ$100 [US$58] per night.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Moses Driver said police would have to view the website that advertises the villa before making a comment.

Last night, Waqairatu called on investors to be transparent when seeking investment opportunities.

"When a business is planned to be operated, there should be some degree of involvement of locals by overseas investors," he said. "And the locals involved in this should try and consult others who are well versed in areas of commerce."

He said sometimes locals could be bribed or exploited or merely acted with ignorance, which made them unaware of the real intentions of the investors.

"We will continue to stand by our word that we don’t condone homosexuality," said Waqairatu. "It is a pity that the people concerned don’t want to have public consultation on the matter. Transparency should be encouraged for the sake of peace and justice."

Meanwhile, the Fiji Tourism Resource Owner’s Association general secretary has called the Native Land Trust Board general manager to conduct an investigation to his officer that changed the lease proposal from Yasawa-i-Rara to a resort lease.

Mr. Bogileka said the NLTB should have a thorough investigation on the matter before they granted a lease to a resort exclusively for gays.

"The reason why I am saying this is because I really support the landowners of Yasawa-i- Rara who proposed a different matter but it turned into a different case. I do respect gay rights as well as the landowners’ rights," said Bogileka.

He said looking at how the NLTB dealt with leases, it would affect the Qoliqoli issue and from his own point of view the NLTB should look at the landowners’ concerns. "I am totally against the permit to construct a gay resort in Fiji," he said.

Bogileka was responding after landowners of Yasawa-i- Rara raised their concerns over the gay resort.

Fiji Hoteliers Association president Dixon Seeto earlier said that the proposal for a homosexual resort would compromise the law of the country and such a suggestion should not be permitted.

October 4, 2006

FijiSUN: http://www.sun.com.fj/

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