1 Aug 2002

Fiji cabinet ministers argue over appointment to Air Terminal Services

11:32 am on 1 August 2002

More industrial trouble is feared at Fiji's Nadi International Airport with two cabinet ministers clashing publicly over the appointment of an activist from the ruling SDL party, Mere Samisoni, to the chair of the board of Air Terminal Services.

The Fiji Times reports that the minister for public enterprises, Irami Matairavula, has written to the minister for civil aviation, Konisi Yabaki, saying Mrs Samisoni's appointment should be cancelled because it does not comply with the requirements.

The chair of ATS, which is 51 per cent owned by the state and 49 per cent by its employees' trust, should go to an independent person by convention.

But Mrs Samisoni, while in the chair, has also applied for the position of chief executive officer of the company.

Mr Matairavula says this is a clear conflict of interest and Mrs Samisoni should go because any industrial action by ATS staff would only bring more problems to the travelling public and the tourism industry.

But Mr Yabaki has refused to sack Mrs Samisoni saying he has consulted the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, on the issue.