27 Jan 2004

Sigatoka landowners want money to renew lease for Fiji hospital

3:46 pm on 27 January 2004

Indigenous landowners in Fiji, who own the site of the Sigatoka Hospital, are demanding 406-thousand US dollars in goodwill, to renew its lease.

The landowners' lawyer, Niko Nawaikula, says the hospital is operating without a lease and the government is illegally occupying the land.

A spokesperson for the ministry of health, Penina Dirikiyasawa, is quoted on Radio Fiji, as saying it is impossible for the ministry to meet the landowners' demands.

Penina Dirikiyasawa says there is nothing in the Native Land Trust Act, under which the hospital's lease was returned to indigenous owners last year, that says goodwill payments have to be made.