8 Sep 2006

Fiji military labels qoliqoli bill a threat to security

1:30 pm on 8 September 2006

Fiji's military says the government's Qoliqoli Bill will threaten national security and safety if it is passed.

The legislation would transfer legal ownership of all foreshore areas to their traditional indigenous owners, who would be entitled to compensation from all who use them.

The military spokesman, Major Neumi Leweni, says there is already conflict amongst citizens arguing over fishing rights, with some disagreements ending in assault.

Major Leweni says the military believes the violence will only get worse if the bill is passed.

"People have already been fighting over their fishing rights and it has gone on to the extent whereby people have hurt each other. And the way we see it it's going to go even further than that when this is passed."

Major Leweni says the military will be making its submission on the bill to the parliamentary committee looking at it on October 5th.