22 Nov 2010

Fiji Water says business as usual despite executive's deportation

2:40 pm on 22 November 2010

Fiji Water's Director of Operations Anna Morris says it's business as usual at the company today despite the surprise deportation back to the United States of company executive David Roth.

Mr Roth left last week after being declared a prohibited immigrant for allegedly acting in a manner prejudicial to good governance and public order.

Fiji's interim leader Commodore Frank Bainimarama issued the regime's directive from China, based on what he describes as reliable information verified and confirmed by relevant authorities.

Ms Morris says the company has no further comment to make at this stage.

The nature of the alleged breaches of Mr Roth's work permit has not been disclosed.

A Fiji economist, Wadan Narsey from the University of the South Pacific, says the main concern for investors in light of the deportation is a lack of recourse to the courts.

"The real problem is people don't really know what exactly went on behind the scenes and why the military government is deporting Roth. There has been an ongoing taxation case between them where the government has tried to raise revenue by putting excise taxes on Fiji Water and that of course has been naturally resisted by Fiji water. In this situation we don't really know what's gone wrong. What is of course of concern is when a military government makes a decision to deport anyone - whether it's a foreign investor or otherwise - and there is no recourse to the courts, then investors cannot but feel jittery about it."

Professor Wadan Narsey.