24 Jan 2003

Landowners threaten Fiji MP

4:55 pm on 24 January 2003

A Fiji Labour MP, Vijay Singh, says he has been chased out of his village and threatened by supporters of the indigenous landowners who illegally occupied his farm last year.

Mr Singh says his family has already had to move to the United States because of the continuing threats.

Last year, landowners from Natova Sabitu, midway between Lautoka and Nadi, illegally seized Mr Singh's land although he had paid them a goodwill payment of 10-thousand dollars to renew his lease.

Mr Singh says he has lost nearly everything, including his flower and landscape business and home.

He says he is powerless because the police and the Native Land Trust Board, which manages leases, won't look into the matter.

"I have had threatening phone calls ..even my car was seized, and I have nowhere to go now...and police have not done anything - they say it's a civil matter and you will have to go to court...it will cost me another ten to fifteen thousand dollars and after reaching the judgement which I know will be in my favour, even then you cannot do anything - the NLTB has directly told me they will side up with the landowners."

Mr Singh says he had got on well with the landowners for the past 12 years and that the Labour party will assist him in finding out why things have changed.