5 Mar 2003

Fiji tenant farmers to sue indigenous landowners over roadblock near Sigatoka

8:52 am on 5 March 2003

A report from Fiji says aggrieved farmers near Sigatoka are suing indigenous landowners who set up a roadblock four years ago and have been charging them a toll each time they use the road.

The Daily Post reports the writ has been filed in the Lautoka High Court by Sunil Datt on behalf of 78 tenant families of the Nabitu settlement which is owned by the J P Bayley Trust.

The writ seeks the removal of the roadblock, an injunction to stop future roadblocks, damages and costs.

The Post quotes families in the settlement as saying yesterday they are still paying up to 20 US dollars to landowners each time they use the road.

This is despite a government payment of 14 thousand US dollars to the landowners last Friday to lift the blockade.

Meanwhile, the indigenous landowning unit involved is seeking fresh grounds for compensation after accepting the government cash.

The headman of Mavua village, Kameli Waqamate, now says they want compensation from the J P Bayley Trust on whose land the farmers live.

Mr Waqamate says they want compensation from 1912 until last month.