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PM Clarifies Use Of Muaiwalu Jetty For Vendors

PM Clarifies Use Of Muaiwalu Jetty For Vendors
From left: Pineapple seller Paula Watison and Acting PS for Infrastructure David Kolitagane on January 11, 2018. Photo: Vilimoni Vaganalau
January 13
11:18 2018

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama clarified in a talanoa session that the all vendors had been blocked during the busy period of Christmas and New Year because of the crowds that filled up the Muaiwalu Jetty in Suva.

Mr Bainimarama said Fiji Ports Authority Limited had initiated the limiting of people going into the jetty area because of the safety of passengers in the overloading and overcrowding in the area.

“This was an issue during the Christmas period, the overloading of the shipping vessels was noted and the ship owners raised a lot of concerns on this,” he said.

Mr Bainimarama was responding to a Naitasiri villager who requested for a change in the decision by the FPAL to remove all the vendors from selling in the jetty area during the talanoa session at the Suva Market after the opening of the Stinson Parade Bridge in Suva on Thursday.

Paula Watisoni said he was selling fresh pineapples on the Muaiwalu Jetty for passengers, however during the Christmas and New Year period they have been stopped from entering the wharf.

“We have been stopped by the security officers from the ports but they don’t understand this is our source of income,” he said.

“We travel from Naitasiri every morning to sell and return home in the afternoon just to earn some money, why have we been stopped?”

Mr Bainimarama said the big demand for maritime people wishing to go to their villagers during the holidays created a huge problem for FPAL which they were trying to sort out.

“Vessel owners said that a lot of people who don’t buy tickets from outside go straight into the vessels and expect tickets from inside the vessel,” he said.

“That is the reason why they put a stop into having anyone without a ticket from walking in.

“At the moment this is about the passengers and their safety and the need for boat owners to know how many people are actually boarding.”

Acting permanent secretary for Infrastructure David Kolitagane said the wharf was crowded with 3,000- 4,000 people during the peak Christmas and New Year period when passengers were to board the different vessels on the wharf.

“We met with various government representatives, FPCL staff, Fiji Roads Authority representative and the Fiji Police Force who are to control the overcrowding and ensure the security of the people,” he said.

Mr Kolitagane said for selling food and snacks there was a space to sell these goods at a waiting shed away from the wharf.

“It’s only for that purpose and not on the wharf.”

Mr Bainimarama said that the Jetty was becoming too small for the loading and boarding of vessels during peak periods and government was looking into the relocation of the local shipping wharf to cater for the demand.

Mr Bainimarama said maybe in the future they would look into the proper space for Mr Watisoni and others wishing to sell at the wharf.

Edited by Rusiate Mataika


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