NEWS

No Links Between Kava and U.S Couple, David And Jane Paul’s Deaths

“This is bad and irresponsible, and potentially very damaging for our kava industry, for our farmers, for our rural economy and development.'
17 Jul 2019 14:33
No Links Between Kava and U.S Couple, David And Jane Paul’s Deaths
The late David James Paul and his wife, Jane Michelle Canalog Paul.

Kava industry stakeholders say there are no proven links between the deaths of an American couple in the Western Division a few weeks ago and them consuming the drink.

A stakeholder, Michael Louze, has written to Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama expressing concern about the mention of “kava” in the headlines of The Fiji Times articles on Monday on the deaths of the American tourists.

“There are until now no proven links between the two events. And it is very, very unlikely that kava has anything to do with it,” he said.

“Despite this, probably for sensationalism, they have chosen to mention kava, among the dozen or more things that this couple may have done the night before.

“This is bad and irresponsible, and potentially very damaging for our kava industry, for our farmers, for our rural economy and development.

Kava industry stakeholders are concerned over published articles mentioning kava in the deaths of American tourists.

Kava industry stakeholders are concerned over published articles mentioning kava in the deaths of American tourists.

“For the first time we have a crop that empowers our farmers, keeps the youth in the rural areas and in the outer islands, supports the improvement of our farmers livelihood much more than any other crop before, and this article is sending a very, very bad and false signal to the world for no reason.

“With internet, thousands of people in the USA have probably read the article already and are now associating kava with something potentially as dangerous as heroine or meth.”

Mr Louze said all stakeholders of the kava industry in Fiji and Vanuatu were sharing the same concern.

The Fiji Times editor-in-chief Fred Wesley said this in an email: “At no point in the article did The Fiji Times suggest the couple were poisoned by kava. The use of the word kava in both headlines on Pages 1 and 3 does not in any way insinuate that kava was responsible for the couple’s death. The gist of the story is about the families’ concern over who may have introduced kava and socialised with the couple before their unfortunate death.

“Since the couple’s death, investigations have still not concluded what killed them. Suggesting the beverage as a cause of death would be irresponsible. The article highlights the concerns of the couple’s families in the US. Their quest, as highlighted in our headlines, is to know more about who the couple spent their last moments with, who might know anything more about them and any other information that could provide some closure.”

Edited by Epineri Vula

Feedback: avinesh.gopal@fijisun.com.fj

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