SUNBIZ

Lauans Don’t Want Foreign Yachts Yet

“The concern is about the likely transmission of COVID-19 into Vanuabalavu, and the devastating effects this would cause if it does happen,” Mr Pareti said.
26 Aug 2020 13:11
Lauans Don’t Want Foreign Yachts Yet
A yacht moors in Qilaqila Bay of Islands in Vanuabalavu, Lau.

The traditional owners of Qilaqila Bay of islands in Vanuabalavu, Lau, do not want any foreign registered pleasure yachts visiting them.

Daliconi spokesperson Samisoni Pareti said this was raised during the Daliconi Village Council meeting last fortnight.

“The concern is about the likely transmission of COVID-19 into Vanuabalavu, and the devastating effects this would cause if it does happen,” Mr Pareti said.

Mr Pareti confirmed that Tui Daku had sent a letter of request to the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs.

“The Ministry of iTaukei Affairs officials had explained to the village delegation that called on them last Friday that traditional owners of any iqoliqoli have no such powers,” Mr Pareti said.

“What the chief of Daliconi and his people have done instead is to advise the Ministry of their decision to close Qilaqila (Bay of Islands) to foreign-registered pleasure crafts until the all-clear is given, and all air and sea borders are re-opened,” he said.

Mr Pareti said the letter was accepted on behalf of the Permanent Secretary (PS) by one of his senior officers, as PS Meleti Bainimarama was not available.

“The senior official acknowledged the letter, and also took the time to explain to the Daliconi delegation the meaning of the law regarding pleasure crafts,” he said.

“He explained that once a cruise permit is issued to a pleasure craft by the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs, traditional iqoliqoli owners have no powers to stop the vessel from cruising Fiji’s territorial waters.

“The only thing they can do under the law is to ask these sailors to remain in their vessels, and not to go ashore.

Mr Pareti added: “Judging from what we have read on the Province of Lau’s Bula ko Lau Facebook page, our health concerns are shared by other islands in Lau.

“The Turaga Tui Daku wishes to commend the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs for receiving our request about Qilaqila, and we trust visiting yachties including superyachts will afford us the same respect.

“Until all international borders in Fiji are re-opened – both air and sea borders – we would like to keep Qilaqila including the waterfront of our village in Daliconi closed to international vessels.”

Ministry of iTaukei affairs acting executive support officer Ilaitia Logavatu said the office of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs was yet to receive the letter.

Feedbackwati.talebula@fijisun.com.fj


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