Totoya Chief Calls for Islands Shipping Improvement
Islanders leave in numbers for better opportunities
www.fijitimes.com - Wednesday, January 13, 2010
VILLAGERS on Totoya in Lau have called on the Government to improve the franchised shipping service to the Lau Group to avoid the mass migration of islanders to Viti Levu.
They said life in the islands was becoming unbearable due to the lack of economic activities and development.
They said the islanders had no choice but to leave with their children for better opportunities on the mainland.
Paramount chief of Totoya, the Rokosau Roko Josefa Cinavilakeba, told the Fiji Times the number of islanders had dropped significantly over the years due to the lack of income.
"People have abandoned their homes and are moving with their families to Viti Levu because they are finding it hard here," said Roko Josefa.
He said schools which normally had a roll of more than 100 students had recorded low turnout as families moved their children to Viti Levu.
"The roll for the four primary schools on the island continues to decrease over the years," he said.
because families have decided to move to Suva as they want the best for their children," added Roko Josefa.
Roko Josefa said life in Totoya would change for the better only if the shipping service was improved.
"We have copra and a very rich fishing grounds. Also we have nice sandy beaches and surfing spots for tourists. But when we don't have a regular shipping service we are being denied the chance to market these resources," said Roko Josefa.
He said that because of the poor shipping service the villagers were forced to sell their copra to the Methodist Church on the island to cater for their daily expenses.
Roko Josefa said goods sold at the Post Fiji shop on the island were too expensive.