UPROAR OVER STALLS AT HIBISCUS FESTIVAL
Irate owners say they are disappointed about the quality of their stalls at the Vodafone Hibiscus Festival in Laucala.
They said the stalls failed to keep out the rain yesterday so most of their food and products were soaked.
There was no proper drainage and the ground inside the stalls was wet and soggy. Suva Kai Lakeba BBQ stall owner, Tubeni Cati, 38, said she was disappointed with the condition of the stalls provided. “The ground conditions are much better but we are not happy with the stall conditions,” Ms Cati said. “The tents are leaking and our cookery items get destroyed.” $5 Lovo and BBQ stall owner Asenaca Delabatiki said it was heart-breaking to see water seep from the roof of the tent structures soaking the food “we’ve worked so hard to prepare.”
“We travel all the way from Vutia village in Rewa by boat to Nasali. Then we travel by truck to come here. It costs us a lot. Imagine our frustration and disappointment when we get here and find the rain destroying our hard work,” Mrs Delaibatiki said. “I have employed women including widows plus unemployed youths to earn some money for themselves and their families. We have lost money today because the stalls were not good enough to keep us dry.”
She said the Hibiscus Festival committee should take responsibility for this. “The fact that more than seven stalls on our wing have not been taken up tells us something.” Festival committee chairman Hirdesh Prasad said there were complaints made by the stall owners but they had managed to resolve the issue. “We have properly checked the tents and stalls before they were allocated to the respective tenants,” Mr Prasad said. “We cannot do anything about the rainy weather but it’s upon the tenants on how they utilise the space. If they make any changes in the tents, then it is their responsibility if any damages occur. “Hibiscus committee had also allowed the tenants to put a twometer extension on their stalls.” Meanwhile, heavy rain is expected until Saturday, says director for Fiji Meteorological Services, Ravind Kumar.