UP­ROAR OVER STALLS AT HIBIS­CUS FES­TI­VAL

Fiji Sun - - Fiji Today -

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.

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