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Racial Discrimination Getting Entrenched

Issue No: 305 20 December 2000

The regime has directed the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to not to give any more taxi permits to ethnic Indians. The Qarase Cabinet directive read: "The new policy from Government is that at least 50 percent of all licences issued by the authority to operators of Public Service Vehicle must be reserved for Fijians and Rotumans"

Defending the directive from the Qarase cabinet, the LTA, a statutory body, stated that there were 518 more ethnic Indian taxi permit holders than ethnic Fijians and Rotumans. In addition, of the 700 applications it was processing, only 150 were from ethnic Fijians and Rotumans.

The denial of permits to ethnic Indians means that at most only 150 new permits would be issued now as the regime goes in search of more ethnic Fijians to apply for such permits.

The Fiji Taxi Union has condemned the denial as racist. One applicant stated that the racism in the LTA is so great that officers can not see beyond the race of a person. He stated: "If they want to encourage [ethnic] Fijians, they should approve all the [ethnic] Fijian applicants, but they should also approve the balance for the others. I have got so many [ethnic] Fijian friends. By denying [ethnic Indians] permits, they are forcing me to also respond in race terms. My heart cries.."

The recent directive is part of the Qarase regime's Blueprint aimed at creating state sponsored racism in Fiji.

End 20 Dec 2000


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