ISSUES regarding shipping vessels registered in the government franchise services for the Lau Group generated discussions between villagers and government officials at a recent tour led by Minister for Social Welfare, Women and Poverty Alleviation Dr Jiko Luveni.
Lakeba district representative Eroni Tadu said while they acknowledged government's franchise service initiative, their concerns surrounded the method of off-loading passengers in open waters.
Mr Tadu asked government representatives present at the talanoa session held in Tubou Village, Lakeba, to consider the idea of government vessels to service the franchise route so it berths at the Tubou jetty instead of being anchored off in open waters, where packages and people's lives are put at risk. He said ships visit Lakeba once a month and villagers looked forward to sending materials to Suva.
However, they have had to fork out extra money to pay for their packages to be taken to the vessel and then another fee to have it transported to Viti Levu.