Fiji Time: 7:07 AM on Wednesday 21 February

Fiji Times Logo

/ Front page / News

Changing times

Felix Chaudhary
Wednesday, April 09, 2014

ONCE a thriving centre for industry and trade, the Old Capital is now a shadow of its former self and former mayor George Gibson believes a lot of it has to do with the people and dependence on one industry.

"The place hasn't changed much but people have," the 84-year-old said.

"The people that were the cornerstones of our economy are slowly going."

The carefree sprit that once engulfed Levuka has been replaced with a sense of quiet caution.

"We rely solely on PAFCO to keep our economy afloat and while there have been a number of new ventures since, like Taki Mai which produces bottled kava shots and tourism, there is an urgent need to diversify so that more jobs can be created.

"We also have to grow other industries so if something happens to PAFCO, Levuka does not go down with it."

The families of about 900 people are heavily dependent on the Pacific Fishing Company and about $300,000 is paid out in wages and salaries per month.

And despite the steady influx of money into the local economy, business owners in Levuka share Mr Gibson's sentiments.

Navin Vallabh, proprietor of Vallabh and Sons on Beach St — a general goods store that has been in business for 90 years — said when PAFCO closed in December last year because of an issue with the cooling system, Levuka came to a standstill.

"Business dropped, no cars were going on the road and people just relied on whatever they could pull out of their gardens or fish from the sea," the 69-year-old said.

"Luckily, most of us own the buildings we operate our businesses in. If we were renting, a lot of stores would have closed down."

Mr Vallabh believes that the answer lies in tourism.

"Once upon a time we had 52 pubs and a steady flow of people to the island, now we have a handful and visitors are mostly parents visiting their children at St John's College in Cawaci.

"If we can develop tourism, ancillary business will thrive, employment could be created and everyone will benefit."








Fiji Times Front Page Thumbnail

Kaila Front Page ThumbnailFiji Times & Kaila Frontpage PDF Downloads

Use the free Acrobat Reader to view.

Westpac
Code Inward TTs Outward TTs
CAD 0.63170.6127
JPY 54.204251.2042
GBP 0.35800.3500
EUR 0.40540.3934
NZD 0.68860.6556
AUD 0.63870.6137
USD 0.50450.4875

from

$0.00

Exchange Rate updated on 20th, February, 2018

Today's Most Read Stories

  1. Living in fear
  2. Nacuqu puts hands up
  3. Bajpai joins NFP, eyes on health facilities
  4. Drivers lose $7800 weekly after LTA freezes permits
  5. Women return home in time for anniversary
  6. Taliga aims for Fiji 7s spot, will play in Nawaka
  7. Association plans to boycott operations
  8. 44 men charged with sedition plead not guilty
  9. Focus on teachers
  10. Target set for improved education

Top Stories this Week

  1. Love is patient and always kind Wednesday (14 Feb)
  2. Long wait Monday (19 Feb)
  3. Plans to open caves for public viewing Monday (19 Feb)
  4. None like Gita Friday (16 Feb)
  5. Della S(h)aw love Thursday (15 Feb)
  6. Dash for cover Wednesday (14 Feb)
  7. Villagers cry foul Thursday (15 Feb)
  8. Masirewa scores biggest try Monday (19 Feb)
  9. Tikotikoca withdraws provisional candidacy from NFP Wednesday (14 Feb)
  10. Bitcoin rises above $20,175 Saturday (17 Feb)