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Fiji Time: 2:56 PM on Wednesday 30 July

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Landowner confident of bagging a seat with FLP

Avinesh Gopal
Friday, June 27, 2014

HE tried twice to become a parliamentarian but was unsuccessful.

But this time round, Solomone Catarogo is confident of winning the general election on a Fiji Labour Party ticket.

The 52-year-old landowner from Wainikoro outside Labasa says he wants to unite the two major races living in the country.

In 2000, he contested the general election for the Conservative Alliance Matanitu Vanua party and for the Party of National Unity in 2005 but was unsuccessful in both.

Mr Catarogo, who has 1017 acres of land in Wainikoro, Nadogo and Namuka, is a former Labasa and national soccer representative and boxer.

"The reason I applied for an FLP ticket is because I believe in the party's policies and that it's the only one that can bring the two major races in the country together," he said.

"I believe the two major races got divided after independence in 1970 when there was the Alliance Party for iTaukei and the National Federation Party for the Fijians of Indian descent.

"This division still exists today and by teaming up with FLP, I want to break this divide."

Mr Catarogo said he started campaigning before he was officially named as an FLP candidate last Saturday.He said support in Macuata Province was good, similar to that on Viti Levu.

Meanwhile, Mr Catarogo said all the sugarcane farming leases on his land that expired in the past had been renewed, adding that about 300 Fijian families of Indian descent lived on his land.

He said 17 poor Fijian families of Indian descent were also staying on his land without any lease because they had no place to go to.

"I'm from a poor family too and I spent my young days with the iTaukei and Fijians of Indian descent and I even slept in the homes of Fijians of Indian descent. When these poor families came to me requesting for a place to stay, I couldn't say no to them and they are living on my land without any lease. I told them to just stay."

His lessees include the Ministry of Health, police, a primary and a secondary school, Ministry of Forest and Fisheries, Fiji Sugar Corporation and three shops.


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