Stop lying to us, pleads chief

The Delasau brothers on their way to Roma village in district of Nabobuco in Naitasiri. Picture: SIKELI QOUNADOVU

STOP lying to us, says a chief as hopes for the construction of a road fades for villagers in the highlands after two decades of waiting.

When the road to Nasoqo Village in the district of Nabobuco, Naitasiri, was constructed in 2003, neighbouring villagers of Roma were hoping the road will reach them.

Yet nearly two decades later villagers say they are not sure whether a road to the village will be constructed.

“Stop lying to us,” says 78-year-old Ratu Samu Navunicagi, the chief and turaga iTaukei Burelevu.

Ratu Samu said they have had numerous visits by government and Fiji Roads Authority officials, but nothing has eventuated.

He claimed officials informed them that the road would be constructed and the villagers needed to clear the area for the new road.

“We did that twice clearing the land area, even traditionally approached the landowners from Rewasau Village as the new road will cut through their land. We have done everything they have asked us to do.

“When they come to the village we take care of them, we look after them, provide them shelter and food, even serve them with grog in the hope they will think of us when they go back. They know our daily struggles and what we go through and they tell us that a road will be constructed. They just need to stop lying to us.

“We have raised this several times in our village, district and provincial meetings and we don’t know how long we have to be doing this,” said Ratu Samu.

“We have come to a stage where we are fed up of hosting them in the village and all their false promises,” said Roma Village headman Apisalome Uluiramoto.

Fiji Roads Authority said requests for access of this scale of capital investment must go through the normal district, then provincial and finally to the Commissioner’s Office for divisional prioritisation as part of their community access Rural Roads Projects program.

“Then the commissioners meet with their minister to discuss the competing demands of the four divisions to agree a final prioritised list of rural roads projects sites. We will then prepare this in a package for design and construction,” a statement from the Fiji Roads Authority read.

Roma Village is about a five-hour ride from Suva to Nasoqo via the Monasavu road before trekking across the Wainasoqo River five times followed by a steep climb which takes about an hour and a half to get to the village.