Monday, July 7, 2008

Bottled Water or Depleted Resource?

Over the last week, the Minister for Finance (and many-many-other things) announced that the duty on export of Fijis spring water was to be increased to $0.20 per litre.Artesian water or spring water as it is commonly known is a natural resource that these operators are exploiting to make extraordinary profits.
Ten bottlers of Fiji-manufactured artesian water responded by ceasing production. Lets take a closer look at who these 10 bottlers are:
Warwick Pleass of Pleass Beverage in Walu Bay, Suva
David Roth of Fiji Water
Anup Patel of Flour Mills of Fiji's VTY
Steve Johnson of Mr Pure
Jai Dayal of Island Chill
Mohammed Altaf of Aqua Pacific
Mohammed Nafiz of Diamond Aqua
Sam Ahmed of Fresh Spring Limited
Jilyin Wong of Tapoos Beverage
Ritesh Naidu of Mineral Waters of Fiji.
The usual suspects crop up, dont they? Flour Mills of Fiji, the Punja family and the Tappoo family. There must be an easy dollar in the offering, honestly.
Where are these operators getting their water from? Thats 10 operators who are drawing artesian water from natural springs in various locations around Fiji.
Now, if you consider that on average one operator would need to draw at least 5000 litres to stay competitive, thats 50, 000 litres at a bare minimum that is being drawn in a single day. Geez. What are the people whose land is being exploited for this getting out of it?
Aaaahhhh, thats where that old card that has been thrown in the face of the Fijians for decades comes in. How dare you question our motives? Dont you know we EMPLOY 5 people from neighbouring villages!!!
And how much do you pay them ,Oh Kind Sir? Thats none of your business. They have a job, dont they?
And what if they get injured or fall sick, Oh Kind Sir? Do they have insurance, do they get sick leave, are their working conditions cosistent with Occupation Health regulations?
Ummmm, Ummmm. well they have a Job, dont they!
Yeah right. We've heard that all before.
Fiji is prone to droughts, as a Class 5 student will tell you, if you suck water out of the ground the water table recedes over time. It is not immediately apparent but its effects will be felt in years to come especially during periods of drought, which Fiji is particularly prone to.
Whenever there is an easy saqamoli to be made, the people come flooding in. Thats whats happening here. 10 operators have sprung up to export water sourced from our springs to overseas destinations. Thats an important fact, it is not for local consumption, it is for the overseas people.
Another important fact is that the process of bottling water is 99% automated. The people who are employed by these people are essentially being bought off to allow these profiteers to get access to the mataqali land to draw the water.
Another fact that emerges from the list. 
Not one indigenous Fijian on that list. Thats not taking the race line here folks, thats just stating a fact. Why cant the indigenous people exploit the resource they own for their own good?
The contributors to Loyal Fijian are not fans of the IG. But all LF operatives are LOYAL to Fiji, LOVE her people and will PROTECT our resources.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

To be honest doesn't Warwick Pleass' company only national not transnational I know that for a fact as I am blood related to Warwick
So go shove it and yes we do give them pay when they are sick