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June 2010    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 25, No. 6   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Night Time Raid on Fiji’s Lagoon Resort, Beqa Divers

from the June, 2010 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

At 8 p.m. on Friday, May 7, a team of security guards was deployed to Lagoon Resort. Their instructions came from the Fiji Development Bank: Secure the property, block the road and don’t let anyone into the resort. At 8:30 p.m., Beqa Adventure Divers manager Andrew Cumming got a phone call from Lagoon Resort owner Jim Sherlock about the situation. He went to the resort, and he and Sherlock met with the head of the security team. The chief informed them that the resort was closed, effective immediately, because of failure to make mortgage payments, and entry to the property was not allowed.

Cumming told him Beqa was a separate business and merely a tenant that rented space on the resort’s grounds. There was no change in the directive, the security chief told him. That meant Beqa’s Saturday trip for 20-plus divers had to be canceled. Cumming spent all day Saturday negotiating with multiple Fiji authorities, including the Ministry of Tourism and the Prime Minister’s office. At the end of the day, Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama gave the go-ahead for Beqa to open up again. It was business as usual for the dive shop on May 9, and Beqa got all its divers booked at Lagoon Resort re-housed to a hotel nearby.

As of late May, Lagoon Resort is still closed. Sherlock told Undercurrent he has filed an injunction to remove the roadblocks that prevent people from entering the resort. It’s now before the court, and he hopes the roadblocks are removed by early June. Cumming wrote on Beqa’s blog last month (www.fijisharkdiving.blogspot.com), “We have signed documents with the bank that cover us for the medium term but, when it comes to our long-term future, we shall need to examine the court ruling. Worst case, we would eventually have to relocate, and have already scouted several suitable locations.”

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