Nukulau Island Prison To Be Closed

Published: Tue 19 Dec 2006 09:45 AM
Nukulau Island Prison To Be Closed
SUVA (Fijilive/Pacific Media Watch) - Nukulau Island prison which has been home to the leader of the May 2000 coup in Fiji, George Speight, will be closed.
Army commander and acting President Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama announced the decommissioning of the island prison at a press conference this afternoon.
Commodore Bainimarama said the ousted government led by Laisenia Qarase was spending too much money to operate the island prison.
He said it would be up to the Prisons Department to decide where to relocate Speight and several former Counter Revolutionary Warfare unit members who are serving their prison terms on Nukulau.
Speight, his media minder Jo Nata and the ex-CRW members are serving their sentences for their involvement in the 2000 coup and mutiny.
Commodore Bainimarama did not say how much was being spent to operate the island prison.
However, he did say ration allowances of F$75 a fortnight and F$100 a month were being paid to prison wardens looking after the prisoners on Nukulau.
Commodore Bainimarama did not say when the prison would be closed but did reveal that "our children can enjoy the benefits of Nukulau" by Christmas.
Nukulau was a popular picnic spot for families in Suva until it was converted to an island prison in 2000 to accommodate the coup perpetrators.
On the army’s recent statement that Qarase would be detained on Nukulau if he set foot in Suva, Commodore Bainimarama said he could be detained on nearby Makuluva Island.
Qarase is currently in Vanuabalavu and is trying to travel to Suva for business matters.
However, the army said it would not allow him onto Viti Levu.

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