Police close Cloud 9 operations
Report by: Christopher Chand
Police officers have closed down the operations of the floating island known as Cloud 9 – which is moored at Fiji’s best surf spot at Tavarua near Nadi.
A statement from the Attorney General and Tourism Minister, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum issued last night said the recreational floating platform has been operating illegally.
Sayed-Khaiyum said the Regulation of Surfing Areas Decree 2010 makes it clear that any commercial venture permitted under that Decree be confined to surfing and other water sports.
He said it does not allow for the activities that have been conducted on Cloud 9, which include organised parties, the serving of alcohol, the playing of loud music and an advertised nightclub.
According to Sayed-Khaiyum, the Decree is explicit – “to enable unrestricted access to any surfing area by all persons…engaged in providing and promoting surfing and any water sport”.
He added the obligations on operators are also explicit – “The person shall not carry out any activity…other than surfing or engaging in any water sport”.
The protection of the environment in these areas is paramount and the Government cannot allow any activity that may lead to damage or destruction in these areas, Sayed-Khaiyum said.
He also said Cloud 9 presents a clear threat to that provision in the decree.
The intention of the Decree is also to create economic and commercial opportunities for locals in the surrounding areas he said.
Sayed-Khaiyum said they need to preserve Cloud Break and its marine environment, along with all other such areas in Fiji, now and for future generations, as provided for in the Constitution.
Visiting band Common Kings was scheduled to perform on Cloud 9 on Monday.
Cloud 9 owner, Tony Philp said he would comment after consulting his lawyer.