Posted by: nativeiowan | July 3, 2011

the hapi isles…

Landowners caution

ORIGINAL landowners of Lunga/Tenaru may disturb any development happening on their land if Government fails to sit and talk with them.

A principal landowner Andrew Kuvu in his capacity as one of the original landowners of Lunga/Tenaru lands issued these words of caution in a statement last week after the Government failed to sort out the land issue surrounding the Russell Islands Plantation Estate Plantation Limited (RIPEL) land in Lunga/Tenaru.
The statement came more than a week after RIPEL and the Government settled for $26million package to revive the operations at Yandina, Russell Islands, Central Province.

Mr Kuvu said he applauds the Prime Minister Danny Philip for his fine effort in sorting out the long standing issue of RIPEL in the Russell Islands.

“He is true to his words by saying that 2011/2012 is our national years of our land.”

But whilst the Lavukal landowners of Russell Island now get what they have been dreaming of, the original landowners of Lunga/Tenaru lands are still waiting in vain, he said.

Mr Kuvu recalled that in the previous government, they have the strong assurance through the landowners resettlement scheme (‘scheme’) that Lunga/Tenaru lands would be returned to the original landowners.

“Since the enthronement of NCRA government, we are being left in suspense.

“No further meeting or work is done on the Lunga/Tenaru lands hence the scheme seems a scam,” he said.

As a result Mr Kuvu said had put forward a number of concerns relating to the $26m package to Patrick Wong and his supporters;

Does that package also include the release of Lunga/Tenaru lands from Patrick Wong and RIPEL?
Mr Wong and John Whiteside with their cohorts are still selling plots of lands within Lunga simply as piece of cakes. If the government is committed to returning the said land, what would have been left for the landowners at the end of the day pursuant to the said scheme?
Assuming there is another separate package to RIPEL and Mr Wong for the return of Lunga lands to its original landowners, then who is going to refund the bonafide purchasers’ monies (i.e those buying lands in Lunga from Whiteside and his cronies)? Maybe the tax payers’ money again, who knows!
Mr Wong should not yet be allowed to pack and go because the Lunga/Tenaru lands must be sorted out in settlement with the government and the original landowners.
Mr Kuvu said they want the government to get back to them to discuss the matter or otherwise they would interfere with any proposed development on the land.

“With the above queries, we the original landowners of Lunga/Tenaru lands are still looking forward as to when the NCRA government would convene an urgent meeting with us.

“Otherwise we would soon continue to disturb or interfere in anyway against the developers or intending developers within Lunga/Tenaru. We would not stop,” the landowner said in the statement.

Queries sent to the Prime Minister’s office since last week remain unanswered.

However Prime Minister Philip during the signing of the settlement package deal with RIPEL management more than a week ago said the issue surrounding Lunga/Tenaru land issue will be dealt with after the RIPEL issues in the Russell Islands are being resolved and the operations is back and running.

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