Makira-Ulawa Provincial Township expansion project is set to commence following Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare’s presentation of a $2.9-Million cheque as final payment for 30.904 hectares of new land for the project implementation.
The new area is situated between the Kirakira airport and current Provincial Township.
When handing over the cheque, the Prime Minister also declared that the proposed expanded township will be called ‘SS Mamaloni Town’ after the famous national political leader from Makira-Ulawa Province, Late Solomon Sunaone Mamaloni.
The presentation ceremony coincided with the province’s 32nd Second Appointed Day Anniversary celebration which the Prime Minister was the guest of honour.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony, Prime Minister Sogavare expressed gratitude to the landowners for their willingness and foresightedness in allowing their land for the township expansion project.
He said customary land is a particularly difficult issue to settle, but landowners of the township expansion project site have proven that land dispute cannot be a barrier to development if landowners themselves feel the need to provide their resources for development that are beneficial to themselves and the entire community.
The Prime Minister also expressed gratitude to the Makira Ulawa Provincial Government, the Minister for Provincial Government and his Permanent Secretary for their tireless efforts in bringing the township expansion project to its current state.
Also speaking at the ceremony, Landowners’ representative Chief Eric Waisi said he was pleased by the Democratic Coalition for Change Government’s commitment to honour the understanding reached with the landowners for the payment of their land.
Chief Waisi said, “It took us 15 years to negotiate the customary land purchase with the provincial government but it took the DCC Government less than seven months in Office to seal the negotiation.”
“Land is not a simple issue to deal with. Many development initiatives in the country have been hampered by land disputes so I am pleased that we have not allowed that to deprive us from benefitting from the development of our land.
“Let us utilise our God-given resources for the benefit of all people,” he added.
Premier of Makira Ulawa Province Hon Thomas Weape expressed appreciation for the Democratic Coalition for Change Government’s support for his province’s development aspirations.
“I wish to register my executive’s profound appreciation to the Democratic Coalition for Change Government for demonstrating utmost commitment to our development aspirations. This is indeed a historic occasion for our province.”
During the ceremony, the landowners presented traditional gifts to the Prime Minister on behalf of the Democratic Coalition for Change Government as token of appreciation.