BY JARED KOLI
CHAIRMAN of Aebusu tribe Hardyson Maenu’u and his tribal members have been called on to cooperate with the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) and allow flights to Manaoba airstrip.
Chief Frank Lauta Daoga of Lolo tribe made the call yesterday after Mr Maenu’u and two of his tribal members threatened to dispute the MoA – saying they do not recognize the MoA.
The MoA was signed on October 19, 2017 by representatives of Lolo, Toniwane, Kaore and Aebusu tribes with the Commissioner of Lands at the Attorney General’s Office at the Panatina Plaza.
Aebusu tribe was represented by Hardyson Maenu’u’s elder brother Ben Maenu’u and Kelesi Robu during the MoA signing, claimed Chief Daoga.
But in a latest move, Mr Hardyson Maenu’u and two of his tribal members Vice Chairman Ben Faramai and member Robu Saeni threatened to dispute the MoA as reported in the Solomon Star on Friday.
Responding to this, Chief Daoga said Mr Hardyson Maenu’u should go along with his elder brother and tribal leader Ben Maenu’u and Kelesi Robu who signed the agreement to allow flights to Manaoba airstrip.
“Air services must be experienced in the Lau Baelelea area and other neighboring parts of Malaita province.
“We have experienced travelling by ship, now we want to experience air services to the Northern region of Malaita.
“As a chief of Lolo tribe who have legal document over the registered land I call for cooperation by Mr Hardyson and his party,” Chief Daoga said.
He said according to legal documents stemming from House of Chiefs to Customary Land Appeal Court (CLAC), Lolo tribe is currently the rightful land owner of Manaoba.
Chief Daoga said they must cooperate with Ben Maenu’u and Kelesi Robu because they are the ones pronounced as their leader to him as Chief of Lolo tribe.
Chief Daoga said there is no dispute over ownership of the airstrip pending before the High Court as Aebusu has lost all its court cases and have signed a Consent Order in the High Court on 11 March 1999.
The Consent Order signed by late Paul Maenu’u – Appellant of Aebusu tribe and late Gabriel Ramo – Respondent of Lolo tribe hereby ordered that both are members of Lolo tribe which owns the lolo/Ngwalulu disputed land where the airstrip is situated.
This consent order was an out of court understanding to serve a certain purpose including that both parties ensure that any development activities planned for the tribal land proceeds undisturbed, according to Chief Daoga.
He rubbishes Mr Hardyson Maenu’u’s claim which suggests that the MoA reflected some people wanting to get their pockets filled during the festive season as he (Hardyson) heard reports that contractors are doing grass cutting and other jobs to prepare the airstrip.
“MoA is not something that you sign to take money from the government; it is a binding document that we agree for flights to proceed.
“We must let flights go freely to Manaoba, because the government has spent huge money to build the airport, and we must let the airstrip without use which has now gone for three long years, but must allow this service” he said.
Chief Daoga said as Land Owner he welcome the notion that flights must resume to Lau and Baelelea this festive season so that people travel freely to their homes and villages to spend their holidays.
“If you have legal matters bring them to court but you cannot stop the flights, we must allow services to proceed now, and experience air service in our area.
“If we bring in air service we can experience thriving cash flow in our area, in terms of tourism, market and other goods and services locals can offer,”
“Disagreement will only create problem, a bunch of legal documents have been taken to the courts, why do we have to agree on one side and bark on each other on the other side, the court has all the right to decide on our claims.
“We should agree to the MoA and move forward,” Chief Daoga said.
On behalf of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Communication and Aviation who is also the Chairman of the Aviation Task Force (ATF), Attorney General James Apaniai said, apart from the four main disputing tribes, the agreement is still open for signature by any other tribes who claim ownership of the airfield and urge such tribes to come forward and sign the agreement if they want to be parties to the agreement.
Chief Daoga said he will sign the MoA today or tomorrow to allow flights to Manaoba.