By Alfred Sasako
BUSINESSMAN Patrick Wong, once declared a persona non-grata, yesterday held talks with the President of Kadere Party, Peter Boyers, in Honiara igniting suspicion that both men are pushing the new government to pay $50 million for the Hell’s Point waste land in east Honiara.
Kadere Party with nine MPs is a coalition partner in the new Solomon Islands Democratic Coalition for Change (SIDCC) government led by Prime Minister Ricky Houenipwela.
It is understood Prime Minister Houenipwela is against the payment ordered by the High Court.
Instead, he is reportedly supportive of the view by the Attorney General’s Chambers and private lawyers that the recent amendment to the Land and Titles Act be used to buy back the land.
In this way the cost to taxpayers would be substantially less but a reasonable compensation for the land, which is being used as a bomb disposal training school by the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF).
The $50 million award has in recent weeks driven a wedge between Prime Minister Houenipwela and his Deputy and Minister for Finance, Hon Manasseh Sogavare, who claimed the Prime Minister had reneged on his undertaking on the matter.
Last week, both men issued a statement denying they were not in talking terms.
Government insiders told Island Sun last night Mr Wong arrived from Sydney on Saturday.
He was seen meeting with Mr Boyers and others including landowners at a hotel in Honiara yesterday.
“There will be further meetings with landowners during this week.
“Mr Boyers is representing the nine (9) Kadere Party MPs, who no doubt are using the non-payment of the $50 million as a way to get rid of Prime Minister Houenipwela,” one insider said.
The insider said businessman Wong was allowed back in the country several months ago to attend court cases in Honiara.
“He has been using his time here to contact landowners and politicians to push his own agenda. His ban should be reimposed,” the insider said.