By EDDIE OSIFELO
Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services is still to construct or refurbish the run-down Maka police station in Southern region of Malaita province, though there is an existing plan to inspect and refurbish the station.
Minister Anthony Veke explained this when asked by MP for Small Malaita, Rick Hou in Parliament on Tuesday.
Hou said the Maka Police Station, in the southern region of Malaita Province, was a component of the
institutional strengthening programme under the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI).
He said it is now more than 5 years since the departure of RAMSI from Solomon Islands.
- What is the progress on the work on Maka Police station?
- What is the Government’s plan for Maka Police Station, and other police stations in Malaita?
Veke said the slow progress is due to the following reasons:
- The Fixed Term Estate of Maka land is expired; and
- Land dispute.
Veke said in relation to the Fixed Term Estate, the Commissioner of Land resumed the land and therefore the land belongs to the government.
“Therefore, the Fixed Term issue is resolved, however we still have an issue with land dispute.
“The Ministry of Police has received a letter early this year asking Ministry of Police to evacuate the land,” he said.
“So, there are people who claim ownership of the land so because of that the Ministry hold back abit and try to do consultation on different parties that claim ownership of Maka land where the police facility is,” he added.
Furthermore, Veke said in terms of Government’s plan to refurbish Maka and other police stations in Malaita, the Ministry has infrastructure strategic plan that include construction of new police buildings and upkeep and maintenance of deteriorating buildings inclusive of police infrastructures in Malaita province as well.
“Hence like other provinces, the Ministry tries to work within the limited resources that is available and prioritized infrastructure of police within Malaita that are critical to the services in Malaita province
“The Ministry will continue to make assessments to identify the critical infrastructure need for Malaita province for immediate resolve within the tight resources where it is available now,” he said.
However, Hou said he has raised the issue since 2012 and received the same answers.
He said there is an alternative location at Afio which belongs to the Government through the province and has no dispute.
Veke said the Ministry is aware of the proposed site where he believes the MP himself is proposing.
He said there was a visit done in 2019 on the proposed site to replace if they hard to solve Maka.
“Unfortunate there few things that need to meet the criteria of Royal Solomon Islands Police Force on that particular site.
“There is a hold back on the particular site,” he said.
Veke said the Ministry wants to solve Maka because it is existing to refurbish or construct a new site.
However, Hou said the Minister is giving a lame excuse because the land at Afio is over 100 hectares of land and belongs to the government.
“In 2009, I brought the then Commissioner of Police and then Permanent Secretary to visit Maka.
“They promised us to do something about it. We wait but nothing done about it. Iam disappointing this is left unattend for people in Southern Region,” he said.
Veke assured Hou that next year’s programme of RSIPF for construction of new police post in Malaita, Maka, Atori and Atoifi included, funded by partners in RSIPF as well as Auki Police headquarters.