BY ALFRED PAGEPITU
Landowning tribes of Noro town’s water source are pleading to have an audience with the government over outstanding payments.
The tribes claim government owes them more than 10-years goodwill payment, stretching back to the Lilo-government.
Spokesman for the four tribes, Rex Biku, told Island Sun over the weekend this.
“We would like to bring back to the Government’s attention a long and outstanding Goodwill Payment over the Ziata Water Source that continues to supply water to Noro Township in West New Georgia, Western Province.
“Ziata Water Source is located between Noro and Munda and is situated on Hiagore Customary Land known as the Kazukuru Land.
“The land had gone through many legal entanglement disputes by various tribal groups and held several Acquisition Proceedings appointed by the various Commissioner of Lands.
“Ziata Water Source is located in our customary land and the process of appointing a new Acquisition Officer, a Surveyor and a Valuer is gradually progressing well, to quickly pursue and acquire the land for important development infrastructure.
“There were various High Court cases that dealt with the acquisition of the Ziata water source but fortunately, a final pending decision was finally made on March 13, 2017 at the Gizo Magistrate Court, which ruled in favour of our party against the Appellants.
“January 2014 and May 2015, I, on behalf of the above four tribes, submitted petition letter to the Lilo-led Government to pay up the Goodwill Payment of $400,000, to the rightful Land-owners of Ziata, to avoid being disrupted of closing down the water source.
“During that particular period, the Prime Minister’s delegation led by former SPM: Mr. Jeffery Wickham went to Munda and met with the chiefs and leaders of the tribes.
“Former Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo met with the GGMV delegation in Honiara but was informed that Goodwill Payment would only be issued once the appeal court decision over the Ziata water source is heard.
“As a result, my tribal members were aggrieved and unsatisfied. Fortunately, the final decision was made three years later in 2017.
“We humbly request government authority to revisit this issue with the DCGA Government if there is any possibility of discussing this issue and to seek your wisdom and understanding in resolving this issue with your likely approach.
“It is our humble request and appeal to the current DCGA Government to resolve this issue amicably, with a fair resolution.
“We are confident that raising the issue in a round table discussion with your Executive Government is very vital in order to give us some hope. Our aim is for the Noro Town infrastructures and economic developments must be left undisturbed.”