BY BARNABAS MANEBONA
NEW plots of land given to ‘Smoking Residents’ at Tulaghi by the former Central Provincial Government (CPG) last year being reported, are termed ‘null and void’.
This does not mean that the current provincial government of Central Islands Province (CIP) under the leadership of Premier Hon Stanley Manetiva will be displacing residents receiving offer letters but revisiting the offer plots and doing proper remapping for equal sharing of plots.
Premier Hon Stanley Manetiva speaking to Island Sun on Thursday said the offer letters signed and passed on by the former provincial Assembly had no purpose but only for ‘election interests’, on which they will be revisiting the offers.
“This does not mean that the provincial government of CIP will be forgetting long serving residents (Smoking Residents) from different provinces that have remained choosing to earn a living and spend the rest of their days in the province. They are now part of CIP’s people,” said Hon Manetiva.
According to Hon Manetiva, the idea is they will be waiting for a mapping to take place by a surveyor before relooking into plots.
He said to note, no one will be taking a big or small share but they will be receiving equal shares of plots.
“The way the plots were offered earlier was only for election purpose, our purpose now is to do proper mapping so that everyone will have an equal share of plots and to address the generation to come as well concerning the availability of land areas to be planned,” said Hon Manetiva.
Last year, the former Premier of CIP Mr Patrick Vasuni said that the plots of land allocated for Smoking residents is being done because a new domestic wharf development is planned to be built at Smoking’s seaside. The plan was said to start develop two months ago.
From different perspectives too being earlier targeted to him over this issue’s move, he said it is not of political interest and apart from the domestic wharf planned, the relocation of residents from Smoking area at Tulaghi is part of sympathy that the province has for the people.
“Residents at Smoking area have always been effective participants in the province activities so they deserve to be relocated in a suitable environment for their livelihood.
“Many amongst the elders there have lived almost throughout their entire lives at Tulaghi seeing them being no stranger to the province and as already part of CIP’s family and citizens,” said the former Premier.
Many families settling at Smoking area are islanders from different provinces such as from Temotu, Makira, Malaita and Isabel who went to work at Tulaghi during when Solomon Taiyo and the National Fisheries Development (NFD) were operating in CIP.
The islanders ever since then to this present living amongst indigenous Ngella people call CIP as their very own home, choosing to dwell there. They continue to live and generate at Tulaghi amongst the former fishing companies’ areas after they were being relocated to Western Province.
It is understood that CIP’s former Premier and Executive Government had already met and passed the area (plots of lands) for relocation just inland (upper hill) of Smoking area, however, the offers are now ‘null and void’ according to the current CPG on which they will revisit offers.