Site for proposed hospital under dispute

Father Patterson Tako and his people from the Haubata Matanikalai tribe
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THE national government is urged to put a stop to any works it’s intending to do on a site it proposed to build a new hospital, east of Honiara.

Haubata Matanikalai sub tribe of the Tandai house of chiefs made the call yesterday after they were informed of survey works that were set to start at the site.

Commissioner of Lands Allan McNeil last Friday notified people living in and around the site that the Government has contracted Azimuth Surveys to carry out topographical survey and geotechnical investigation on the site.

Located behind Gilbert Camp area in east Honiara, the site, which is owned by the Government, has been earmarked to host the nation’s new National Referral Hospital (NRH).

The intention is to relocate the current NRH from its existing location to the new site due to impacts of climate change at the seafront.

McNeil asked residents living in and around the site to cooperate and not disturb the work the surveyors are going to undertake.

But responding to the notice, Haubata Manikalai tribe spokesman Fr Patterson Bako said there is a case currently before the High Court about how the land was sold to the Government.

He claimed the case is between the tribe and the person who allegedly sold the land to the government.

“We are not against this proposed development; in fact we fully supported it,” Bako told Island Sun yesterday.

“But we are against the manner the land was sold by one person without consulting the tribe,” he added.

“This is why we filed the case in the High Court.

“So we ask the Government to delay any works on the site until the High Court determines this case.”

Tako said all they are asking for is some kind of respect from the Government to the tribe.

Island Sun understands some people have built their homes on the proposed site despite knowing the land has been earmarked for a new hospital.