By EDDIE OSIFELO
MAJOR development activities on West Guadalcanal have sparked a call for government action on meeting the rehabilitation demands of former combatants promised six years ago.
The call was made by the Western Region of Guadalcanal Post Conflict Reconciliation, Rehabilitation & Restoration Association (GPCRRRA) on the National Government to live up to its promise.
This is after the Sogavare government during the National Healing and Apology at Rove in June 2014 assured members of GPCRRRA that there will be rehabilitation first before any developments on Guadalcanal or any province for that matter.
However, the years have proven that the opposite has happened after the Western region witnessed major development already taking place at Mamara and Aruligo.
GPCRRRA Western Region members have submitted their demand to Guadalcanal Premier Francis Sade yesterday.
Secretary George Hilly said the activities taking place at these development areas are the practise of nepotism, whereby members of GPCRRRA (Western Region) are neglected from the respective sites.
He said the developers are recruiting labourers from other provinces to come and work at the development sites.
“Labourers from Mamara areas or Aruligo have been neglected and offered no employment,” he said.
As such, Hilly said the GPCRRRA Western Region calls on the Government to re-assure and to deliver to them the Rehabilitation projects as agreed and highlighted in the Townsville Peace Agreement 2000 and the 2014 Reconciliation and Apology ceremony held at Rove Police ground.
The GPCRRA (Western Region) has held a meeting on 26th&29th March and came up with some resolutions for the Government to act on it.
Some of the resolutions are:
1. Guadalcanal Provincial Government is hereby tasked to liaise with the National Government to re-assure them of employment opportunities at both the Mamara and Aruligo development sites.
2. Guadalcanal Provincial Government is hereby tasked to liaise with the National Government and the developer and to secure a share percentage of 5% to be paid into the account of GPCRRA (Western Region) every year.
3. Guadalcanal Provincial Government is hereby tasked to liaise with the National Government and to revisit the Townsville Peace Agreement 2000 so that its terms can be implemented as far as GPCRRA (Western Region) is concerned.
4. Wider consultations are to be carried out in any major development projects in the Western region.
5. In any development in the Western Region, the Chiefs, the landowning groups, GPCRRRA (Western region) and Guadalcanal Provincial Government are compulsory signatories.
GPCRRRA (Western Region) is expecting any outcome from the outcomes from National Government through Guadalcanal Provincial Government within one month.
“Failure to respond within that time period may lead GPCRRRA (Western Region) to other alternative avenues available to address their concerns,” Hilly said.
Premier Francis Sade assured GPCRRRA members that he will submit their concerns to the National Government.
However, Sade said Guadalcanal province has nothing to do with development at Mamara because it comes under the Mamara-Tasivarongo Mavo Development Agreement Act 1995.
This means the National Government and the Developer, Metropolis Pacific Pte Ltd of Singapore have the power over the development at Mamara and Aruligo.
He said the Act supersedes other ordinances in the provincial government like the Town and Country Planning Act, therefore the Premier has no power to override anything.
Sade said he has raised the issue with Mamara-Tasivarongo Mavo Council and Secretary of Mamara-Tasivarongo Mavo Project on the importance to engage workers living around the vicinity and they agreed to recruite 200 workers.
He said also priority must be given to market vendors living around the vicinity of the development sites to sell food.
Further to that, Sade urges the Guadalcanal Members of Parliament in the Government to push for similar course as well.