BY ALFRED PAGEPITU
A LANDOWNING group has responded to Rex Biku’s threat to close the Ziata water source near the Noro township.
The response was made by a representative of one of the three landholding groups that have signed the lease agreement with the Solomon Islands government over the water source.
Appointed Lessor for the Zinihite party, Shirley S Zinihite said the Acquisition determination on the Ziata Water Source has identified three landholding groups to sign the lease agreement with the SIG.
Mrs Zinihite said Rex Biku is one of those persons identified as a lessor for the Biku, Gumi, Gemu and Veo groups.
She explained that in 2008, the three parties signed with the SIG a Memorandum of Agreement, [MOA] to allow continuous access for the sourcing of water to supply the Noro township whilst the process to conclude the acquisition towards a vesting order is underway.
“In signing this Agreement, Rex Biku has his hands tied and he cannot now threaten closure of the water supply.”
“In exchange for signing the MOA, the three parties were paid SBD$1M.
“Rex Biku or the GUMI, GEMU and VEO ASSOCIATION or anyone else seeking monetary benefits have no right to issue 14 days’ notice to shut down the Ziata Water Source.”
Mrs Zinihite adds that the move by Rex Biku is a breach of the 2008 MOA and should not be entertained by the government.
She said the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force should be alerted to make arrest of persons who attempt to disturb the water source and the supply of water.
“One party cannot act alone to close the water supply. The move by Rex Biku is strongly opposed by the principal landowning groups,” she said.
Mrs Zinihite said the landowners were recently given an audience by the Commissioner of Lands and his staff to address the Ziata water source issue.
She said Rex Biku and his Kava Bar nephew boycotted the meeting.
“They left the conference room and missed out on the chance to address their grievances to the Commissioner of Lands and to hear the position of the government. They have lost that golden opportunity.”
Mrs Zinihite said the SIG should be reserved not to deal with the $400,000 claim by Rex Biku.
“There is a legal case on this by a member of their own tribe.
“He should follow the law and sort matters out with his own tribe instead of threatening closure of the water because of his own inadequacies and failures to look after his own tribal members.