MANAOBA AIRPORT STILL PENDING: PM SOGAVARE

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare making his speech. Photo credit: SIBC stringer John Toki.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare making his speech. Photo credit: SIBC stringer John Toki.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has said the Manaoba Airport project is yet to be brought to a conclusion because it was not handled correctly from the beginning.

He made the comment during the opening of the Funa’afou Sanitation project in Malaita.

“The Manoba airport project is yet to be brought to a conclusion because it was not handled properly right from the very beginning. There is clear sensitivity to the tenets of our customary land system in the way land issues were handled and as you would know, millions of dollars of taxpayers money have been spent on the project and we would like to see it open. This, of course, will require the full cooperation of our people to work through the difficulties encountered.”

The Prime Minister adds he is saddened by the fact that the project aimed at helping the people of the region is entangled.

“What saddens me is a project intended to benefit the people of this region is tangled up in unnecessary disputes. I hope the lessons learned from this, how we deal with this project, how this project was handled, will help us to sort out the issues surrounding the Manaoba disputes.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said Manaoba Airport is a strategic infrastructure strategically located to open up tourism potential of the Lau Lagoon under his Government’s proposed special Economic Zone Policy.

He hopes the Manaoba dispute is sorted out soon.

“Under that policy, it is the intention to zone specific locations around the country with potentials to attract quality investments to develop these potentials and I’m aware that the responsible Ministry and our landowners are in consultations and I hope to see a resolution in the not too distant future.”

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