Guadalcanal Premier Anthony Veke says the Rapid Employment Project (REP) is legitimising squatter settlements in Guadalcanal.
Premier Veke says the project needs to be transparent on which areas it is working on to address the issue of unemployment, whether within the City boundary or outside.
He says he does not have any objection to the programme, but he is aware that the programme has gone out to areas outside of Honiara into the Guadalcanal province jurisdiction.
He says this is legitimising squatter settlements within the jurisdiction of Guadalcanal.
“I know it’s a difficult task to talk about, in addressing squattering around and within the jurisdiction of Guadalcanal but to have such a programme that is funded by donors, it doesn’t look good that donors are funding a programme that is legitimising illegal activities that occur within the jurisdiction of Guadalcanal. This is my concern.”
Premier Veke says the REP donors should expand the programme to the various headquarters of the country so the population is not concentrated only on Guadalcanal.
Meanwhile, Honiara City Clerk Charles Kelly has refuted claims the Rapid Employment Project is conducting its programme in settlements outside of the Honiara City boundary.
Mr Kelly says the programme only operates within the Honiara City boundary.
He says that is stipulated clearly between the Council and the Programme.