THE group of men who went to the Henderson-GBR area in Lunga, East Honiara on Monday in pursuance of an eviction order for settlers in the area to move out claim they play within the bounds of law.
The men appeared at The Solomon Star after the story appeared in yesterday’s headline to explain facts surrounding the saga.
Spokesmen for the group categorically denied any direct involvement on Monday’s drama.
“We were chatting and laughing with police officers at the Henderson police post while four police and two court officers went to warn the settlers of the deadline,” the men said.
They claim that their involvement was legal because the court had authorised 32 of them to enforce the order.
“Today (yesterday) is the deadline and we are authorised to go and remove anything on the land or it will belong to the land owner,” they said.
High Court Sheriff Richard Muaki yesterday confirmed that any removal of the settlers is legal because they were given ample time to remove themselves.
“The men (refer to Solomon star yesterday) were authorised by the Sheriff to assist,” Mr Muaki said.
He said they were authorised to assist the Sheriff if the settlers refused to vacate and take down their houses.
“So basically what these men will do is take down the houses once the defendants (settlers) have removed their personal items, but they have been given enough time to do this and the enforcement order has lapsed,” the high court sheriff said.
The men who are employees of the landowner Patrick Leong said they did the right thing by allowing police and court officers to warn the settlers on Monday.
“Mr Leong was very lenient and kind enough with these settlers that he already gave them $17,000 each to help them relocate.
“The high court has got the names of 32 of us for the enforcement exercise, therefore any move to remove this people by these 32 men will be legal,” they said.
They said the enforcement order had lapsed therefore they will carry out the legal orders authorised by the court.
The High Court Sheriff meanwhile said what the spokesperson for the settlers did yesterday by going public was trying to stir up the situation.
“This is however a perfectly legal matter where the Court has ruled that the Claimant is entitled to possess and enjoy the land he legally owns,” the Sheriff said.
He added that the matter only concerns two families and other people residing around the area are not affected by the order.
Solomon Star understands the Sheriff can authorize the claimants/plaintiff to provide a work team to demolish/dismantle any buildings on the land if the occupants refused to dismantle it. Under the Lands and Titles Act the land is defined as including anything or fixture permanent attached or fixed to the land including buildings.
The settlers yesterday grouped together at the GBR area in protest of the eviction order.
By EDNAL PALMER
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