GUADALCANAL Provincial member for Ghaobata ward Stephen Panga accused Premier Anthony Veke for what he described as failing his people.
Mr Panga made the accusation in response to Mr Veke’s statement yesterday in the Solomon Star in relation to the Metapona Downstream Association’s (MDA) demand for environment impacts allegedly caused by Gold Ridge Mining operations.
He said the province neglected the interest of the people it should stand for and take sides with the company.
Mr Veke yesterday admitted writing a letter to Gold Ridge Company to disassociate his government from the people’s demand.
He made the clarification because he claimed Mr Panga Chairman of MDA used the province’s letterhead in a letter written to the company regarding the demands, without the province’s knowledge.
MDA demanded $15 million from Gold Ridge Company for environmental destruction caused Matepona River allegedly as the result of mining activities.
Mr Panga said he was surprised that the executive chose not to support the affected people.
“This was a slap on the face of communities affected and the premier needs to be responsible in making such statements.”
The chairman added that the premier lied about having no knowledge of the people’s claims.
“I formally discussed this issue with him in his office before raising the demand to the company.
“Thus I call on the premier to come and visit the affected areas to witness and prove the damages done to the river.”
Mr Panga said while MDA respect the laws, regulations, procedures and protocols in the country and consider the mining operation as a national project, they are also mindful of impacts on the lives, cultures and traditional values of people.
“Despite the negative support from the executive as a leader representing my people, I will fight for these people’s right until we achieve what we want.”
By JENNIFER KAKAI
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