MINISTER of Aviation and Communication Peter Shanel Agovaka is faced with the challenge of clearing ministerial issues shelved by past political governments.
Mr Agovaka said this when contacted by the Solomon Star regarding the Lomlom airstrip development in the Reef Islands of Temotu Province after a landowner raised concerns about the issue of incomplete payments for the airstrip extension site.
The concerned landowner wanted the government to provide clarification regarding the incomplete payment for the extension site as compensation to the landowners for the loss of crops and trees.
Chairman of the Lomlom Airstrip Land owners Association Alec Bonuga mentioned in an article published in the Solomon Star on June 17 this year said ‘part of the environmental payment was paid to landowners who lost their trees and crops as a result of a 20 meter additional (extension) clearance authorised by Civil Aviation Association Solomon Islands (CAASI) inspection team and required for Aircraft Approach Area.”
Mr Bonuga said, “The assessment for the additional clearance was shelved for further negotiation on valuation and costing issues but some of the items listed are not included in the standard price list of the Ministry of Agriculture.
He said landowners already received $700,000 for crop compensation, $400,000 for access, $400,000 for goodwill and $200,000 for premium payment.
Minister Agovaka told the Solomon Star that any hiccup in relation to the development of Lomlom Airport is an issue of the previous administration which his ministry under the current administration will work to settle.
“I inherit problems that the previous Minister and Permanent secretary have not dealt with effectively. I’m now looking into previous files to update myself on the Lomlom project so I can make a proper decision regarding the incomplete payment issue.”
The Minister of Communication and Aviation said a group of landowners have already consulted him and his is committed to addressing the issue.
He said he will be able to make some decisions on the matter at the end of the month, adding that the government is keen to provide services to the people of Reef Islands by completing the Lomlom airstrip.
By MAENI COMFORT