MAINTENANCE work has been completed and Aviation already declared Gwaunaru’u airport safe to received flights after an inspection, but all those efforts were in vain when landowners refused to sign the reviewed Memorandum of Understanding with the Government and Malaita Provincial Government on Tuesday this week.
Malaita premier Peter Ramohia said the delegation of landowners went to Honiara for the signing but on Tuesday they again refused to sign the agreement.
“It is a sad situation because a lot of hard work and efforts have genuinely been put forth to ensure the re-opening of the airport.
“On March 27 this years, landowners agreed to the review and openly expressed the desire to re-open the airport, but it seems the issue will remain unresolved due to such attitude.”
Chief Oscar Luvibaeko one of the tribal landowners said some landowners demanded the government to pay up arrears of $100,000 before they can sign.
“We want to see this airport re-opened but some of us are making things too complicated. It is a shame really, that some of us failed to resolve issues amicably and see into the future.
“The thing is for the open to re-open. Negotiations for outstanding arrears can be made later. This is not a positive kind of thinking.
“On behalf of my tribe, we have no problem.”
Provincial member for ward three that the airport is located said that they want the airport to re-open.
“We will give time for landowners to deal with themselves before we can look at option B and that is to give the opportunity away.
“We have another option in place which is putting an airport at a new location. If Landowners continue to take things lightly and continue to deny the public of this essential service, option B will be explored.”
Premier Ramohia said it was sad to see all efforts put to waste and added that they are putting option B on the table.
“There is a proposed site for an airport at Fote, West Kwara’ae.
“Consultation between landowners and responsible authorities has been made we cannot waste more time if landowners think they can continue to take this as a game.
“As the leader for the province, I am disappointed and heartened when everyone were present to sign the MOU only for landowners to refuse on Tuesday.”
By LESLEY SANGA