Onika criticised over promise to victims - Solomon Star News


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Onika criticised over promise to victims

20 June 2014

LANDS minister Joseph Onika has come under sharp criticisms from the public over the promise he made to victims of the April 3 flash flooding in Honiara.

Mr Onika had promised the victims that his ministry will relocate those who lost their homes to a site in east Honiara.

But one senior citizen, who asked not to be named, said Mr Onika made a grave mistake by promising the people.

“He made that promise without realising the implication it will bring on the government,” the senior citizen said.

“Now that promise has backfired on him and the government.

“Did the minister realise that land is scarce and that many others have been struggling to secure land in the city for years?

“Most flood victims don’t even own any land in Honiara therefore are not entitled to be given any land should there be a relocation.

“Only those who have land titles are qualified to be allocated a new land,” the senior citizen said.

He added that many Honiara citizens are not happy with what the government has come up with because it seems they are short sighted and are making decisions based on political pressure.

The citizen stressed that it would be wise to address the situation of the victims in a manner it does not disadvantaged the rest of Honiara’s population.

He added there is a much better option available to take to address the situation of the victims if they are serious about the welfare of its people.

“If you allocate land to these victims who do not have titles to land, this is injustice to those who have been struggling for years finding land.

“So if the government and the ministry of lands give land to these people, will they do the same to everyone who have their land applications piling up at the lands office?”

He said proper scrutiny must be done to ensure only those with land titles are given land and or if the government is to give land to the victims, there needs to be a proper and independent assessment of those who truly own homes that were destroyed during the floods.

“The ministry of lands must look into this issue seriously to ensure decisions made do not bring problems and conflict between citizens of this country.”

But chairman of the victims staying at FOPA centre Charles Ketea said the public should not compare their situation with them.

“We have a totally different situation where we lost everything and we are victims affected by the flood and under humanitarian grounds deserve something that the government can give us to rebuild our lives,” he said.

“We don’t have anywhere else to go because we have spent the last 10-20 years living where we were affected,” Mr Ketea said.

He added that their situation must be understood by the public and relevant authorities.

Mr Ketea said cases where members of the public applying for land is not the same they situation they are in.

“Those who are criticising us have a place to live and food to eat.

“We have nothing left. We lost everything.”