24 February 2020
The Police Response Team on the streets providing security as demolition was carried out.

Over tense land issue in Gizo over the weekend


TWO top officials within the Western Provincial Government were arrested on Saturday night in relation to the KHY Seafront issue in Gizo, Western Province which has resulted in an unstable situation over the weekend.

The two arrested included John Lepese Paul, the Provincial Member for Ward 10 in Dovele, North Vella La Vella, who also owned a piece of land at the KHY Seafront area and the Western Provincial Lands Planning and Development Board Secretary Philip Talasasa. 

Both were arrested Police and the Police Response Unit (PRU) for breaching a court order issued by the Sheriff of the High Court last week.

Reports reaching Solomon Star Gizo said Mr. Talasasa was arrested after issuing the Letter of the Enforcement Act by the Western Province Lands Planning and Development on Friday.

The letter of notice asked the developer and contractor to stop any work.

According to the Enforcement Notice, it stated given the following action within 28 days based on the Town Planning and Development Act 2018

  1. You are constructing an illegal fence around Lot 229.

  2. You got no planning permission  from the Board to erect  the fence; and

  3. Stop immediately the activity and apply for permission.

However, the Letter by Mr. Talasasa was in breach of the court order, it was revealed.

Mr. Paul was arrested by Police for undermining and challenging the court order issued by the Sheriff of the High Court. He declined to move out of the property following the court order.

Mr. Paul remains in custody while Mr. Talasasa was bailed on Sunday.

They are expected to face the court soon.

Both the Gizo Acting Provincial Police Commandment (PPC) and Police Prosecutor were unavailable for comments, Sunday.

Meanwhile, demolition work on properties within the KHY Seafront has commenced over the weekend.

The demolition exercise has received a negative and hostile reception from members of the public and property owners.

As a result, the Police and the Police Rapid Response Unit (PRU) were called in to provide security.