Honiara Integrated Primary School (HIPS) administration has expressed anger over the way the Honiara City Council (HCC) Law Enforcement has forcefully demolished their only school market house.
The school is located near the Multipurpose Hall in Chinatown.
School Principal Jim Tepo who was furious over the action described the move as ‘irresponsible.’
Mr Tepo along with his teachers, students and parents stood and watched helplessly as the officers demolished their school market.
The school boss told the Solomon Star yesterday the removal of their market stall will badly affect their student as it was the only place their students can get healthy food being sold by their parents.
The school enrolled close to 1313 students and most of them are having their daily food from this market which is located within the school vicinity.
The paper was informed the officers acted upon the order from their superiors, the Lord City Mayor Andrew Mua and City Clerk Charles Kelly.
According to the letter from the City Clerk addressed to the school principal, the school administration had been notified to remove the illegal market structure which has been erected within the Council property.
The letter stated that the illegal market structure has hindered the upgrade work that has been carried out by the New Zealand Aid program currently underway at the Multi-purpose Hall.
But Mr Tepo told this paper that officers from the New Zealand High Commission office had met with the school and discussed the proposed development at the said site.
He claimed he was informed by the NZ High Commission office about the ongoing project which included the children’s park and ablution block which will be handed over soon.
He said the office further informed the school administration that other projects have been earmarked for the area, however, work will commence later this year once things are finalised.
“Thats when the school can remove the market which is like to be at the end of this year during the school holiday,” he said.
Mr Tepo said that the NZ High Commission Office understands and prioritise the children’s education and their need to buy locally cooked food sold from this said illegal market.
“So I was so surprised why HCC had to come and destroy this market stall which will affect the students. This school is operated under HCC Education Authority.
“Something must be wrong somewhere,” Mr Tepo said.
In his disappointment he said HCC should instead remove the stalls selling betel nut, smoke and other goods outside of the school compound.
Now that the market structure was ruthlessly demolished all the children will use Chinatown looking for unhealthy food and drinks, he said.
“The removal of our market will pose high risk to children when crossing the roads to look for something to eat at the shops,” Mr Tepo said.
Mr Tepo said a request was sent to the HCC office to consider the school request prior to the demolished exercise but their request was turned down.
As a result officers turned up and demolished the market stall.
Its understood most of the prominent leaders and public servants in Honiara enrolled their children in Honiara Integrated Primary School this year.
By ANDREW FANASIA