Malaita premier Edwin Suibaea has raised concern over the closure of the Gwounaru’u airport which affected a lot of essential services of the province.
Speaking to this paper in an interview Suibaea said the closure of the airport has caused a lot of problems especially with health services, the business sector, investor activities, tourism and general public at large.
“This is a serious problem for the provinces now that shipping services to the province is not that reliable due to the breakdown of the fast crafts servicing the province,” Suibaea said.
He added that his executive has tried its best to solve the issue of the airport but find it very difficult due to the fact the airport is on customary land.
“The problem is an internal issue between the landowning groups themselves and communities of Gwounaru’u. And my executive cannot do anything at this stage since the community of Gwounaru’u has written to the civil aviation of their disagreements over the contract allocations which resulted in the closure,” Suibaea said.
Adding, his government and the civil aviation will wait until the result of the high court case on the issue before they can be able to identify and deal with the issue accordingly.
Suibaea said it is his executive’s wish for the airport to open as soon as possible to ensure resumption of essential services that has been cut off due to the airport’s closure.
He said until the high court decision is made, Gwonaru’u airport is likely to remain close.
“But to avoid this kind of situation from repeating in the future, it is good the government purchase these assets to stop such disputes because it is causing a lot of problems to essential services, business houses, the travelling public etc.”
By Daniel Namosuaia