THOUSANDS of people living far west of Guadalcanal will be cut off from the city if the government fails to pay-up $1.6 million by tomorrow.
That’s after landowners who hold the Perpetual Estate (PE) title of the land the bridge was built threatened to close it unless the payment is settled.
A notice issued by Global Lawyers on behalf of Daniel Kikile has already been furnished to the Commissioner of Lands, the Prime Minister’s Office, and other parties.
The seven-day notice, issued Wednesday last week, gave the government until tomorrow to respond.
A spokesman for Lakuli Tribe said the government promised the landowner when the new Tamboko bridge was constructed that damages caused to properties will be compensated.
“Numerous attempts since 2010 to get the government to pay were futile. The government instead told us to find someone to value the cost of the damage before they can pay-up,” the spokesman said.
“We did engage a valuer who identified the cost of the damage. We put to the Ministry of Lands the report but they still failed to pay up.”
The spokesman said recent attempts to sort the matter failed to proceed due to noncooperation by the government.
“This is a one-off payment the government promised to meet. In good faith, we allow the construction to continue because we see the importance for the construction to continue and believe that the government will live up to its promise.
“What we have been getting in return for the promise was disregard from the government.
“The government must know that the land is ours and we can cut off access at anytime. We are going to do that as of tomorrow as our lawyers have already issued a seven-day notice on our behalf.”
Comments are being sought from the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Lands, who was not available for comments when the Solomon Star contacted him yesterday.
Tamboko bridge was built as part of a $106 million infrastructure project on Guadalcanal co-funded by Asian Development Bank (ADB), Australia, New Zealand, European Union and the Government.
Under the project, 18 bridges were built, including the maintenance of about 47 km road of which 17 km was tar-sealed.
By EDNAL PALMER