Temotu Vatu MP Freda Tuki says she’s disappointed at the attempts by her political rivals to prevent her from establishing a growth centre on the island of Vanikoro.
Some landowners on the island prevented a barge from landing there early this month on the belief the barge was there to begin logging activities on the island.
The barge, with heavy machineries on board, subsequently turned back and was diverted to provincial capital Lata, where it is currently berthing.
But Tuki told the Sunday Star the heavy machineries were not for logging purposes but to clear the land where the growth centre will be established.
Tuki was involved in logging prior to her election into parliament in 2014.
However, she insisted the shipment to Vanikoro early this month was not to log but to start work on the growth centre.
“I am truly disappointed by my political rivals, the former MP Clay Forau, and former city mayor Andrew Mua, who are behind this,” Tuki claimed.
“Their intention is to stop me from achieving one of my development plans for Vatu constituency – that is to establish a growth centre on Vanikoro,” she added.
Tuki admitted the barge belongs to Asian loggers Ngu Brothers.
But she said she hired it to take the machineries to Vanikoro so that work on the growth centre could start.
“I’ve already got the consent of the landowners who wanted their land to be used for the growth centre.
“This was done prior to the barge leaving for Vanikoro.
“Unfortunately, some people who are against development in Vatu used some villagers on the island to turn the barge back.
“This is a set back to the proposed growth centre.”
She said she decided to resort to peaceful means by directing the barge to Lata to avoid blood-shed.
Tuki said there was no dispute over the site where the proposed growth centre is to be established.
“The only reason why the barge was not allowed to land was because some people fed the islanders with lies.
“They claimed the barge is going there to start a logging operation, which is simply not true.
“The truth is I am in the process of implementing my development plans for Temotu Vatu.
“Unfortunately, some people don’t want to see development on the island.
“They just wanted people to remain as they are. This is truly sad.”
By AATAI JOHN