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No other way

Maciu Malo
Friday, December 14, 2012

"NO other way but to move," says Commission Western Commander Joeli Cawaki when asked of the future of defiant Navutu squatters.

Cdr Cawaki was reacting to comments made by Navutu settlement spokesman Suliasi Koroi that they would not move from Navutu despite a request by Local Government Minister Colonel Samuela Saumatua last week.

The Commissioner Western said the Navutu area was a designated industrial area and plans were in place for some time for its development.

He said it was imperative that settlers move for the benefit of the economy.

Cdr Cawaki said the majority of the squatters were relocated and in fairness to all the settlers at Navutu, the rest would have to be relocated.

"Land has been acquired at Drasa for these settlers to move there and all will have to move. There is no other way they can't continue residing there.

"Navutu is earmarked for an industrial lease and it is inappropriate to have a village amidst these industrial businesses."

According to Mr Koroi, the Navutu land was allocated to their forefathers by the government during the early years of the sugar industry under the Colonial Sugar Refinery Limited.

He said they raised their concerns with Col. Saumatua and emphasised they did not want to move from Navutu.

"This land was given to our forefathers and we will not move away from here, we have told Col. Saumatua about our intention to stay," he said.

Col. Saumatua said he would liaise with the Commissioner Western on the issue.

"The reason I went to Navutu was to hear their concerns and ascertain what exactly they want," he said.

"But since they don't want to be relocated, we will refer the case to the Commissioner Western.

"Whether they move or stay, the government will make sure that their welfare is well looked after."

Cdr Cawaki maintained his statement that all settlers would be relocated.

"The majority of descendants of the Solomon Islanders who first settled in Navutu are now living in Drasa. Government will make sure all are relocated to Drasa. We will again discuss the issue with the Local Government Ministry before visiting the settlers again."





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