Solomon Star

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Nov. 12, 2009) – KONGULAI land trustees have all the right to collect rental for the use of their water source, which is supplying about 80 per cent of Honiara.

But they don’t have the right to place unwarranted demands on the Government and Solomon Islands Water Authority (SIWA) when it comes to those rental monies.

To demand an $18 million advance payment in the middle of the financial crisis is unthinkable.

Can’t the trustees think of a reasonable amount if they are truly desperate to advance some of their rental monies from the Government?

$18 million is no small amount. The Government, let alone the financially troubled SIWA, does not have that kind of money at this time to dish around.

And the Honiara population cannot be held at ransom just because some people want to advance money from the Government.

Understandably, there were previous instances the Government and SIWA failed to pay the rental when it’s due.

And this had attracted similar threats to shut down the Kongulai water source in the past.

The current situation was quite different.

Here, the land trustees want to advance $18 million. When the Government failed to respond, they turned around and issued a letter of demand.

Grant us our request or we shut down the water source.

No, the landowners can’t do that.

Honiara has already suffered enough from the lack of water supply. To shut off the water source is to add salt to a fresh wound.

There are other better and reasonable ways for the landowners to take their demand to the Government.

Shutting down the Kongulai source is not one of them.

The Government, landowners, and SIWA should sit down and talk.

An agreeable solution could be reached doing that.

But leave Kongulai alone.

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