Pacific Arts Festival Contractors Seek PM’s Help For Payments

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Delays causing ‘hardship and misery’ to workers, families

By Jennifer Kakai

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Aug. 31, 2012) – Contractors engaged in the recent Festival of Pacific Arts are seeking the prime minister’s intervention to help them get their payments.

About 13 businesses and individuals have teamed up to rally support.

Their chairman John Walebulu said they want Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo to step in and have the issue sorted.

"We’ve already sent a letter to Mr Lilo last week seek his help," Mr Nielsen said.

"But we are yet to get his response," he added.

He said they are not asking for compensation, or handout from Government but for resources, time and energy wasted to make the festival a success.

Mr Walebulu said delays by the Festival of Pacific Arts (FOPA) organising committee not to pay them are causing hardship and misery to those concerned.

He claimed some families have gone hungry, had regular domestic violence and even experience marriage break-ups due to the financial situations they’re going through.

"This is payments we are entitled to. We are not asking compensation here. It’s only right the prime minister steps in and assist," Mr Walebulu said.

The group also engaged lawyer Philip Tegovota to pursue their payment.

Mr Tegovota had written to the prime minister reminding him the government is responsible for paying contractors engaged during the July arts festival.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister’s Office said Mr Lilo did not receive any letter from the group or their lawyer.

The spokesman added as far as they are concerned, government had already allocated funds for the FOPA organising committee who are responsible for paying contractors.

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