The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources has categorically denied giving orders to a mob to demolish a building at the old ICLARM site at Aruligo.
A post in the Yumi Tok Tok facebook Forum by a local who resides at the vicinity of the development site Mr. Alistair Morris Pae alleged that the Ministry of Fisheries gave the go ahead to people who were involved in the demolition of the building over the weekend.
However, in a statement issued today, the Ministry of Fisheries said it did not order anyone to forcefully remove or demolish the abandoned house at Aruligo.
The alleged incident happened just a day after the ground breaking ceremony for the start of construction work on the Government owned land.
The Ministry of Fisheries has extensively consulted on the re-development of the site and has already given “Chuppu” to those communities in the vicinity.
The giving of “Chuppu” in the Guadalcanal culture signifies that any dispute or in this case the said land at which this National Aquaculture Centre is going to be built is now free, and any proposed development can go ahead.
The settlers have been formally advised, three times since 2017, that they are required to vacate the old ICLARM staff house they are occupying, to enable new construction to begin this month.
According to a community leader “the Ministry of Fisheries has done its part already during consultation, to let people living there know of its intentions and there have been a number of consultations done since 2017. Most people living there have already vacated the area while these people chose to remain despite being told to move.”
It appears that frustration about the slow eviction process may have motivated local communities to start to dismantle the house themselves.
MFMR condemns the incident that happened on Saturday and assures the communities at Aruligo that it will continue to work with community leaders and police to address the issue.