The issue at the centre of this problem occurred in June this year where families residing at a building inside the government land earmarked for the national aquaculture centre were subjected to intimidation and harassment by members of communities at Aruligo.
The families were forcefully removed and the building dismantled.
Speaking on the occasion, Under Secretary Corporate Services Patterson Lusi who delivered the speech on behalf of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources reiterated the ministry’s commitment to settle the issue because those families were living inside the project site.
Commentators following the issue in the social media had blamed the Ministry of Fisheries for the inhuman treatment of the five families.
The Ministry of Fisheries has all along denied its involvement in the issue.
However, it (MFMR) believes in peaceful co-existence and following consultations with the families affected it was decided that the way forward is to settle the issue with the giving of chuppu.
Lusi told the families and those that had gathered for the presentation ceremony that the Ministry of Fisheries was sudden to learn about the issue in the media and the chuppu presentation showed its commitment to resolve it once for all.
“The success of this event is built from collective decisions made through series of broad meetings continuously held with concerned parties (victims, communities, Police, Guadalcanal Province, the peace office and others),” he said.
Premier of Guadalcanal Province Francis Sade fully supported the initiative to settle this issue with the presentation of chuppu in one of the meetings he attended.
The Under Secretary Corporate Services Lusi revealed that his ministry is committing resources for this important ceremony because it wants to continue to uphold peace, respect human values, restoring togetherness and inform the families residing in the vicinity of the project to vacate the area and allow work on the project to continue smoothly.
Additionally, Lusi urged communities at Aruligo to follow formal processes of reporting issues if they encounter similar problems in the future.
“If you encounter similar issue in the future in relation to this project, you report it to the Provincial Fisheries officer who is mandated to look after fisheries development and affairs within the province, or if it is urgent, and require immediate action then report direct to MFMR main office,” he said.
Lusi stressed that for the project to work, all stakeholders must work together and recognise its (project) importance as an alternative opportunity to the livelihood of the people there and recognised that they will be the immediate beneficiary of this project.
Those who attended the ceremony included representative from the Ministry of Fisheries, Tandai chiefs, police, Guadalcanal Peace office, community representatives and the victims.
At the end of the ceremony, the victims and their families shook hands with those from the community which demonstrated they accepted the “Na Sore” chuppu and that they will comply by moving out from the vicinity of the project.
– By Francis Pituvaka,
Ministry of Fisheries and Marines Resources