I read this morning a story about the mataqali Naberei out of Labasa town who are stalling a project because they say the local men should be given more participation. This is usually the way of doing a project - employ some of the local men as labourers. The new bridge at Vatuadova is a current project and many of the young men of our village have been employed. This makes them proud of the local project, rather than just watch a group of other people coming in to work. So I understand the point of view of the elders of Naberei in asking for more jobs in the project for their men.
Clan stops $4m project
By THERESA RALOGAIVAU
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
A GROUP of landowners, angry that they have not been offered work, have stopped the Department of Water Supply from laying pipes on their land. The action by landowners of the mataqali Naberei of Vunikawakawa Village could jeopardise the $4million project that involves the laying of 300 75mm pipes from the Navau water source at Dogoru to the Benau treatment plant. Landowners say they are frustrated with the department for not employing some members of their mataqali in the project. Mataqali spokesman Petero Namoce said a decision to stop the laying of pipes was made by their elders at a meeting.
"Our mataqali elders said the department officials had promised to employ some of the villagers, especially when the pipe was being laid along our piece of land," Mr Namoce said. "The area our land where the pipes are to be laid covers about 10 kilometres."
"The members from other landowning units have been employed by the department and our elders just wanted the similar treatment to be afforded to our members," he said.
The divisional water engineer in the Northern Division, Sekonaia Ratu, said the project was important because it would improve the water supply to Labasa town and the immediate surrounding areas. "Right now, we have put a stop to new meter connections because we simply do not have enough supply and this project will alleviate that problem," Mr Ratu said. "It would also boost water supply to the high areas and solve a lot of the water problems we have in Labasa."
Mr Ratu said his department stopped work on December 24 for the Christmas break and would resume in January.
"We will approach the villagers then and the number of jobs we will be able to offer will depend on the budget," he said.