By ISAAC NICHOLAS
WORKS Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Don Polye has halted development projects worth about K100 million in his Kandep electorate after a tribal fight claimed six lives and caused destruction to properties.
In making the bold decision, he is sending a clear message to his own people; change your ways or miss out on Government services.
Of the six people killed in the fight, four were women who were chopped to death, something which angered Mr Polye and prompted him to terminate the projects.
School children were also victims, with warriors burning down three newly constructed double classrooms.
Mr Polye said the fighting was not election-related.
It is two groups fighting after an argument over pandanus. He said both groups were his political supporters.
“This is absolutely unacceptable, especially the killing of the women and the tribal fights is right in the middle of the Asian Development Bank-funded road project,” he told reporters yesterday.
The two ADB-funded road programmes totalling more than K50 million terminated are the Kandep to Keapal road and Keapal to Laiagam road Other district service improvement programme for the district has also been suspended.
All the projects initiated in the electorate were worth about K100 million.
He said he had decided to terminate these projects until the people come to their senses.
The projects were halted after consultations with the ADB and the Works Department.
Mr Polye said other programmes that would be affected were the Kandep town road upgrading, Nassam Bridge project, feeder roads, agriculture seedling distribution centre and DSIP funded classrooms for schools.
“I am challenging my people that if they want to see services continue, they must make decision to stop tribal war.”
Mr Polye warned that he would not hesitate to do the same for areas where people continue to destroy and did not provide a conducive environment for development.
He said it was difficult to bring in these services and appealed to the people to take ownership of the law and order issues.
“We must change our attitude. We must make tough decisions to change a mindset. People who are hostile and do not appreciate services must lose out.
“I will not encourage work until my people come to their senses.”