11 Jul 2012

Allegations of non-payment of festival contractors in Solomon Islands

6:34 am on 11 July 2012

An organiser of the Doma satellite venue for the regional arts festival in Solomon Islands says all contractors have been paid, amid allegations that many of those involved in setting up the main cultural village in the capital have not.

The country that only a decade ago was experiencing serious governance issues has overcome widespread doubt about its ability to stage the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts and appears to be hosting a largely successful event.

However the failure of the opening ceremony's stage in Honiara has left the New Zealand contractors who were to provide sound and lighting out of pocket, and other local contractors who completed their work are also alleged to be awaiting payment.

But Gladys Pae, a member of the Guadalcanal venue committee, says that's not the case for the Doma contractors.

"Like those who are doing landscaping and small shopping displays, we have paid them all because we were afraid that once the funds were gone we have nothing."

Gladys Pae says a lot of festival-goers have expressed a preference for the Doma site because of its smaller size and proximity to the sea.

The Festival of Pacific Arts ends on July the 13th.