Work on the new Fale Fono Building at Halamahaga has stopped amidst concerns of land lease issues and a court injunction filed by opposition member Terry Coe .
BCN news was able to get a response from the Premier Sir Toke Talagi today to explain the Government’s decision on the selection of Doug the Builder DTB as the successful contractor to build the new parliament building.
Hon Terry Coe has confirmed that he has filed a court injunction to stop the work because the Government has not followed the law which requires that for any government contract which exceeds $10,000 shall be subject to public tender.
A statement from the Premier Sir Toke Talagi said that the contractor is DTB Construction Ltd and was approved by cabinet following the successful construction of both the new Swanson’s Supermarket last year and the completion of the Niue Museum (Niue Cultural Heritage Centre).
According to the Premier’s statement, the contractor was selected for both strategic and practical reasons in a selective procurement process as the preferred contractor. He says that this takes into account a proven track record in Niue of building to Niue’s requirements, with a good combination of local workforce and with investment in heavy equipment on the island.
Coe said that at a meeting on the design of the building he expressed grave concerns about the lack of Niuean symbolism in the building. He said the design or the plan of the building should be made public so the people can have a say on what it will look like
Meanwhile Sir Toke Talagi says that the Falefono is being built on crown land and while the surrounding land is subject to land lease negotiations there is no reason for the project to be delayed in terms of the actual land on which the Falefono is constructed.
BCN News has established that the lease agreement for the land where this building will be located, expired in 2018 and that the landowners have not yet agreed on a new lease agreement with the Government of Niue.