The Solomon Islands Indigenous People Human Rights Advocacy Association (SIIPHRA) has defended the recent call by the Tandai Landowners Association and Guadalcanal Province for any developers of the Honiara seafront and high water marks to consult them before any development.
President of the Association, Moses Ramo told SIBC News it is legal for both the Association and Guadalcanal Province to claim legal rights over the disputed areas as they are customary land.
“It’s right to talk about it and it’s about time that we also put things right and I would like to say that they are building on it and from my view as well as legally, they are trespassing because from the map I have with me, the lands allocated by the Ministry of Lands has allocated never reached the high water mark, and when you talk about the high water marks, they belong the resource owners and indegenous people of Guadalcanal.”
Meanwhile, Paul Lasi, a member of the Tandai tribal landowners calls on the Tandai Landowners Association to actively monitor all land dealings relating to seafronts and high water marks within the Honiara City boundary.
Mr Lasi told SIBC News this is the mandated role of the association to benefit the tribal landowners.
He says if the recent land dealings resulted from failure by the association to perform its mandated role, then its formation would be meaningless.
“And I would like to ask the Tandai Landowners Association if they have detailed information as to who or how many people have bought land encrouched into the high water mark. They should have these records if they are responsible for looking after the land of the people of Tandai. If not, because some of their members themselves are selling these lands and if the Tandai Landowners Association has failed to catch these members, then I think it should not exist.”