Solomons Government looks to buy land to settle Tinge Ridge dispute

The contested Tinge Ridge area in question, adjacent to the row of houses

The Solomon Islands Government is considering buying land in the Tinge Ridge area to ease tensions over a dispute between settlers and the Hatanga company.

According to ABC’s Pacific Beat program, the Government is seriously considering the purchase of the land, sub-dividing it, and distributing it to displaced settlers and other interested parties.

The long-running land dispute came to a head last month when an excavator, along with several men carrying bars and hammers, demolished about 12 homes in Tinge Ridge.

Hatanga claimed the homes, some of which had been in the area for decades, were on the company’s land illegally, and, following a court order, were forced into the demolition action.   

Leonard Rotu, chairman of the Taskforce formed to investigate the source of the dispute, told Pacific Beat the Government, through West Honiara MP Namson Tran, was in negotiation with Hatanga to purchase some of the land.

“If the Government purchases the land, it should be subdivided and also be allocated to any citizens who wish to apply for that area,” he said.

“We are also working on a white paper, a policy to guide settlements, and if this (the plan for the Government to buy land) manages to work, this could become a model for other settlements.”

 

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