STRATEGIC LAND ISSUES HINDERS DEVELOPMENT ON MALAITA

A map of Malaita Province. Photo credit: SIBC.

A map of Malaita Province. Photo credit: SIBC.

The Task Force mandated for the major development projects in Malaita Province has found strategic issues relating to land as one of the factors hampering development in the province.

Task Force Committee Chair, Barnabas Henson says, his taskforce has found fundamental structural issues in relation to the authority on identified lands before development can follow.

“There are fundamental issues that need to be addressed. They are structural, without addressing these issues, for example, the issue of land and the authority on land. We will be unable to progress development or even if development happens, it will be very slow and not as expected, so how we can address this is that we have to deal with it and we have come up with a model that can be tested on Malaita in terms of resolving the issues.”

Meanwhile, the Task Force Chair says they have also discovered an important concept of land ownership in the province during their consultations.

“A very important concept which came up through our consultations is one, it is the land that owns people instead of people owning land. According to custom, land names tribes and the way land is structured according to custom connects with the ancient rituals of the province. We have shrines which demarcate the principal land boundaries going back up to the original altar of worship that the discoverer has built and through these structures, we have established that the people have a profound connection to the land.”

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