Dear Editor – It is my humble view that Tandai Landowners should shelf the negotiations and think of better deals which will give them a win- win conclusion.
Tandai Landowners have since early Planters settled in with purchasing their lands with goods and English pounds with peanut values to today’s land values in Solomon Islands have gained nothing from the government in recognising their kindness in hosting the country’s national capital.
The same also applies to land in all the provincial capitals.
There is no government nor a Prime Minister since independence that recognised this good gesture from the Tandai landowners and landowners east of Lungga river.
In year 2000 when the Guadalcanal Provincial Executive received the SIG bounced cheque, the late Prime Minister Bartholomew Ulufaalu made a suggestion to us in the Prime Minister’s office, Cabinet room.
“It is my government’s intention to enact a legislation for the rental of the Honiara town land based on the population census figure on a fixed rate.”
He was to introduce this legislation had he not been arrested sooner than he had expected.
My personal advice to the Landowners is this.
The Landowners should press on for an Act of Parliament to legalise both the Honiara city land and all provincial headquarters land to be rented by the Solomon Islands government.
The rental should be based on the current values of the properties within the city boundary and provincial town boundaries.
The proceeds will be paid to the landowners, the city and town councils and the provinces. The shares will be 50% to the Landowners, 25% to the city and town council and 25% to the provinces.
Properties located outside of the city and town boundaries shall be paid to the respective provinces if the land is alienated like in Honiara and to landowners if the squatters encroached into customary lands.
National airports/airfields should pay landowners a fixed percentage of all ticket sales. For example for Henderson Airport Guadalcanal will claim 1% of all ticket sales. Gwaunaru’u airfield the same percentage paid to the landowners from ticket sales.
The valuable benefit of the above will see these improvements.
Those who own more land and properties in Honiara and other urban centres will pay the cost.
Expatriates who own huge plots of land in Honiara and other provincial centres must pay the price. You own more pay more to the government.
A new land rate will be introduced and legislated so that those who take properties by fluke and own more land will not escape.
The SIG will in its effort to find money to pay the rentals will introduce head tax on all city residents. This will see a fair deal for the urban centre working population who bear the burdens of paying basic rates on behalf of the majority of the population who reside at no costs.
It is most likely that the new land rate and compulsory basic rates payments will force many city residents to return to the provinces because they cannot afford the price thus giving the urban centres planning board to plan the development of the city and towns properly.
Law and order will improve because the central government and city councils are in control.
The foundation of all the above arguments is UNITY. Where is unity when landowners are strangers in their own soil?
How many Tandai landowners own land and properties in Auki, Kirakiara, Lata, Buala, Tulagi, Gizo,Noro and Choiseul Bay?
And here we are swarming into their land without any single considerations including the government.
Tandai landowners you need to think a little more and analyse how much you have been robbed all these years before you accept any proposals from the government to shift the boundary.
My advice is “no legislation on Honiara city rental, no boundary shift.”