The government through the Office of the Prime Minister and the ministry of lands has held a one day consultation with Guadalcanal landowners over the long standing issue of Honiara city land boundary.
The one day consultation has brought together land owning groups from Guadalcanal who have raised important issues surrounding the demarcation of the town boundary and look at other outstanding issues that needs to be addressed should there be any successive government comes into power.
Permanent secretary of lands Stanley Wale said the one day meeting is basically to look at issues of squattering, the town boundary and other related land issues that has been outstanding since independence.
Mr Wale said the meeting falls within planned activities of his ministry with the Prime Minister’s office that have seen the importance of this issue for the development and well-being of the people of this country.
“Land issue in Honiara and all over the country is a sensitive issue that needs proper consultation and cooperation of all parties and stakeholders involved to ensure there is a win-win situation for all.
“This is a government issue and it doesn’t matter which ever government comes to power as this issue has been there with past governments and this cannot be prolonged. We need to act and take active steps to try and solve this outstanding issue,” Wale said during the discussion.
He stressed that this meeting is timely as it falls in line with the new Lands and Titles Act to put things in place before enacting the Act and more so is to ensure such issues are in place and documented before the formation of the new Lands Board.
One of the land owners Doreen Maeke from the HAKA trust association said such meeting is important to give them the opportunity to raise their issues before responsible people.
She said their hope for the past years is for the government to compensate them for their land and ensure that they can equally share the benefits from any developments within the city.
“But this meeting will pave the way forward to address these outstanding issues and we hope that an amicable solution to these land issues can be reached,” Mrs Maeke said.
Meanwhile the outcome of the meeting points to landowners to form a task force and bring a report forward to the government to look at how they could address their issues.
PS Wale told the landowners that the only way forward on these issues is for land owners to form a specific taskforce that will compile a report and bring it to the government to speed up the process of addressing their concerns.
Wale said his ministry and the PMO is ready and willing to take their report forward to the new government and hope that these issues will be settled and or taken into great consideration.
Amongst other issues of discussions is for the ministry to physically demarcate the town boundary in order to stop illegal squattering that has become a major problem within and the outskirts of Honiara that is becoming a concern for land owners of Guadalcanal and the Guadalcanal provincial government.
Meanwhile there is no firm decision or outcome reached from the one day meeting but the suggestions that was put forward to form a task force has been accepted by the land owners who agreed to form one and bring forward their issues in a report to the government.
BY DANIEL NAMOSUAIA