01 May 2021
Premier of Guadalcanal Francis Sade, delivering his speech.

WHILE appreciating the Mamara-Tasivarongo-Mavo Development project it is also important to be conscious of both the positive and negative impacts of such a development.

And to ensure that it is inclusive and does not reproduce that challenges that we have seen with Honiara.

Guadalcanal Premier Francis Sade reminding the national government, the developer and other stakeholders when he delivered his speech at the launching of the Mamara- Tasivarongo- Mavo development project on Friday.

“Guadalcanal Province is proud of its track record of hosting national development projects. The province has benefited from some of these projects more than others. 

“Consequently, with a development such as this, we are cognizant of its potential economic, social, environmental and cultural impacts. 

“It is therefore important to put in place and enforce mechanisms that will mitigate, if not alleviate, the negative impacts,” Sade said. 

He further took the opportunity to highlight some of these concerns. 

First, the potential environmental impact on the Mamara-Tasivarongo area. 

“I am aware that an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was carried out. It is vital that the developer and the national government ensure that the issues highlighted in the EIA are addressed. 

“We have seen the negative environmental impacts that Honiara has produced and do not want to see it repeated here,” he said.

Second, Sade said the national government and the Developer must ensure there is a Social Impact Assessment (SIA) study to ensure that we reduce the potential negative social impacts that this development could have on this part of the island in particular, and the province more generally. 

He added that such a study should include culturally appropriate protocols for engaging with Guadalcanal people and a respect for the values inherent in those cultures. 

“This means that, regardless of the legal status of the land on which the ‘Mamara New Capital City’ is, the communities, elders and knowledge leaders in the surrounding areas must be, not only consulted, but meaningfully included. 

“Such an involvement could, for example, include the establishment of a Community Citizens Forum for the ‘Mamara New Capital City’ that is co-chaired by a community leader and the developer, and includes the Guadalcanal Provincial Government and national government,” Sade added. 

Third, Sade said the national government and the Metropolis Pacific Pty Ltd must consult and include the Guadalcanal Provincial Government in the decision-making processes and in ensuring fair and equitable benefits from this project. 

He said that there is a need to include the Guadalcanal Provincial Planning and Development Board in discussions and decision-making processes. 

“In order to solve this, Guadalcanal Province must not be NOT hindered by clause 12 of the Agreement signed between the SIG and the Developer regarding the imposition of property rates over the Mamara-Tasivarongo-Mavo Development area. 

“Furthermore, Guadalcanal Province must benefit from rental payments as provided for under Clause 12 of the Mamara-Tasivarongo-Mavo Development Agreement Act 1997,” he added.

Fourth, the Mamara-Tasivarongo-Mavo Development Council, Sade said he want to ensure that the Board must be inclusive as much as possible. It should include the following: 

- The Member of Parliament for North-West Guadalcanal constituency;

- A representative of the Guadalcanal Provincial Government; and, 

- A representative of the surrounding communities.

On the fifth concern Sade said, last year, prior to the re-settlement of the Guadalcanal people who once lived in this area, he had raised a concern about the need to ensure that this development creates employment opportunities for Guadalcanal people in the surrounding areas. 

“This is not only about creating economic opportunities, but also a social safety net in which the people in these areas feel part of the development and that the government is listening to their needs. 

“Moreover, this is the right time for the national government to implement the re-integration of ex-combatants in the area. 

“Creating and securing jobs for our men who have been affected by the conflict,” Sade said.  

Finally Sade said there is a need to ensure that any foreshore developments such as wharves and jetties must recognize customary rights. 

“Consequently, before any foreshore development occurs, the Solomon Islands Government and Developer must first consult customary landowners and follow due processes as stipulated by the Lands and Titles Act and other relevant statutes.

“The issues that I have highlighted must not be taken as a negative response to this magnificent development. Rather, they are comments meant to ensure that such development benefits our people. 

“It is important that our people are central to, rather than at the economic and social margins of urban centres. 

“An inclusive, environmentally clean, and economically affordable city, is a peaceful and beautiful city,” Sade said as a reminder to the government and the developer, Friday.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said at the start of his keynote address that, “Premier we heard you loud and clear.”

Newsroom Honiara