Dear Editor – The tide is rising; it is threatening our neighbours and our country. Some low lying islands and atolls existence are directly under threat from the unpredictable of the rising sea level as a result of climate change.
Physical erosion of some inlands seashore due to abnormal sea level rise are obvious to human eyes.
Hence, the importance of a resettlement scheme must be considered at the national level. I just hope and wish that our national leaders especially our elected provincial leaders and parliamentarians see the risk-realities that climate change poses to the lives of our coastal and low lying island dwellers.
The threat to these islands will be enormous in years to come and responsible governments should act on taking appropriate measures to avert loss of human lives unnecessarily.
The food crops and other plants, drinking water and other necessities on some of these islands are being affected due to unusual sea rise flooding their arable lands inundation, hence impacted heavily in their livelihoods. For those affected, life will never be the same again; this is a face of life.
History showed us the way forward. Our British Colonial masters who governed us for three quarter of a century (85 years) as British Solomon islands protectorate (BSIP) from 6th Oct 1893 until we attained nation hood on July 7, 1978 did a marvellous job with great wisdom namely not only the resettlement of in-Kiribati and Tuvaluans to Solomon islands in the 1950s and early 60s but to fellow Solomon islanders too.
People of Sikaiana, Lord Howe (Ontong Java) Tikopia, Reef Islands and out layers, Santa Ana, Bellona and others were part of the resettlement scheme when they were resettled to neighbouring big islands.
From their splendid philosophy, having foresight into the Solomon island foresight into the Solomon Islands foreseeable future regarding population increment (increase) and climate change has prevented overpopulation and major land disputes and tribal infighting over lands on these islands. We are indebted for their credible policy. Let that be an exemplary deed.
As we also learn from history as part of our learning process as human beings with moral abilities, can our nation than just talking about it both in parliament (locally) and on regional and international meetings and forums.
It is time to take action. Enough of paper work and repeated speeches regarding climate change. Hem taem for duim nao, problem long han nao. Naf fo tok tok nao! No more lame financial excused!
It is time to stop kidding and grow up to act truthfully and responsibly, putting efforts and acts together to move us forward. The only honourable thing to do instantly is to draft a bill, a resettlement bill and label it in parliament for deliberation to lay the foundation for its implementation constitutionally.
From there, start the process by negotiating with chiefs, people, resource and land owners and respective provincial government leaders where resettlement schemes are to be taken.
I understand that there are lands still owned by the government or alienated lands, like the Lunga and Tenaru lands on Guadalcanal. It would be quicker to negotiate than customary land.
The government school consider negotiating with the RIPEL management, Guadalcanal Province and the rightful owning-land tribes to have some of these lands for resettlement instead of selling them to foreigners.
Tell these who are residing or dwelling illegally (intruders) on those lands to vacate or otherwise evict them if orders to vacate not complied with.
It must be understood that they would be settlers are not landlers, however the threat exerted on them by nature demands us and our government to have moral obligations and responsibilities to act with compassion, care and love to protect and save lives of our people in need of a new home (resettlement).
I know land issues are complicated and sensitive neither easier due to customary and monetary values.
In this regard, what moral responsibilities do our national leaders take in much as the impending disastrous effects of climate change in the near future. It would be faceless not to act.
Let us move with empathy to protect lives instead of expressing sympathy when lives are lost just because we miserably failed to act when we should in timely manners and as expected to save neighbours drowning in the ocean.
As human we are, there are some good-hearted people out there, who are more than willing to offer their lands to such cause.
It is only when the process is nationally initiated, meticulously and holistically taken that we see and feel the holiness of our doings as we are daily reminded in the Holy Book, “Love your neighbour as you love yourself”, Mark 12: 31.
The Holy Book requires us to have absolute unselfishness. Mathew 7: 17 and absolute love John 15: 13. So fellow Solomon islanders, especially our leaders in the highest house of the land. The message from above is clear and loud for us. Over to you Honourable Parliamentarians!
Clement Weston Fakasori