As one keen to see the development of the Solomon Islands for the benefit of all its citizens, but one who is merely an outsider with a lay man’s knowledge of the complexity of local customary land ownership and tenure, I was concerned last week about a reported threat by angry landowners to the Tina hydro project and a claimed setback to the US SCALE wharf project for the southern region of Malaita Province to a land dispute.
I am imaging, like myself, many following the development news relating to the Solomon Islands are puzzled by the latest news reports of landowner concerns and disputes impeding development progress considered vital to the nation’s progress.
It was claimed in one newspaper report, in relation to the Tina River project, that Charana Tribe landowners have called for a full investigation into the administration of funding for the nation’s first hydro scheme.
In Malaita the land dispute there seems to be focused on the proposed to accommodate a wharf at Matangasi.
As has often been claimed that as 90% of customary owned land tenure has continually disturbed the economic development of the country, I would have thought that the planners, investors and developers of the Tina River Project scheme, and those involved in the wharf project earmarked in Malaita Province would have considered any likely dispute issues from the onset and possible landowner concerns adequately addressed.
Could it please be explained the background to the reported landowner concerns, and how the concerns will/are being addressed?