Dear Editor – I wish to comment on the Ten Steps for Successful Land Reform stated by McDonnell published on your paper on the 27th of August 2015.
As an indigenous Solomon Islander and with a Melanesian background, I believe the Ten Steps mentioned is probably not applicable for the society like Solomon Islands at this point of time.
According to my point of view, these 10 steps would be placed the 100th step for a successful land reform in a Nation like Solomon Islands
First we need to change the mind-set of the creatures whom GOD has given them the authority to manage and look after the Land and those He had given them the knowledge to formulate legal framework.
Significantly EDUCATION is the key for changing the mind set of Solomon Island people from all walks of life.
Without education, nobody will understand the consultation as mention by Ms McDonnell.
Usually, misunderstanding and misconception is inevitable in such a situation and in a society where literacy level is low and where the GAP between Educated and non-educated is so high.
Traditionally, debate is not really the best means in dealing with Land Reform in this country, because it’s about majority and not the sound decision which could completely represent the uneducated landowners’ best interest.
Without EDUCATION clear policy vision will not be developed.
Without EDUCATION development of new models will not be initiated.
Without EDUCATION development of new laws will not be done.
The Ten Steps stated are not new.
Even a high school Solomon Islander can tell. The only problem in Solomon Islands is where to start to eliminated and integrate the diverse mind-sets of these people, so that majority of the population see the Land Reform Issue at the same direction and angle.
Seriously speaking Solomon Islands is scattered in terms of geographical locations, ideologies, way of doing things and how decision is been made within our societies especially through the common system of patrilineal and matrilineal.
So therefore when a society or a nation is not unified, you cannot just integrate and consolidate their mind-set under one umbrella and drive them to reform.
Education is the only magnesium whereby possibility I think would help to unify this diverse country into a central governing body of which we will oversee the development of the livelihood of its citizen.
Education would be the first and the undisputed step to take on board before any other mentioned steps is considered.
When everyone is educated, reform and development will flourish and would not take a decade.
If you want Land Reform to be successful in the Solomon Islands, please come with funds for scholarship as much as you can and that scholarship to be related to land and how to maximize the optimum return of it.