SOLOMON Islands should not depend on aid because we have all the resources to develop and sustain the country, deputy Prime Minister Manasseh Maelanga says.
He was speaking last week at the opening of the regional symposium on land and property rights, held in Honiara.
Mr Maelanga pointed out the importance of the meeting to change people’s mindset and to think seriously about managing and looking after their land and resources properly for it is the basis of subsistence lifestyle.
“Land must be honoured, respected and cared for responsibly to ensure our children and our children’s children and future generations enjoy and sustained by the land we have,” he said.
“As a country that is literally sitting on goldmine we should not need to be reliant on overseas aid.
“Instead we need to find better ways to make our land work for us whilst we ensure it is not damaged or lost for future generations,” Mr Maelanga said.
He said it is part of the National Coalition for Rural Advancement (NCRA) government’s policy to ensure reforms in the customary land tenure system and finding the right land model that can bring maximum benefit to customary land owners.
He further stressed that sustainable development has only been spoken of by western societies over the last 25 years, but Melanesians know they belong to the land and have been good stewards for many generations.
The symposium looks into issues of property rights, climate change, land resource compensation, property trusts, lease and emerging property rights in carbon.
Mr Maelanga said Melanesians place high cultural value on land therefore it is vital this country takes a new look into land use and management to maximise its benefits.
By DANIEL NAMOSUAIA