PRIME MINISTER, Manasseh Sogavare has highlighted the important components of the land reform when delivering his speech to officially open the summit at the FFA conference centre, Wednesday.
Land reform is one of the key priorities of the Democratic Coalition for Change (DCC) government, and Mr Sogavare said, that the summit is timely given the fact that the country is decades behind addressing the doorway for development.
He said that, with the growing issues related to customary rights over land, his government wants to achieve an effective reform that would recognize the existence of customary land tenure systems.
“…..the Democratic Coalition for change is looking at achieving a reform that would manoeuvre sensitively through the intricacies of our customary land tenure systems by recognizing their existence but coming up with a series of legal frameworks,” the PM said.
He added, the legal frameworks would recognize and regulate the important aspects of the country’s land management system without undermining the customary land tenure system, which includes;
“Ownership of land: That matter is clear in custom. The reform will involve coming up with a legal mechanism to identify and recognize owners of customary land and to settle the titles to the land on the tribe that owns them.
“Control of land: This will involve improving the current system or coming up with a new system of managing land transaction between the owners of land the state or an institution that would act as legal custodian of land on behalf of the tribal land owners and to make them available to interested developers.
“Land Usage: The reform will involve improving the current system or coming up with a new system of regulating the usage of land by users.
“Land dispute resolution mechanism: It will involve coming up with land dispute resolution mechanism that is sensitive to the intricacies of our custom land tenure system.
“A comprehensive land restitution program: This will involve a serious reconsideration of the recommendation of the ‘Decolonization and Select Committee on Lands and Mines’ on the standing policy of return of alienated land, especially tracts of alienated land that host very important national infrastructures including our urban centers, provincial headquarters and the national capital,” the PM highlighted.
Meanwhile, Mr Sogavare stated that the Solomon Islands customary land tenure system has existed since the ancient times and what the people of this nation need to do is to recognize them and make them operational by law.
By RONALD TOITO’ONA