19 Oct 2004

Solomons public to share views on land issue

4:22 pm on 19 October 2004

Officials in Solomon Islands are canvassing the views of the general public for an upcoming Commission of Inquiry into land disputes in Guadalcanal.

At least one person was injured and about 30 homes were destroyed in attacks in central Guadalcanal last month, which were triggered by long-running tensions between traditional landowners and settlers.

The Permanent Secretary in the Lands Ministry, Donald Kudu, says a blueprint of the range of the inquiry will be in the hands of cabinet by next week.

Mr Kudu says officials are collecting views from people with different standpoints.

He says these ideas are shaping the terms of reference of the inquiry:

"The people themselves - especially the landowning groups - have stated some of their concern at how they see this commission of inquiry addressing it. And also you have lots of people writing in through letters and airing their view in newspapers. Those things are part and parcel of your public and citizen participation in this particular issue."

Mr Kudu says the government is moving slow on the matter.

He says officials have to be careful and prepare the inquiry properly.