9 Jan 2006

Solomon landowners launch legal action to claim land where airport and RAMSI are based

2:35 pm on 9 January 2006

In Solomon Islands, landowners on Guadalcanal are taking legal action to reclaim two areas of land.

The government says the commissioner of lands transferred the title of Lungga and Tenaru lands without proper consultation when the lease expired in 1974.

Through the Malango House of chiefs, Lungga and Tenaru landowners are now starting legal procedures to reclaim it.

A local trust says commercial activities within Lungga and Tenaru should be reserved for indigenous Guadalacanal and Solomon Islanders, and have the consent of the House of Chiefs.

The international airport, RAMSI headquarters and a top hotel could be affected by the action.

Dorothy Wickham reports.

"The trust board, which represents the house of chiefs of Malango and a few other tribes is claiming that their legal procedures will be looking at how RIPEL Solomons which leased lands from the landowners in 1974, did not consult properly when they renewed the lease which expired in the 1970s. The landowning groups are now claiming that all investors in the area must consult the trust board and landowning tribes before any other speculation takes place in this area. Dorothy Wickham, for RNZI in Honiara."