12 Nov 2009

Solomon Islands PMs sets down terms of reference for land inquiry

11:11 am on 12 November 2009

The terms of reference for a commission of inquiry into land dealings and abandoned properties on Guadalcanal have been released in Solomon Islands.

The Prime Minister, Dr Derek Sikua has set down the terms of reference, which require the commission to investigate the acquisition, occupation, and settlement of customary lands by people from other provinces.

The Solomon Times says the Commission is inviting people affected by land dealings on Guadalcanal to come forward to it.

The commission's legal counsel, Ruth Townsend, says a social mapping exercise will be conducted to help the Commission understand tribal ownership and customary practices in the province.

She says the exercise will gather information on Guadalcanal landowners and occupants of other provinces who lost land during the ethnic unrest.

Brian Brunton of Papua New Guinea is chairing the Commission, and other members include Pastor Manoa Rabuka of Fiji, and Stephen Tahi of Vanuatu.