21 Dec 2011

Concern at Vanuatu land being sold without owners' knowledge

11:48 am on 21 December 2011

In Vanuatu there is an outcry from custom landowners of tiny islands that are now going on sale without prior knowledge of the owners.

Two land owners of one of the islands, Reef Island in Torba Province have travelled to Port Vila to ask the media to inform the new buyer not to invest on it as they are seeking legal advice on its sale.

Willie David and Esrom Istapas have told the Daily Post newspaper they do not know who sold their island on a 75-year lease and it was bought by an investor who is now in the process of setting up a tourism business there.

The men say they will do everything possible to stop any development on the island saying it is also the richest fishing ground in the whole of the Banks group of islands in the Northern Province.

At the same time, the Vanuatu Seventh Day Adventist Mission Secretary General, Pastor Damien Rice says its former Turtle Island in Santo has been sold to an investor for 400,000 Vanuatu Vatu.