17 Oct 2013

Recommendations made to Vanuatu's Land Act

2:45 pm on 17 October 2013

More than 100 people attended a public meeting in Vanuatu to debate planned amendments to the Land Act, and have offered resolutions to it.

The Minister for Lands, Ralph Regenvanu, invited stakeholders to share their thoughts at the two-day National Land Law Reform Summit, before the bill goes to parliament next month.

Members of the public proposed 20 resolutions, including that the minister's power to sign leases on behalf of customary land owners be revoked, and that power is instead given to the village people.

Participants say that will bring more transparency in land dealings, and allow customary land owners to decide on what development is carried out on their lands.

All the islands, except Efate in central Vanuatu, welcomed the changes.

The Vaturisu island council of chiefs Efate secretary general, Willie Tapisei, says Efate needs more time to revisit the proposals.

All 20 resolutions offered will be discussed by Malfatumauri national council of chiefs before being submitted to parliament.