29 Apr 2016

New land laws give Solomons government more power

1:43 pm on 29 April 2016
The National Parliament of Solomon Islands in Honiara.

The National Parliament of Solomon Islands in Honiara. Photo: RNZ Koroi Hawkins

New land laws passed in Solomon Islands this week have given the government powers to repossess registered land for public purposes.

The Land and Titles (Amendment) Act is part of ongoing reforms to enhance national development programmes.

The Minister for Land Housing and Survey, Moses Garu, said the Act specifically targets fixed-term estates owned by foreign individuals and companies that were automatically converted at the time of independence.

The opposition leader Jeremiah Manele said the amenment was long overdue, while the leader of the independents Dr Derek Sikua said he hoped the legislation would help resolve other land issues in the country relating to internal migration and illegal settlers.

Other bills to be tabled during the currrent session of parliament will seek to establish higher penalties for sexual offending, give police powers to begin alcohol testing and protect whistleblowers and establish an independent commission against corruption.