Auki to host major land summit in October

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By Alfred Sasako

LAND issues which have been repeatedly blamed for lack of development on Malaita over the years will be the focus of a major Land Summit to be held in Auki at the end of October.

Although a final date is yet to be decided, organisers said they expect the two-day summit to begin on October 30.

The Summit is being jointly organised by the Ministry of National Unity, Reconciliation and Peace, Provincial Government and the United Nations Peace Office.

A spokesman said the 14 national MPs from Malaita along with the 33 Malaita Provincial Assembly Members (MPAs) have been invited to attend.

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“We want them to come to the Summit to sit down and talk about land issues on Malaita,” the spokesman said.

It is understood that the convening of the Land Summit is prompted by lack of development on Malaita. In particular, the government has repeatedly used land issues as obstacles to development on the country’s most populous Province.

Many landowners have however denied this, suggesting that in many instances successive governments have engaged with the wrong people, particularly those who make false claims of ownership of land.

The October summit is expected to clear many of the land issues, paving the way for the development of major projects such as the proposed Bina Harbour International Seaport south of Auki, the Suava Bay Fish Cannery in North Malaita as well as Oil Palm development in East Malaita and Waisisi in West Are Are.

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