Premier Sade wants mechanisms to govern Mamara city
By EDDIE OSIFELO
GUADALCANAL Premier, Francis Mbelande Sade wants to see mechanisms in place and enforced over the new Mamara City on North West Guadalcanal.
He said this is to guide the multi-million-dollar project which can pose potential economic, social, environmental and cultural impacts.
Speaking at the official launch of the project yesterday, Premier Sade said first, the potential environmental impact on the Mamara-Tasivarongo area.
“I am aware that an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was carried out.
“It is vital that the developer and the national government ensure that the issues highlighted in the EIA are addressed. We have seen the negative environmental impacts that Honiara has produced and do not want to see it repeated here,” he said.
Secondly, Premier Sade said the national government and the Developer must ensure there is a Social Impact Assessment (SIA) study to ensure they reduce the potential negative social impacts this development could have on this part of the island in particular, and the province more generally.
“Such a study should include culturally appropriate protocols for engaging with Guadalcanal people and a respect for the values inherent in those cultures.
“This means that, regardless of the legal status of the land on which the ‘Mamara New Capital City’ is, the communities, elders and knowledge leaders in the surrounding areas must be, not only consulted, but meaningfully included,” he said.
“Such an involvement could, for example, include the establishment of a Community Citizens Forum for the ‘Mamara New Capital City’ that is co-chaired by a community leader and the developer, and includes the Guadalcanal Provincial Government and national government,” he added.
Premier Sade said third, the national government and the Metropolis Pacific Pty Ltd must consult and include the Guadalcanal Provincial Government in the decision-making processes and in ensuring fair and equitable benefits from this project.
He said there is a need to include the Guadalcanal Provincial Planning and Development Board in discussions and decision-making processes.
“In order to solve this, Guadalcanal Province must not be NOT hindered by clause 12 of the Agreement signed between the SIG and the Developer regarding the imposition of property rates over the Mamara-Tasivarongo-Mavo Development area.
“Furthermore, Guadalcanal Province must benefit from rental payments as provided for under Clause 12 of the Mamara-Tasivarongo-Mavo Development Agreement Act 1997,” he said.
Premier Sade said fourth, the Mamara-Tasivarongo-Mavo Development Council must be inclusive as much as possible.
It should include the following:
- The Member of Parliament for North-West Guadalcanal constituency;
- A representative of the Guadalcanal Provincial Government; and,
- A representative of the surrounding communities.
Premier Sade said fifth, last year, prior to the re-settlement of the Guadalcanal people who once lived in this area, “I’ve raised a concern about the need to ensure that this development creates employment opportunities for Guadalcanal people in the surrounding areas.”
He said this is not only about creating economic opportunities, but also a social safety net in which the people in these areas feel part of the development and that the government is listening to their needs.
Moreover, Premier Sade said this is the right time for the national government to implement the re-integration of ex-combatants in the area.
“Creating and securing jobs for our men who have been affected by the conflict,” he said.
Premier Sade said sixth, there is a need to ensure that any foreshore developments such as wharves and jetties must recognize customary rights.
“Consequently, before any foreshore development occurs, the Solomon Islands Government and Developer must first consult customary landowners and follow due processes as stipulated by the Lands and Titles Act and other relevant statutes.
“The issues that I have highlighted must not be taken as a negative response to this magnificent development. Rather, they are comments meant to ensure that such developments benefit our people,” he said.
Premier Sade said it is important that “our people are central to, rather than at the economic and social margins of urban centres.
“An inclusive, environmentally clean, and economically affordable city, is a peaceful and beautiful city,” he added.