By Mike Puia
THE Malaita Ma’asina Forum has suggested to the government the need to create a Land Mobilisation Unit under the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Survey (MLHS) to deal with land issues.
Newly-elected president of the Forum, Martin Housanau, made this suggestion during a press conference in Honiara on Wednesday.
Housanau said this Unit is to work with landowners in sites earmarked for development by doing custom recording, land survey and boundary mapping.
He said the normal system of acquiring land takes time but having a Unit to work with landowners in sites that are open for development is the quick approach.
Housanau mentioned the creation of this Unit while making reference to Prime Minister Rick Hou’s speech delivered in Malaita during the province’s second appointed day.
In his speech, Prime Minister Hou called on landowners not to dispute developments that are coming to their land.
He said the government and investors are ready but once there are disputes it will only frighten them off.
Housanau said the statement made by the Prime Minister is sad and unfortunate when it comes from the head of the country and a son of Malaita.
He said there is no land issue in the province except issues with the people as there is lack of people-to-people relationship.
Housanau said there is a need to mend and strengthen people-to-people relations.
He said they see the creation of this unit as a way to help avoid disputes over land.
Housanau said there are lands available in Malaita like Auluta, Waisisi and Liwe land and landowners are ready.
He challenges the government to come out clear as to why these lands have not been developed.
Housanau said the statement by the Prime Minister that land issues stopped development in the province is a slap on the face for Malaita landowners who are still waiting on the government to develop their land.
He said Auluta land for instance has 12,000 hectares waiting to be developed.
He said it appears political interference has prevented developments earmarked for these sites from taking off.
“The government need to work with the people and not to involve politics,” Housanau added.