Noro land issue

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Lands Board supports commissioner, Pari hits back clarifying misleading statements


The Land Board on Tuesday this week gave its full support to the Commissioner of Lands for taking action to forfeit Fixed Term Estates previously owned by Pari Development Company.

This relates to Small Baru sub division in Noro, Western Province.

PARI has also responded, clarifying some claims in the Lands Board statement, which it says are misleading.

Land Board Chairman Alfred Soaki said that the Board had been informed about the long and complex history of land allocation to the company in Noro.

He said due to a failure of the company to stop selling land that was under forfeiture, the Commissioner Alan McNeil had no other option but to complete the forfeiture process.

Soaki also stated that the Commissioner of Lands was locked into a binding consent order signed on the authority of the previous Commissioner, and this requires Fixed Term Estates (FTE) over certain additional parcels to be also handed to the company.

He said however that the term of the Fixed Term Estates was not set in stone by the consent order, and therefore the Board agreed to grant Fixed Term Estates for very short terms.

Given that, the company had previously held a Grant of profit for just 10 years.

Soaki said the Land Board agreed to grant Fixed Term Estates also for 10 years, minus the 2 years and 4 months that the company had the Grant of Profit before it was cancelled.

Therefore, the Fixed Term Estates would run for just seven years and eight months.

 “The Board agreed that we will only give Pari Development the absolute minimum that we are bound to give, due to the company’s failure to work cooperatively with the Commissioner of Lands and the Solomon Islands Government,” said Soaki.

Meanwhile, PARI Managing Director, Donald Bato has clarified that PARI did not sell any land as Soaki claims.

Mainly, is because about 250 people from other provinces are living on the land for many years now.

He said PARI cannot chase them out for humanity’s sake, compared to other land issues in which companies chased settlers out of their land, such as Samlimsan at Henderson and KHY in Gizo.

Therefore, PARI asked them to pay small fees to support the company pay the General Property Rates fees to the Western Provincial government.

Bato said in March this year, PARI paid about $123,464.20 to Western province (Island Sun has sighted documents supporting this).

Furthermore, Bato said the company agreed for the Land Board to return the seven parcels of land because this was stipulated in the court order in 2015.

However, he said PARI will challenge the Land Board in court for granting only seven years and eight months FTE.

Bato said according to Section 100 (1) of the Lands and Titles Act, FTE is converted to 75 years after the country gained her independence in 1978.

Moreover, Bato said the company has worked cooperatively with the Commissioner of Lands and the Solomon Islands Government to give part of PARI overlapping allotment Parcel Number 098-012-545.

He had also agreed to give 10 hectares of the land for cemetery and another five hectares of parcel 098-011-169 land near Noro-Munda road specifically for a waste dumpsite.

Also, Bato said PDCL will build and complete a road alone and inside the north- western boundary of this parcel.

He said COL will consent to the subdivision of this parcel and allow resulting parcels to be transferred, in exchange for PDCL surrendering the road parcel free of charge to SIG.