POLICE in the Makira Ulawa province have successfully mediated a long standing land issue between a logging company and landowners during a meeting held on January 23 at Kirakira.
The long standing land issue involves a logging company currently conducting logging operations on disputed customary land in Central Makira.
During the meeting, Chaired by the Provincial Police Commander (PPC), Makira Ulawa Province, Superintendent, Peter Sitai, the tribal leaders with representatives of the company to resolve:
- The road block by landowners be lifted as of January 23, 2018,
- Through a new agreement to be drafted by all the parties and signed within five days as from January 24, 2018.
PPC Superintendent Peter Sitai explains, “Some members of the land owning groups of the Beana customary land in the Central Makira Constituency were not happy with the initial plan to allow one single tribal member to sign on behalf of the different tribes. The disagreement had led to some of the landowners frequently erecting road blocks preventing the company’s operations to continue.
“The police is mandated by law and has a role to play in any dispute and this is to mediate, ensuring the dispute is resolved amicably.
The outcome of the mediation meeting has been welcomed by the logging and land owners.
The company’s operations will now continue as all the parties implement what was agreed on during the meeting in Kirakira.
Sitai says, “The police is neutral and does not in any way take sides with any of the disputing parties.
“I appeal to landowning groups in the Makira-Ulawa Province to think about the benefits and the side effects of logging operations or any other business before signing any agreements because if these things are not planned properly then it will lead to disputes within families and communities.”