Relocation arrangement for Lord Howe settlers stalled

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By Ezekiel Talatau

AN arrangement to have people from Lord Howe in the Malaita Outer Islands relocated to a land on West Guadalcanal appears to have been stalled.

Leaders from the low lying Polynesian atolls are not following up on this plan.

West Guadalcanal land-valuers and agents told Island Sun they are expecting some payments before the plan eventuated.

West Guadalcanal land-valuers and agents were responding to a call made by Lord Howe chiefs on the government to help relocate their people.

Lord Howe atolls are slowly going under water during to rising sea level.

At least two islands in Lord Howe have entirely gone under water. The two main islands of Luaniua and Pelau, where people live are experiencing the impact sea rise posed.

Wells where people rely on for fresh water have been contaminated by salt water and sites reserved for gardening affected by salt water.

Responding to Lord Howe’s chiefs’ call on the government, Isaac John, a land-valuer and agent from west Guadalcanal said an arrangement to allocate a site on West Guadalcanal for Lord Howe people has been made and it is the response from the Lord Howe leaders that has not forthcoming.

According to John the site allocated is about 22.4 hectares, which is a customary land and is registered under the government.

He said the government, through the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Survey and the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology, is aware of this plan.

John said decision by Lord Howe leaders to rebuild their settlement in the heart of the city stalled the plan.

He said their people still open the door to Lord Howe people.

But, he said upfront payments needs to be done before this plan happens.

John added many people have shown interest to move into the site earmarked for Lord Howe settlement but they blocked them.

He said leaders from Lord Howe must follow up on this plan as it is important for the future of their people who are threatened by climate change.

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