By Mike Puia
THE Tandai Tribal Land Association (TTLA) has boycotted a land census hearing called by the Valumamata Ghaobata Tribal Chief Association in Honiara yesterday.
This was not the expected beginning to the weeklong meeting, which is held at the Rove police ground – TTLA walking out on day one.
TTLA presented a chupu to the Valumamata Association then announced its decision not to participate in the hearing. The announcement was tense. Assistant Commissioner of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force, Gwen Ratu was at the scene trying to calm the people.
TTLA representative, Benjamin Gerebuana, said they have respectfully walked out of the hearing because it appears the Valumamata Association had called the hearing without following Guadalcanal custom.
“The chupu [Guadalcanal traditional gift] we present to the Valumamata Association is to tell them that the Tandai Association will not participate in the hearing.
“We expect the Valumamata Association to recognise that it is subject under TTLA,” Mr Gerebuana said.
He said Valumamata Association should have applied to TTLA seeking permission to be allowed to call the meeting.
A Guadalcanal provincial assembly member, John Nano, who is also a member of the TTLA, said Valumamata Association is new compared to the TTLA which was registered in 1996.
Nano said Valumamata Association had called the hearing because it wanted to also get a share from royalty money the national government had paid to landowners for the use of Kongulai water source.
The water source is within Tautu land. TTLA claim ownership of most Tautu land, which also covers Honiara city.
Nano said TTLA has been instructed that there is a case pending in court over the land the Valumamata Association wanted to conduct a census hearing over, which is not right in law.
He said the Valumamata Association has to display Guadalcanal custom and also get approval from TTLA before it can successfully do what it wants in Tautu land.
Nano added TTLA is a recognised association in the province.
Other tribal groups from Malango, Sahalu, Ghaobata and others.