Traditional governance facilitation bill

DEAR EDITOR, Lauru Land Conference of Tribal Communities is very concerned about the tabling of the Traditional Governance Facilitation Bill that is before the parliament.

Lauru Land Conference of Tribal Community is the biggest Non-Government Organisation in Choiseul. It deals with Traditional Governance.

It is concerned because the government did not include it in their consultation in Lauru, but very selective and involved just a few chiefs that have been lured to hear just one side of what this bill is about but the implication of this bill on the power structure and traditional governance of Lauru.

In Lauru there are just over 300 tribes/clans a record that was compiled in early 1980’s.

This means that there are more than 3000 Chiefs of Tribal/Clan Heads Province.

These 300 Tribal/Clan heads must be consulted. Those heads consulted are not representative of all the heads of these Tribes/Clan but of themselves and very questionable their tribes.

Lauru Land Conference objects to this top down superimposed foreign structure.

Lauru Land Conference of Tribal Community has been working on this for 38 years and therefore the authority on Traditional Governance in Lauru has not been consulted but it is a must that it is consulted.

Lauru Land Conference strongly believes that the area of Traditional Governance should be left to the people of each province to decide.

For Lauru as may be the case for other provinces, in practice traditional governance are further divided into tribes, clans, sub-clans, villages and communities.

Lauru does not have anything in its structure that equates to the word chief. These concepts are foreign concepts and not traditional.

As we advance each clan, province, must work out what is best for them and not be imposed upon by what is in the Bill.

LLCTC asks the government to pay due respect to clans, tribes, families etc. to decide.

LLCTC asks that the bill be withdrawn, and further inclusive consultation must be carried out first, especially when the bill targets customary land.

Improving of Traditional Governance in Lauru Custom is more than what this bill is targeting Customary Land, using improving traditional governance to hide this fact.

A new nationwide structure of “chiefs” in place, will make it so easy to go around existing processes whenever that is convenient, especially for development activities on customary land.

Already the logging companies are corrupting the Chiefs that will be empowered here over the ownership of tribal land and properties, something foreign and not traditional.

The Tribes own the land and not the Chiefs. The bill needs scrutiny by the people.

LLCTC agrees with our learned lawyers’ views that rushing this bill through the parliament is very irresponsible and is bad law making legislatures of this country.

As President of Lauru Land Conference of Tribal Community I call on the Prime Minister to delay the tabling of this bill and take it back to the people for more wider inclusive consultation.

Lauru Land Conferences theme song is based on the equal participation of men and women of Lauru and this bill is the opposite and lack gender sensitivity.

Finally, in the final draft of the Federal Constitution which is now in the Office of the Constitutional Reform Unit, ready to be officially handed to the Prime Minister at its proposed ceremonial and historical event in Auki, Malaita Province, there is an authentic provision in the framework of a Community Government in every State Government.

In summary, Traditional Governance has its time, place, and customary authority in the Community Government, and to be rashly influenced by foreign interests as currently manipulated, is not only pre-empted the values of Lauru custom but is undermining the foundation of Lauru Land Conference of Tribal Community.

Rev Graham Mark

President LLCTC

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