History of Melanesia|
Date: Sun, 19 Mar 1995 11:35:49 -0600
Sender: "NATIVE-L Aboriginal Peoples: news & information" <NATIVE-L@TAMVM1.TAMU.EDU>
Subject: Solomon Islands
Original Sender: email@example.com
* Originally by dse, 90:677/103@Pactok
* Originally to robg, 90:900/990
* Originally dated 17 Feb 1995, 14:12
Solomon Islands Logging
This week there have been two stories in the "Solomon Star" about logging of "alienated" land. Solomon Islands has a unique land tenure system, with about 90% of land being customarily owned. However in the early 1900s the British Government who were the colonial power at the time, gave various tracts of land to plantation companies such as Lever Brothers.
Two areas which were alienated are Vaghena island in Choiseul Province and Pavuvu Island in Central Province. Later in the 1960s the British resttled Gilbertese people to Solomon islands and gave them land in Vaghena. The original landowners of Vaghena are the Volaikana tribe, who still own a large area of Southern Choiseul. They are remarkably tolerant of the Gilbertese settlers who, being in effect landless, have resorted to chronic over- exploitation of saleable marine resources around Vaghena.
Now the Volaikana see that the governing Solomon Islands National Unity and Reconciliation Party under Prime Minister Solomon Mamaloni want to over- exploit land that is rightfully theirs. The governmnet have invited a foreign logging company "National Mutual Ltd" to log Vaghena. There have been no negotiations with the Volaikana or Gilbertese.
As well as not benefitting financially, the Volaikana are distressed by the potential danger to their sacred ("tambu") sites and their "canoe trees" which they travel to Vaghena to fell for dugouts. Pavuvu island is a similar story. It was given to Levers at the beginning of this century.
Recently Levers have returned the land. However instead of correcting the mistakes of the British, the present government wants to log the island before giving it back to the landowners. The foreign logging company and the government will have several million dollars to share, but what about the landowners? A few muddy roads and a clinic if they're lucky.
If you can help with these issues in any way please do so. Finances are also needed for campaigns by national environmental NGOs. Letters/faxes to the PM and Minister for Forests expresing your concern would be useful. Please copy to us. Addresses below:
Hon Prime Minister Solomon Mamaloni
Fax 677 21608
Hon Alan Kamakeza
Fax 677 21245
Development Services Exchange
PO box 556
fax 677 21339