Public forum highlights customary land issues

By Adel Fruean ,

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Customary Lands Advisory Commission representative, Tusani Iosefatu Reti.

Customary Lands Advisory Commission representative, Tusani Iosefatu Reti.

Customary land issues and economic benefits of customary lands were the highlights of a public forum yesterday.

The forum was part of the commemoration of the Land and Soil week that was opened on Monday by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (M.N.R.E.). 

A member of the public asked whether there is a law that protects family members who have lived and worked the land for so many years from the power and full authority of a high chief. 

Customary Lands Advisory Commission representative, Tusani Iosefatu Reti addressed the query saying these issues should be resolved within families. They should meet to sort out issues before they make final decisions.

“The Government is currently conducting thorough discussions based on forming a law to set the record straight on what is the actual definition of the full authority of a high chief because if we refer to the Law for Leasing Customary Lands 1965, we tend to question where is the exact limitation for the authority of the high chief,” he said.

Also part of the programme was the Land Management Services launch at Malaefatu National Park and Reserve, Sogi. 

M.N.R.E. Chief Executive Officer, Ulu Bismarck said as part of the land and soil week commemoration, they also offer a chance for the public to voice their concerns regarding the services provided. 

“Today (yesterday) is dedicated to a good exchange with the community for complete awareness on the services provided by the Ministry in regards to land management across all services. It is the whole idea of today. You have a feel of the services we deliver, along with the Ministry catering to any queries from the public in terms of certain processes that concerns land management,” he said.

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