Sade wants fair and equitable benefits to GP from new city

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Premier of Guadalcanal Francis Sade in congratulating the government and the developers of the Mamara New Capital City yesterday urges both of them to must consult and include the Guadalcanal Provincial Government in the decision-making processes and in ensuring fair and equitable benefits from this project.

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Sade adds in order to solve this, Guadalcanal Province must not be NOT hindered by clause 12 of the Agreement signed between the SIG and the Developer regarding the imposition of property rates over the Mamara-Tasivarongo-Mavo Development area.

The new city was launched yesterday by the Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.

Furthermore, he states, Guadalcanal Province must benefit from rental payments as provided for under Clause 12 of the Mamara-Tasivarongo-Mavo Development Agreement Act 1997.

He also called on the developers to ensure that this development creates employment opportunities for Guadalcanal people in the surrounding areas.

“This is not only about creating economic opportunities, but also a social safety net in which the people in these areas feel part of the development and that the government is listening to their needs. Moreover, this is the right time for the national government to implement the re-integration of ex-combatants in the area. Creating and securing jobs for our men who have been affected by the conflict,” he says.

Additionally, states Premier Sade, there is a need to ensure that any foreshore developments such as wharves and jetties must recognize customary rights.

The premier underscores that consequently, before any foreshore development occurs, the Solomon Islands Government and Developer must first consult customary landowners and follow due processes as stipulated by the Lands and Titles Act and other relevant statutes.

On environment impacts, he says: “I am aware that an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was carried out. It is vital that the developer and the national government ensure that the issues highlighted in the EIA are addressed. We have seen the negative environmental impacts that Honiara has produced and do not want to see it repeated here.”

Sade adds the national government and the Developer must ensure there is a Social Impact Assessment (SIA) study to ensure that “we reduce the potential negative social impacts that this development could have on this part of the island in particular, and the province more generally.”

“Such a study should include culturally appropriate protocols for engaging with Guadalcanal people and a respect for the values inherent in those cultures. This means that, regardless of the legal status of the land on which the ‘Mamara New Capital City’ is, the communities, elders and knowledge leaders in the surrounding areas must be, not only consulted, but meaningfully included. Such an involvement could, for example, include the establishment of a Community Citizens Forum for the ‘Mamara New Capital City’ that is co-chaired by a community leader and the developer, and includes the Guadalcanal Provincial Government and national government, “ he told the gathering.

Meanwhile the premier said the issues that he highlighted must not be taken as a negative response to this magnificent development. “Rather, they are comments meant to ensure that such developments benefit our people. It is important that our people are central to, rather than at the economic and social margins of urban centres,” he states.

The ‘Mamara New Capital City’ development is the result of the Mamara-Tasivarongo-Mavo Development Agreement Act 1997, which was an agreement between the national government at that time and the Metropolis Pacific Pte Ltd.

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