Honiara’s seafront is something of a dilemma where those who owned the land (registered land) see their ownership stops at the high-watermark whilst the seabed is owned by a different person or persons and it has caused problems and was evident in the delay of national developments. For instance, the government had negotiated for a long period of time and had to pay a substantial amount of money to the owner of the sea-bed just for the undersea cable to land at SMI some years ago. It was just a corridor pathway sufficiently for the cable to run through. Currently, the biggest oil providers South Pacific Oil though acquired land in full for its relocation at Ranadi some years ago but didn’t have the right to run its pipe through to the shoreline into its tankers on-shore. This was after the Ministry of Lands had subdivided the land when it sold it to SPO –blocking their access to the sea.
So they are currently negotiating with the same owner for just a corridor to allow for the pipeline connecting from fuel tankers to their tanks on site. The negotiation started in 2011.
Given this dilemma and many others, the government says it is currently working on a legislation to have that changed.
Secretary to the Prime Minister Dr Jimmy Rodgers said there are quite a number of developments that are held up due to the same issue of ownership of seabed.
He said there is a bill being drafted and should go to Parliament soon that tries to address the area.
“We need to unlock it. Because it is seen as certain people are holding others to ransom,” he said.
Dr. Rodgers said in most countries water below the high water mark is not registered.
However, in Solomon Islands it is registered. Dr Rodgers said the question is whether that is legal or not and that is what the bill will deal with.
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