Wednesday, February 24, 2010

VANUATU LANDOWNERS PROTEST DEVELOPMENT

Efate projects offer little benefit to residentsBy Royson Willie

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Feb. 18, 2010) - The English saying "don’t judge a book by its cover" summarises the frustration of a man from Havannah Harbour in North Efate who told Daily Post yesterday that the colorful development in the area does not reflect the real living condition of the indigenous people there.
From Havannah Harbour in North Efate.

Timothy Kalangis who is one of the grandsons of Chief Tivate Kalangis of Utaune, or what is commonly known as Samoa Point, said news about more developments taking place in the area is of concern because currently, as custom owners they are not benefiting from the development in the area. He made this comment in the wake of reports that the government is planning on developing a mini-township in the area as well as a port-of-entry. Mr. Kalangis said his family, through chief Kalangis, was recently successful in its Land Tribunal Case that was declared about two years ago and is concerned about the rate of development taking place in the area. He said initially it was another family that allowed development to take place at Havannah mainland.

Kalangis said at first the people were included in the early stage of development but as time progressed, he said now it is only people who come in from Port Vila to work at North Efate while they have been left out.
"One of the social problems that have arisen as a result of this is young women getting pregnant with the child of those who come in to work in the construction sector then leaving them behind. "Development is a good thing but it must not make us poor. "Currently it seems this is already the case for us in Havannah because there is too much development taking up more space on the land and coastal areas which restrict movements of the people, with the resources becoming scarce. "We depend on agriculture and marine resources to sustain our living but we do not benefit at all from the current leases in the area.

The English saying "don’t judge a book by its cover" summarizes the frustration of Kalangis. "If the government is making so much noise about these developments it must consult us because I believe what is currently happening at Havannah directly contradicts the Land Summit Resolutions of 2006.
"Because there is a danger that we ni-Vanuatu may become strangers on our own land.
"The government and Shefa Province must play their part in safeguarding the interest of landowners and all ni-Vanuatu.
"By this I mean there must be a win-win situation where the developer is happy and the landowners or people in the area are happy because if only one group is happy then it is a win-lose situation which is not healthy for development. "I am one of those who is very concerned about the future of our children and I don’t want to put the future of our children at risk. "This is my first time to come to the media to raise my concern because I could no longer bear the frustration about the development that are taking place at Havannah," Kalangis said. The man who is a former member of the Vanuatu police force said he had to raise his concern because he felt he has an obligation traditionally to safeguard the future of the Havannah ni-Vanuatu children.

"The development at Havannah does not reflect the living of the indigenous people there as the reality is we are poor with difficulties to pay for school fees and other necessities in life such as a proper water supply system."
Meanwhile, Kalangis said he agrees with a recent writer in the Daily Post letters column, Mr. Trevor Hannam, that there is no space for any resort at the proposed site because currently it is a residential subdivision, not commercial. "I have seen the plans for the this proposed development and I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Hannam, which is why I said the 2006 National Land Summit resolutions must be revisited." The father of three departed yesterday for New Zealand under the RSE scheme to work for the school fees of his three children of which two are in secondary school and one in kindergarten.
Vanuatu Daily Post. http://www.dailypost.vu/ <http://www.dailypost.vu/>

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