19 Oct 2004

Solomons cabinet to be briefed on land probe

2:32 pm on 19 October 2004

The Solomon Islands cabinet is expected to be briefed on the scope of a public inquiry into a land dispute in Guadalcanal.

The lands ministry is preparing draft terms of reference for a commission of inquiry to be presented to ministers next week.

The ministry's permanent secretary, Donald Kudu, is brushing aside critics who say the government is slow in seeking a resolution to the disputes.

Last month, at least one person was injured and about 30 homes were destroyed in attacks in central Guadalcanal, which were triggered by long-running tensions between traditional landowners and settlers.

Mr Kudu says the government isn't seeking a quick fix.

"I think the danger is that if you rush this commission you end up annoying a lot of people. We want to treat it in a way so that both parties - especially those ones who own land, the customary land owners, and those who we regard as settlers -are satisfied with what is going to be the outcome of these inquiries."