3 Aug 2005

Spat among Vanikoro communities threatens huge Solomon Islands development

3:29 pm on 3 August 2005

A spat between the Polynesian and Melanesian communities on Vanikoro island in Solomon Islands' Temotu province is threatening a huge development planned there.

An Australian backed consortium is planning investments in forestry and tourism.

Yesterday, Vanikoro politician Ben Fono resigned from the provincial government in protest at the lack of consultation with some on the island.

He says the government has only been negotiating with 3 of the 8 villages and those left out form the Polynesian community on Vanikoro.

"Everyone living at Vanikoro must be included regardless of whether they are Polynesian, Melanesian or white - they must be part of the negotiation."

But the provincial premier, Johnson Levella, says he had already told Mr Fono of his plans for a committee involving a wider group of people, including the Polynesians.

They would have representatives in there and this working committee would work as a body to consult and liaise with the directors of the company which has been formed and legally incorporated, to look at any other issue that might have negative implications on the development.''