17 Jul 2006

Solomon Islands Ministry of Lands and Survey tackles squatter problem

10:07 am on 17 July 2006


The Solomon Islands Ministry of Lands and Survey is encouraging illegal squatters living on government land to come forward and register for temporary occupation licenses.

A recent government survey of Honiara shows that about 17,000 of its 50,000 residents are illegal squatters on Government land.

Unauthorised settlement is growing at a rate of 26-percent a year, forcing the government to consider legalising squatters' occupation of government land.

The Ministry's director of Physical Planning, Harry Waitara, says he's had a positive response from squatters coming forward so far.

Mr Waitara says people who fail to pay for the government land they occupy risk losing their settlements.

"You've got to pay for the land that you develop with within such a time. And at the expiry of that time, if they don't respond then we put it out on tender or whatever so that others who have the money can pay for those. So it's putting them in the legal playing field.