29 Mar 2007

Political interference alleged in Solomon Islands development

1:34 pm on 29 March 2007

There are allegations that political interference is resulting in unchecked development in the Solomon Islands capital, Honiara.

A member of the Town and Country Planning Board, Justin Fo'u, says prime waterfront and beachfront land, which has been allocated for parks and open public spaces, is being built on.

He says this is despite the planning board turning down the applications from developers.

Mr Fo'u says the building occurs because the Lands Minister is overturning the board's decisions.

"I've seen a lot of unplanned building, I've seen land allocated to businesses on land that was supposed to be for a park land or a recreation area for the city. It creates, I think, a huge problem in the sense that the town is not planned. It's the people of Honiara who lose at the end of the day."

Mr Fo'u says under the board's constitution, the minister, the Reverend Lesley Boseto, has the last say.

But, he says due to the political interference, the board resigned en masse.

The Reverend Boseto was unavailable for comment.