13 Aug 2010

Easier foreign access to land in Vanuatu will hurt locals - Women's leader

1:44 pm on 13 August 2010

The president of Vanuatu's National Council of Women says future generations will miss out if the government moves to allow foreigners easier access to customary land.

Efate's chiefs say 80 percent of customary land where the capital Port Vila is sited, has been sold to foreigners.

The new Land bill, expected to allow easier foreign access, is due to be signed off by the President.

Manina Packete, who is also on the National Lands Steering Committee, says she's worried that eventually ni-Vanuatu will lose their rights to use customary lands as they wish.

She says without land, locals will struggle to make a living or build a home and this is a huge worry.

"Its all about money and power and our people are taking advantage of this and they are selling out the rights of our people. So it is one of our concerns that we women we have all the daily activities to look after the children and the future generations to come."

Vanuatu's National Council of Women's Manina Packete