3 Apr 2013

Yap landowners urged not to lease to Chinese company planning resort

5:30 am on 3 April 2013

Traditional landowners on Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia are being urged not to lease traditional lands to a Chinese consortium wanting to build a controversial billion dollar tourism development.

The Exhibition Tourism Group want to build a 10,000 room resort hotel with casino and golf course.

It's estimated the development could quadruple the island's annual economic output to 200 million US dollars.

A memorandum of understanding and investment agreement has already been approved, with some landowners already agreeing to long term land leases

But a native Yapese priest, Father John Hagileiram says while he supports development, he has major concerns about this one.

"The way they are signing landlease right now, they are going to have the whole island for like over 99 years and automatic renewal for another 100 years and when you look at these land lease agreements that's already been signed by landowners there are hardly any benefits for Yapese on it, it is mostly for this company."

Father John Hagileiram says the chinese company has promised numerous financial benefits and improvements to infrastructure, but he says the loss to culture, traditional lands, homes and burial sites, isn't worth it.