MP Shanel Demands CBSP Inclusive Approach from Central Guadalcanal Landowners

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BY JOHN HOUANIHAU

MEMBER of Parliament for Central Guadalcanal, Honourable, Peter Shanel has demanded the Landowners of Malango and Bahomea in the Central Guadalcanal to fairly distribute the revenues received from the Tina Hydro Project’s Community Benefit Sharing Program.

The Community Benefit Sharing Program (CBSP) is designed to enhance the positive impacts of the project to the communities in the project area by the investment in basic services and infrastructure for the local communities.

After this month’s official partnership signing of the 4-year multi-million dollar Tina Hydro Development Project initiative, the Minister for Communication and Aviation, Shanel exclusively told Environment Media said the Community Benefit Sharing Project must have an inclusive approach.

He argued that only 5 out of the seven identified land-owning groups had submitted their composed acquisition process.

“There are land issues need to be addressed, so not all these words as I said I wear two hats, one for the Government and one for the Land Owners (LOs), we need to work together to make sure that nobody, no landowner is left behind, it should be an inclusive project where every community including the LOs should benefit out of it.

“Are we going to fairly distribute the development benefits to every landowning group and tribes or only certain groups will benefit from the project? That’s my concern.

“This is why I came up with a point of being inclusive, this must be inclusive for everybody, not one land-owning group or set of the tribe where they qualify under the composed acquisition to benefit, but every other tribe as well.

“So I said everybody and tribe should and must receive fair treatment, not only the group in the CBSP,” the Member of Parliament for Central Guadalcanal revealed.

He argued that the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Electrification through the Government had formed a committee to look at those landowners who were left out and that includes addressing and identifying areas that they might benefit from the project.

“The tribes that were left out have actually owned the land within the proposed site, the only issue is they did not submit their composed acquisition. That is the problem,” he said.

“I’m pleased the Ministry come up with a committee (Tina Hydro Special Committee) to look at those tribe owners that have been left out in this project – especially on what we could do for them, how we can help or recognized them and perhaps include them as part of the Tina Hydro Project’s Community Benefit Sharing Program. So that is my call.

 “Now we must come to a compromise, the government must sit with us landowners to look at the issues and address it and there are ways to address such issues,” said the Hon.

Once the Hydropower facility is operational, the CBSP programs will focus more broadly on long-term community development. As a result, the extensive benefit-sharing program will reach more than 4,000 people around Tina River or within the Malango and Bahomea in Central Guadalcanal.

Honourable, Peter Shanel highlighted that that there are worrying land issues that still exist, and what actually happened is that during the composed acquisition there are seven land-owning groups been identified.

The land acquisition process has been identified through an indigenous process and conducted by the traditional Leaders of the Project communities

Therefore, according to the land acquired and titled, all Land required by the Project is titled to the COL and the Tina Core Land Company (50% owned by LO and 50% owned by SIG).

The CBSP scheme is currently being designed to deliver 4 components:

Establishment of the CBSP Fund – to be drawn from revenues generated from the project to support investment and basic-need services, which are essential to the development of the communities throughout the lifetime of the project.

Investment in Community Infrastructure – To enable communities in the area to access electricity, good water supply, and sanitation facilities. CBSP will invest in connecting the Honiara City power grid to the communities and install good and clean water supply and sanitation facilities in targeted locations throughout the project region.

Human Resource Development – The project will also have a Human Resource Development component, including pre-employment, vocational, and technical training programs. This component will help the members of communities in the project area access the employment opportunities created by TRHDP.

Project Management, Administration, M &E of the CBSP – The Technical Assistance component supports the operation of the TRHDP PO under MMERE to finance consultants to monitor overall project implementation, prepare and periodically update a Project Operations Manual in cooperation with the other implementing entities as well as provide awareness building and training for various stakeholders.

The SBD1.5 billion and 15 Mega Watt renewable energy project on Tina River, Central Guadalcanal is a gift to the Solomon Islands and the people of Guadalcanal. The project aims to provide 65% of electricity demand for the capital Honiara by the online date of 2022 and also to help reduce pollution and generate huge employment opportunities in the region of Guadalcanal.


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