VANUATU YOUTH CONCERNED ABOUT LAND GIVEAWAYS

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Boom in sales raises concern for future

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Vanuatu Daily Post, Nov. 3, 2010) – Young people in Vanuatu are concerned about what their future would be if this land boom continues.

Youth from Efate and the outer islands have raised their grave concerns over this high sale of land in an interview with them concerning this issue. They believed that if this business of giving away the land continues, they would be the ones facing a disastrous life in the future.

"Our parents, grand parents and community leaders must also consider the youth while leasing the land and pay in mind where their children and grand children would live and plant their gardens in the future. We don’t want to be strangers in our own land."

The 25 years old man who wish to remain anonymous said the youth in their community have realized that there would be shortage of land in the near future as the population is growing but the land is not as noted in last week’s article, "the high rate of teenage pregnancy."

"I’ve heard all along that most people argued that we should say land lease and not "land sale". Well, is there any difference? If you give away your land to an investor, do you think you’re able to take it back? Who in Vanuatu has enough money to compensate an investor for the developments they have put up on their land?"

Another young man from a community on Efate who also wish not to be named said the lease of land within rural Efate and Santo has been "freeze" or put on hold but there are certain decisions made concerning land that they have now regret, such as registration of land.

Agnes David from Malekula has also raised her concern saying now that they have "freeze" land lease on Efate and Santo, it is likely that this activity might move on to our beautiful shores in other provinces.

She said Ni-Vanuatu’s must be alert on these issues to safe guard their land for future generations. She stressed that it is a far cry for youth to see the land been given away to investors for development that would have side effects to Ni-Vanuatu’s in the near future.

Land to Ni-Vanuatu is everything they have; it embodies their link to their past, their present and their future. It contains everything they do in life that is their daily interactions and their beliefs.

It is something that ni-Vanuatu cannot separate from their lives. Land is always linked to people and to communities. Land is part of the web of life that holds together custom, history and the beliefs of each person in a community.

Land has played a special role in the lives of the people of Vanuatu since historical times until the present. For this reason, ni-Vanuatu view land differently from other people around the world. As the first minister of lands in Vanuatu, Sethy Regenvanu has stated, "Land to ni-Vanuatu is what a mother is to a baby."

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