Opposition Leader as AG agreed to Act strengthening protection of customary land – but now wants to remove those protections

Dispute over Vanuatu customary land. Photo © 2016 Vanuatu Daily Digest, all rights reserved

One of the Bills to be brought before Parliament next Monday is a Bill to repeal the Customary Land Management Act of 2013. It is described as a Private Member’s Bill. It was, however, lodged by the Leader of the Opposition, Ishmael Kalsakau, who was Attorney-General at the time the Bill was first enacted. The explanatory note regarding the Bill to Repeal, which has not been readily obtainable, claims that the Customary Land Management Act of 2013 fails to enhance the application of the constitutional rule by enabling customary institutions to deal with disputes over land owned in accordance with the customary law of each particular place. The Leader of the Opposition has opposition backbencher support for his present campaign against the three-year old legislation.

A great deal of consultation took place to ensure that every means would be found to enable the Custom Land Management Act to ensure all proper customary rules were complied with, as the Honourable MP would be aware; after all, he was the AG originally enabled this legislation – and now wants repealed.

The Customary Land Management Act was enacted to provide greater protection to customary lands against improper land dealings, by ensuring that all dealings affecting customary land involved community consultation at the nakamal level.

Kalsakau has not been available for comment (he is overseas), but a spokesman said Read the rest of this entry »