The incident at Koa Hill, problems around Burns Creek,and other unrest around squatter camps (let's call a spade a spade) that surround Honiara stem from a profound disinterest of the government to do anything about this serious social problem. These squatter camps are full of young people who have very little chance of gaining any meaningful employment, and only help to breed bored, discontented youths, many of whom get into trouble out of sheer frustration at their predicament.
The question must be asked: Why are these squatter camps allowed to flourish? Why is not the law enforced to prevent people building sub-standard housing (with sub-standard sanitation) in the areas surrounding Honiara. (Yes, this type of housing works well in villages and rural areas, but not in concentrated developments on the scale that they are around Honiara). By not paying taxes, rates etc. either, the sheer numbers of people in the squatter camps also place a large burden on public utilities and resources in and around Honiara (and on their wantoks!).
Would not the vast majority of people living in these squatter camps would be much better off back in their traditional areas farming, fishing, and being productive for their local communities? I have heard this question many times from people in Honiara, but I have never heard an answer. By not enforcing the laws that are there for a good reason, the government provides no disincentive for these people to stay in there traditional areas (or for that matter, seek work elsewhere).
I will ask the question one more time (does someone have an answer?): Why are these squatter camps allowed to flourish?
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter are those of Harry Kwow and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.
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