The population in Honiara is growing at an alarming rate.

With only 22.73 square kilometres of land, it is now not enough to cater for the needs of the growing population.

The sprawling informal settlements along the outskirts of Honiara continues to grow, with recent studies suggesting that those living in informal settlements will soon outnumber those on formal registered land.

There is a growing perception that ‘good commercial land’ is bought up by Chinese businesses, simply because they price all the locals out of the market. There is also a growing perception that there is favouritism in how land is being allocated, and this is more so after squatters were forcefully moved out of land bought by Chinese businesses.

The Commissioner of Lands, Alan McNeil, in an interview with Solomon Times Online, says that there is most “definitely no policy or practice to say that Asians are prioritised.”

“Basically, anyone who has a registered interest in land like a fixed term estate, has every right under the law to transfer the land to anyone else, no matter where they are from”, McNeil says.

He says most of the area at Lunga, Henderson and Alligator are already private land, except for the airport area and road reserves which is crown land.

“The area has been under private ownership for quite a long time already, so whoever holds the land title, who is a private owner, can sell to another private owner,” McNeil explained.

McNeil says that his office only gives consent when a purchase is done.