17 Sep 2007

Solomons opposition says government has no right to seize RIPEL

3:31 pm on 17 September 2007

The Solomon Islands opposition says the government has no legal right to interfere in the troubled Russell Islands Plantation Estate Limited, by attempting to take it over.

The government has revealed a plan to take over the operation of the cocoa and copra plantation, which is being managed by a foreign investor.

The estate is a major producer of cocoa and copra, but RIPEL remains embroiled in legal court proceedings, years after workers took industrial action.

The opposition leader, Fred Fono, says the government must let the legal process take its course, and any move to nationalise the estate outside of the court, undermines foreign investment.

"There is no legal provision for the government to take over a private investor, be it RIPEL or any foreign investor that operates in the country. Under our current law, they are investors. And therefore they should operate freely without any government involvement or interference into their operations."

Opposition Leader Fred Fono