18 Feb 2013

Russell Islands chief executive rubbishes his government's plans to revitalise RIPEL

7:23 pm on 18 February 2013

The Central Islands provincial government in Solomon Islands is planning to to re-start operations at the company Russell Islands Plantation Estates Limited or RIPEL.

The provincial premier says the decision because of the dire need for economic development to improve Central Islands' financial footing.

Patteson Mae says RIPEL, which closed its operations nearly ten years ago after an industrial dispute and legal battles, could have been earning millions of dollars annually from copra and cocoa exports.

But the Russell Islands Chief Executive Simon Getavam says the government's plan to revitalise the company under the existing management agreement is nonsense.

He says the province no longer has shares in RIPEL after it sold its two percent to the managing director, Patrick Wong, who was last year declared a prohibited immigrant.

That came amid his long-running legal battle to have the government pay for financial commitments it had already made to RIPEL.