Logging illegal in Solomons' Temotu province says premier
The premier of Solomon Islands' Temotu province says a Malaysian company planning to export round logs from Vanikoro has not been given a licence and is violating the law.
The premier of Solomon Islands' Temotu province says a Malaysian company planning to export round logs from Vanikoro is violating the law.
Last week, Father Charles Brown Beu revealed that while he was in Honiara the company attempted to buy his approval when passing him a letter, supposedly from the forestry ministry, approving the operation.
He says a company director later assured him no logging would take place but workers and equipment have since landed at Vanikoro. Father Beu says logging is not allowed in Temotu province and, if it were, any operation would have to be approved by the provincial government.
(Image: New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade)
CHARLES BROWN BEU: It was what we call in Solomon Islands 'iapas'.
ANNELL HUSBAND: What is 'iapas'?
CBB: 'Iapas' means deaf. People who come in are deaf to the people and are deaf to the government and are deaf to the legal procedures to be followed to carry out logging in this country. The government has not informed us that these logging companies are going to operate in Vanikoro. And the normal procedures of hearings and all the rest of it have not been carried out. And the Temotu provincial government has not also issued a licence for the company to operate in the province, which is normal, that any company that operates in Temotu province, or any province for that matter in Solomon Islands has to have an operational licence, business licence, paid to the provincial government before that particular company carries out any business operations.
AH: Have you had any discussion with the Forestry Commissioner?
CBB: The information that I got from a minister of the crown, who is also an MP from Temotu province, yesterday said to me that he has personally seen the minister of forests and the minister of forests has in no uncertain terms told him that the junior officer who signed the letter for Berjaya Limited to bring the machines to Temotu province is mistaken. And he also said that the files of Berjaya Limited are still in process.
AH: So the junior officer may well have been bribed himself.
CBB: I believe so. If they have bribed the premier, they must have also bribed the junior officer. I'm almost certain about that.
AH: The first thing is that this is illegal, isn't it, so it's actually a criminal matter.
CBB: Yes, it is. As far as I'm concerned these people have violated the laws of this country. And if there are some people in higher places who are supporting them I don't know what to say and I'm so surprised that the people of this country can not be protected because of bribery or whatever else. I just don't know, I don't understand.
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