12 Jan 2007

Samoan government admits logging ban flawed

4:37 pm on 12 January 2007

The Samoan government has banned commercial logging, but says there are loopholes in the law that might allow logging companies to continue their work.

The logging ban came into effect at the beginning of the year.

In November the Lands and Titles court issued an interim injunction to the Minister of Justice, Unasa Mesi Galo, forcing his company to stop commercial logging.

The injunction was issued after matais of a village on the island of Savaii lodged a complaint to the court claiming that the minister's business was operating on disputed land belonging to the village.

Our correspondent in Samoa, Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia, says the prime minister, Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, reiterated that everybody must respect the ban.

"He explained to me that no one is above the law, especially, one of his cabinet ministers is involved in this row. But in any law of this country, including the law of logging, there are some provisions that might allow local logging companies to continue their operations."

Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia