17 Aug 2009

Landowners in Solomons want to renegotiate deal with Guadalcanal Plains Palm Oil

10:13 am on 17 August 2009

In Solomon Islands, one of the key landowning groups involved in the Guadalcanal Plains Palm Oil company says the memorandum of understanding which led to the establishment of the company needs to be reviewed.

The palm oil company replaced the Solomon Islands Plantations Ltd which was shut down by ethnic clashes in 2000.

The new company's offices were gutted by fire last month and two people are facing arson charges.

Father Benedict Garimane, an Anglican priest speaking for the Guadalcanal Plains Landowners Association, a 20 percent owner of the company, says the law must take its course.

But he also says there are other tensions, and his group, which negotiated the original MOU, wants a review because new landowners coming in are getting better deals.

"The management, when it wants to enter some other land from the other landholding groups, the company enters with those landowners, a new MOU. The MOU it gives better conditions for the landowners who give the land at a later stage."