Solomons Provincial Authorities Move To Oust Loggers

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Temotu premier infuriated by intrusion on Vanikoro island

By Charley Piringi

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Oct. 29, 2013) – In the Solomon Islands, a team comprised of Temotu provincial police, provincial government and forestry officers left Lata yesterday in an attempt to get loggers out of Vanikoro.

The action came following threats by the landowning groups to damage all the logging machineries owned by Malaysian logging company Jaya Berjaya which had landed in Vanikoro to kick off logging operations there.

The Temotu provincial government is unhappy with the actions of the Malaysian company after defying their orders not to travel to Vanikoro.

The directive to send a team to Vanikoro was given by the Temotu provincial premier Fr. Brown Beu.

Speaking to this paper from Lata yesterday, premier Beu said, "Since we haven’t yet received any directives from the Attorney General’s office yet, and Vanikoro locals are threatening to burn all logging machineries, I have given directive for the police and government officials to travel over there and bring back the Malaysian loggers to Lata.

"My fear is that their presence and actions will continue to provoke local landowning tribes to cause dispute between each other.

"With due respect to their call for intervention, I have stepped in and sent police officers and one of my executive members down there.

"My office is well aware that the machineries are now on the ground and lots of damages have been done to the landing site, especially the marine eco-system and the mangrove areas."

Premier Beu could not hold his fury and further described the Malaysian as being deaf.

"I’m really disappointed with these Malaysians. They really are deaf, as if they have no ears to listen to the laws of this country that they have violated. They are really stubborn!

"They must be taken back here (Lata) so that we can settle the issue and have them sent back to Honiara and face the full force of justice for the defying our orders."

Fr. Beu has called on his people in Vanikoro not to take laws in their own hands.

"I kindly ask my people in Vanikoro to remain calm and do not to take laws into your own hands whilst relevant authorities are taking appropriate steps to settle the whole issue."

Premier Beu said that the SBD$3,000 [US$407.70] bribe is still with Temotu police awaiting advice from the Attorney General.

A week ago, unlicensed Malaysian logging company Jaya Berjaya company landed in Lata, Temotu province with a barge loaded with logging machineries.

It was detained there and was turned back to Honiara.

Instead of coming back to Honiara the loggers further defied the order and went over to Vanikoro, their proposed logging site.

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