Effectiveness Of Russel Islands Plantation Taskforce In Solomon Islands Questioned

Effort to fix RIPEL problems can't be addressed by members who were responsible for creating them

By Aatai John

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Dec. 28, 2016) – The Russel Islands Plantation Estates Ltd (RIPE) Taskforce will never address the root causes of the industrial disputes that halted the operation of RIPEL more than 10 years ago.

This is because it is not independent.

This is the observation of Buddy Wickams Noamasahu, who participated in the recent consultations held by the RIPEL taskforce.

Mr Namoashu said it is a waste of time if members with pre-determined agendas are allowed to remain in the taskforce to resolve the industrial dispute.

He told the  Solomon Star that some members he saw in the taskforce are the ones responsible for all the mess RIPEL found itself in today.

“Their presence would make it difficult for the government to address the situation,” he added.

Mr Noamasahu said while he appreciated the efforts of the government to settle the RIPEL issue, it is discouraging that not everyone in the taskforce was neutral or independent of the disputing parties.

He cautioned that it is unlikely for the taskforce to get to the bottom of the problem and report it to the cabinet, because some members inside, were the major players in the dispute.

He argued that unless people who are neutral, with no connection to disputing parties over RIPEL and politics of Russell islands are appointed in the taskforce, the government will not be able to sort the issue as expected.

The RIPEL Taskforce was appointed by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to embark on a strategic approach to resolve and reopen the RIPEL plantations in Yandina, Russell Islands.

Solomon Star
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