GOV’T URGED TO CLEAN UP ‘MESS’ - Solomon Star News


12 July 2019

Wale hits out at mining industry


GOVERNMENT must clean up the “mess” in the mining industry, Opposition leader Mathew Wale says.

This is important to avoid undue manipulation by Chinese mining companies, he added.

Wale’s call came in light of the controversial Bintan mining company’s continued bauxite operation on Rennell island.

He said Bintan has caused two environmental disasters and failed to ensure necessary clean-up.

The Opposition leader added there are also ongoing illegal mining operations in Isabel Province by other Chinese-backed companies.

“Whilst I am pleased to hear Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare’s call on government officials not to abuse powers vested on them in his 41st Independence Anniversary Speech, the call will become another political rhetoric unless he takes the necessary action to promptly deal with corrupt officials who abuse their powers for their own personal gains,” Wale said in a statement.

He said an industry with the potential to contribute significantly to the country’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth is the mining industry.

“But the widespread corruption therein due to the involvement of Chinese in the industry has denied the national economy of a substantial amount of foreign receipts.

“These revenues are what the Government needs to develop its infrastructure, improve government services and broaden the national economy and steer the government towards a prosperous future for every Solomon Islander.

“The DCGA does not even need to sell Solomon Islands sovereignty to China or Taiwan to develop the country.

“All that all the country needs to achieve its development aspirations is for the government to properly manage the extraction of its mineral resources and use the revenues derived from them to achieve these development goals.”

Wale said Sogavare needs to “walk his talk” because he has spent his previous terms in the top political office making promises and issuing statements that can be best described as “political rhetoric”.

“All talk but nothing to show for it,” Wale said.

He said Solomon Islands needs genuine foreign investors to invest in the country.

“We don’t need investors that buy their way into setting up businesses that do not operate by the country’s laws and expanding the scope of business operation by bribing government officials who have no iota of care to upholding and defending the best interest of Solomon Islands.”