Unsuitability of director of environment - Solomon Star News

Unsuitability of director of environment

07 August 2014

Dear Editor - An article which appeared in your Friday 1 August 2014 edition caught my attention.  It concerns the fact that a person in a higher position in our civil service had not behaved according to the job description for his position.

I am referring here to the saga which surrounds the attempt to export Tubi and the involvement of the Director of Environment, Joe Horokou.

In the scheme of things, the Director of Environment is an important position.  He or She is the guardian of the country’s environment, which amongst others include the sea, rivers, forest, air and generally the country’s biodiversity. 

These are important resources for every man, woman and children who call Solomon Islands, home.  The Director of Environment, in summary has to ensure that these resources are used or exploited in a sustainable manner or harvested in a manner that does not pollute our sea, rivers, and atmosphere. 

Therefore where there is a need, some of the resources may be conserved for our future generation.  Therefore incumbent on the Director of Environment Joe Horokou has a duty to this nation to protect the resources that are in this nation’s environment.

It is now alarming to note that Joe Horokou, by his action, is doing the opposite.  That is, he had signed an export permit letter to speed up the process of exporting the containers of Tubi.  Tubi is a protected specifies according to s.11(1) of the Wildlife and Protection and Management Act 1998. It cannot be exported unless for research purposes. 

If any person contravenes this Act, his or her action will be illegal.  This Act applies to all people whether it is the exporter, Director of Environment, Commissioner of Forests or the Prime Minister. 

First, I believe the action by the Director of Environment to speed up the whole process and circumvent due diligence is not procedural and therefore illegal. Secondly, the fact that the purpose of the export falls outside the Act is also illegal.

I therefore call on the Permanent Secretary responsible and the Ministry of Public Service to investigate this whole saga to ascertain whether the Director of Environment and the Commission of Forest had acted outside their powers. 

If in the process of this investigation their action is proved ultra vires, they should be severely punished. 

The resources of this country are not the sole property of Joe Horokou and Reeves Moveni.  They belong to the current and future generation of this nation.

Yours sincerely
Charlie Kieu
White River