Illegal logging in Shortlands - Solomon Star News

Illegal logging in Shortlands

09 March 2014

Dear Editor - On one of your pages on Friday 28/2/14 of your Solomon Star Newspaper No 5442 ran a news article of the above illegal logging on Shortland Islands by Raymond Halepsolo.

I fully supported his article and I sympathised with the landowners of the activity carried out by greedy Australian and Asian foreigners on the land owned by my people of Shortland Islands as reported by Raymond.

Shortland Islands is indeed a very distanced area from the eyes of authorities (such as the Western Province, the Forestry and the Police) such illegal participation can occur in any period of time in such kinds of development.

I am interested to learn more of these beggars like investors we in Shortlands would like to call them.

They’re now making nuisance to themselves by breaking the SIG Forestry laws for cutting and felling of trees in the disqualified areas not permissioned to them and entering the unlicensed land boundaries.

After having learned more I took few more steps further to find out who the Chinese-Australian  really is; and what is his status in the country.

Little information was gathered further about the owner of the Asia Pacific Investment Development who has been in the country for sometimes and married a local woman with two kids now made them to live in Australia.

He has been on a run for works and ended up with mostly failed projects such as the Town Ground Plaza, the fishing and fish export and the Rayna Cafe.

You never hear these projects now. On the issue of Plaza thing he played the unapproved building with owner's money for under table deal for approval by the authority as the owner does not spit out any single English or pijin languages.

It took me to believe why that has the no care attitude to all landowners and their forest resources because he is only interested to rob the landowners of their resources and benefits.

 Raymond Halepsolo wrote to say that the trespass and illegal cutting and felling of logable trees were the issue of the Mighty Teasa logging company contracted by APID to do the operation on the four blocks of lands the landowners now claimed.

The real issue I would urge now is to ask the Member of Parliament for Shortland Islands to get rid of these poor investors out of Shortland Islands and Forestry to investigate all licences used by two companies to cause forfeiture and police to issue warrant of arrests to both the APID director and the Mighty Teasa manager for illegal operation in the Shortlands to leave the country immediately.

Most landowners do not have enough money for legal fees to stand for their right over their land and resources.

When this happens loggers continue to invade their land until they take every single logable tree leaving the scrubs for fossil fuel for landowners.

I thank Raymond Halepsolo for his first article for reporting such illegal activity in his land openly.

This kind of illegal activity can be avoided should new companies are planning to take concession areas to operate in the Shortland Islands.

If the government cannot crack down on illegal operations, the landowners can do otherwise; the machineries in this instant in the Shortlands  can be held for better compensation payment deal.

Peter Kongmale
Shortland Islands