FORUM Solomon Islands International chief executive officer Benjamin Afuga has hit back at a response made on the chemical spill issue.
General Manager of the Tandai Seafront Hotel, Martin Mata in response to initial reports made by FSII on the issue described the claims as none-sense.
But Mr Afuga yesterday said Mr Mata’s response only confirmed the spillage.
“First of all I sincerely thank him for confirming the truth about the matter – a chemical (Nitric Acid) spillage has occurred at his motel.
“On the issue of nonsense claims as Mata puts it, I maintain there were indeed unsuccessful attempts to talk to the Management or any other responsible person about the chemical spillage, when the matter was first reported to me by a guest and two eye witnesses, unfortunately there was no one to confirm.
“All calls were made on the Monday (9th June 2004) after the spillage on that same weekend. On both efforts, the lady at the reception desk said the Manager was not available and that there were no other person authorized to speak about the matter.
“During the second attempt, I even asked for your Mobile phone number but she declined (after conversing with another person if she can provide your number). I left my phone contact with this lady to pass it on to you for a return call. And so you see, I was expecting a call from you. Unfortunately, I received no calls.
“Who failed who is a matter for your management to graft not me. I respect her position as an employee based on any institutional or organization’s policies.
“My attempts to talk to you was basically to confirm whether there was a true chemical spill or not. Any further accusation about the chronicle of the event is beside the point.
“Furthermore the meticulous risks or long term effects of the Nitric Acid or any other toxic chemicals for that matter are a matter for experts to confirm, not you or me. Both of us are not experts in this field, so let’s leave that to our experts to confirm in their anticipated reliable and impartial reports.
Mr Afuga said FSII has already written to the HCC Health Department and the Police to provide precise official reports about the incident.
“We should wait for their reports rather than trying to be defensive or justify the risks or long terms effects of this chemical.
“FSII’s concern was for the safety of workers, hotel guests, visitors and surrounding communities. And foremost to question why Evita Solomon limited kept such hazardous materials in their rooms in a public facility.
“But it’s virtuous to learn that you also shared FSII’s concern in your letter to Evita Management last year. Wasn’t that a confirmation that Management has already known Evita storing Nitric Acid in their Hotel rooms? This is something you refuted as nonsense.
“Interestingly as the General Manager who wrote that letter, you failed to ensure Evita must comply with your written warning and to keep Nitric Acid in Hotel room for a year; that’s even surprising!
“I repeat it is interesting but it is none of my business to question your decisions, like I said earlier, I respect your Hotel policies.
“And now it is very helpful for our own investigations after you just confirmed that a warning has been issued to Evita Solomon Limited early last year in writing in the strongest term. Thank you for confirming because as you have already known, Evita Solomon Limited is now under FSII spotlight and scrutiny.
“I totally concur with you that processing of gold in a public premises using toxic and dangerous chemicals is life threatening and perhaps a breach of Hotel operations. But now that they broke your warning, I encourage you to deal with them in an imperious manner for the sake of public interest.
“You can shout at the top of your voice to defend your Hotel, but we are only exposing a rare incident with the objective to warn others who may be operating the same business to stop because sooner or later they will be caught. The warning also goes for rightful authorities to be proactive in their line of duties.
“I said this because if authorities failed to do their work then nature will have its own way, which is usually fatal. Luckily the chemical spill did not harm anyone. You could have unnecessarily incurred costs caused by someone’s stupidity and noncompliance with management warning. I hope you learn some lessons from this incident.
“To sum up, I don’t need to seek further information from you Mr. Mata because like I have said, you already confirmed the chemical spillage and that FSII has already sought professional and credible reports from responsible authorities about the chemical spillage.
“I am just thankful that you finally came out publicly to confirm that there was a chemical spill at your Hotel and that the chemical was Nitric Acid. Are these information not reliable?
“So good readers the truth is: There was a chemical spillage at the Tandai Seafront Motel, confirmed by the Hotel Manager, Mr. Martin Mata in a private column in the Sunday Star paper on 15th June 2014.
“Finally to Mr. Mata: I don’t need to waste my time on further debates about this issue because you just confirm to me that there was a chemical spillage and I am waiting for reports from responsible authorities.”