The leader of the Opposition has called on the government to review and amend the laws dealing with logging and our protected wildlife species including tubi, and to put in place heavy punishments for loggers found breaking the law.
In a statement on Monday Matthew Wale said; “The recent revelations by the Premier of Isabel Provincial stating that the current harvesting of tubi in parts of Isabel is illegal raises a lot of questions on the interface between the different laws.
“It seems the cross overs between the process for acquiring timber rights under the Forest Resource Timber Utilisation Act and for grant of permits under the Wild Life Protection Act, and that for provincial business licenses are not clear thus creating unwanted gaps.
“And this situation has been allowed to exist for too long a period, allowing wilful deliberate abuse of our processes to continue,” said Mr. Wale.
He added that the provincial governments and the ministry responsible for environment and conservation are key agents in looking out against the depletion of our natural resources and in the circumstances raised by the premier, it seems their powers have been hijacked by the timber rights process.
“Lack of clarity in our laws leaves room for abuse and corrupt practice by loggers who are only interested in serving their own interests.
“The decline in our logging industry is now seeing loggers moving business into our protected species and the mining sector. This is a worrying trend and is not unique to the tubi.
“The influx of bogus investors looking for opportunities to exploit is now widespread. It is regrettable that loggers and government officials implicated time after time again for corrupt practices are still conducting business in the country freely. How long is this going to go on for?”
“I, therefore, call on the government to look seriously into the allegations made by the Isabel Premier and to quickly rectify any gaps causing these problems and to put in place heavy penalties for any loggers caught illegally trading in our protected species.
“I also commend the Isabel Premier for coming out clear on this matter,” the Opposition Leader further added.