THE POPULAR concern citizens group, the Forum Solomon Islands International (FSII) has renewed calls on landowners and resource owners not to rush into signing agreements without knowing and understanding their contents.
FSII President Redley Raramo echoed this warning again after two similar calls this year.
Raramo said while it cannot be denied that the country needs more tangible development to prop up its economy, resource owners must not be misled into signing agreements without knowing their contents in their entirety.
“The returns are only one major part of the agreement, there are other clauses that resource owners need to pay attention to,” Raramo stated.
The FSII boss said that land and resource owners need to understand what their benefits are in the long run and how viable these opportunities are in terms of sustaining future generations.
The current heated debate about the issuing of two mining lease with overlapping tenements to two different mining companies on RennellIsland in the Renbel province has been a top discussion issue on FSII’s popular Facebook during the past three weeks.
The top quality bauxite deposit on Rennell Island has attracted APID and Borneo Bingtang, an Indonesian mining Company to use senior landowners in their quest to mine the island.
“Whilst the details of the whole issue remains sketchy, one thing is imminent Landowners holds the upper hand in every key development on customary land, therefore landowners are the key to developing their resources, not the national government, provincial government or the investor”, Raramo clarified.
Raramo stated that access to information about potential investors is a big problem, adding the responsibility to educate our land and resource owners rest squarely on ourselves, including key LOs, elected leaders, church leaders, chiefs, women and youths.
“The duty to educate our resource owners rest upon us- the educated, LOs, elected leaders, the civil society and the government itself,” Raramo said.
He further warned the government to be transparent but at the same time protective of land and resource owners who in many cases are denied by lack of education, information and professional advice.
“While government acts as a middle- man between land/resource owners and investors, it must always protect the interests of its subjects, in this case, the owners of the resources,” Raramo explained.
Raramo reiterated that not every investor is genuine to assist land and resource owners; there are some who want to rip off our resources at the expense of the land and resources’ custodians who lacked the right information and advice.
Raramo renewed his call following revelations about the mining lease row on Rennell Island, other prospecting/mining issues and development opportunities in this country.
He said this country has the potential to maximize its mineral and other unexploited resources but warned resource owners to be intact in their decisions and not to apply double-standard attitudes.
“There are many landowners/resource owners who worked vigorously at night and remain innocent during the day”, he added.
The FSII boss reminded land/resource owners to be attentive because many investors typically appeared to help resource owners in the first place but their true colors are often shown later when they induce resource custodians to sign often one- sided agreements.
Raramo urged resource owners to be vigilant when dealing with investors whom they are not well versed with. “Some of them are dubious. They are indeed wolves but came dressed in sheep’s skin with intent to exploit your resources”
– FSII News