Is stealing not a crime? - Solomon Star News

Is stealing not a crime?

07 January 2018

Dear Editor – Stealing is synonymous to thieving or robbing.

The Noah Webster Dictionary defined stealing as: Taking the goods of another feloniously or to take and carry away feloniously, as the personal goods of another (paraphrased).

Webster went on to explain what constitute stealing or theft as; the taking must be felonious, that is, with an intent to take what belongs to another, and without his consent.

In the above definition, I’m interested in what constitute stealing, that is, the taking must be felonious because the one that takes what belongs to another did so without the consent of the owner.

Again in the Webster Dictionary, it defines felonious as: a malignant; malicious; indicating or proceeding from a depraved heart or evil purpose; villainous; traitorous; perfidious; as a felonious deed.

 In law, according to the dictionary; felonious deed proceeds from an evil heart or purpose; done with the deliberate purpose to commit a crime.

The word felonious comes from felony, which in common law, any crime which incurs the forfeiture of lands or goods.

The true criterion of felony as forfeiture of lands or goods has the idea of being so generally connected with that of capital punishment, that modern law and usage now confirm that connection.

Before Solomon Islands learn that stealing or felony is a crime and the price the offender has to pay is capital punishment, God already codified that evil act in the centre of the Decalogue in the imperative voice and simple language, reads: “Thou shalt not steal” (Exodus 20:15).

The punishment for stealing in the Jews society is stoning the offender (and his family) to death like Achan and his family in the Bible time.

The severity of the punishment for a person who steals demonstrate the seriousness of the offence to the Jews, which has not been the case in Solomon Islands where the punishment for stealing could be spending some time out in Rove on a rehabilitation program or just let the person who steal enjoy freedom, especially when the person who steal is a foreigner.

But if my assertion that stealing is not so much a crime in this country for foreigners, then this could be only true for foreigners who stole our lands and goods on West Rennell in which I’m one of the victims.

As the New Year unfolds with new resolutions to be made, especially people thinking around responding to the government call for resource owners to open up their land for development, I’m seriously concerned at the government’s failure to address the so-called foreign investor’s crime of stealing from the resource owners who open up their resources for development.

For example, the loggers and miners operating on West Rennell like Samlimsan Ltd, Green Hill Enterprises Limited and Asia Pacific Investment Development (APID) continuous stealing from our lands and goods have never been addressed seriously by the government and the police as many of our complaints and reported cases have never been attended.

 I have no doubt that these investors will continue stealing our resources in this New Year because the government and the law enforcers protect them; thus perfecting the investors stealing as though the investors are above the law.

I make this claim with no apology because I have written many letters to different organs of the government apparatus and police and even published a good number of articles in the media exposing Samlimsan and Green Hill logging companies and APID as a mining minor taking away our resources but have not received help; especially on my call for investigations to be made on the investors.

It appals me that despite the fact that I have provided facts as evidence to back up my call for investigations on the loggers and miners to proceed, and even to an extend of pointing out sections of the Forestry Act, Mines Act, Lands Act and the Environment Act, and report some cases to the police, my complaints and reports fall on deaf ears as though stealing has now being accepted by the law of this country.

Despite the government and the law enforcers’ attitude toward my call and complaints, I’m not going to give up on my fight against the loggers and miners until they and those who conspired or collaborate with them to steal our resources pay the price.

Regarding the government call for people to open up their resources for development, if the government fails to help landowners whom foreign investors robbed them of their resources, why ask for more when those that already opened up their resources suffer from the hands of the investors being aided by government politicians and administrators without the government intervention?

The Election Day is drawing close and I doubt politicians and administrators who vie to contest the upcoming election will be willing to take the risk to investigate the loggers and miners for their breached of the law because they would need money for their election.

Whatever the case is, I’m confident that the government with the leadership of her new captain, Hon. Rick Hou who call resources owners to open up their resources for development, will live up to their promise to fight corruption; thus I’m willing to open up my resources for our province and the country’s development.

And part of opening up my resources for development for the good of our Renbel Province and the country is calling on the government to establish commission of inquiries to investigate foreign loggers and miners operating on West Rennell and get our landowners and the government fair shares before expanding into other business undertaking activities.

I have documents to provide to support my claim that loggers and miners on West Rennell breached the Forests Act, the Mines Act and the Land Act and willing to provide them to any commission of inquiries or any investigative team the government set up to investigate the exploiters, thieves and robbers on my Island.

Tepuke R. P. Hakatigisa’a
Law student