Police must arrest the loggers - Solomon Star News

Police must arrest the loggers
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10 May 2021
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[Photo: Oceans Watch]

Dear Editor - The Royal Solomon Islands Police have been called upon to exercise its mandate and ultimate responsibilities to safeguard and upheld the Laws of our country, and in applying the law it must be done with utmost fairness.

No one is above the LAW, including and significantly those foreign logging companies who have continued to believe and behave like they are above the Laws of this country. 

They don’t even care and respect no one, including Her Majesty the Queen’s Hon High Court of Solomon Island’s directives and Orders.

On the 30th of April 2021, High Court Judge had ruled in the civil cases 93/21 and 116/21 combined as they dealt with the same issues, between Integrated Agro Forest Development as Claimant and Henry Star Dora & Others as Defendant on the first HCC, and Henry Star Dora as Claimant/Applicant and Integrated Agro Forest Development, 1st Defendant, Global SI Limited 2nd Defendant and Grace logging as 3rd Defendant,

However prior to these two High Court cases being heard, the Commissioner of Forest had already ordered these logging companies with their Licensee out of Sesu, Pungu and Esirara customary lands, Small Malaita which have not timber righted under the License A10730 operated by Integrated Agro Forest Development, that in its self is already a breach and violation of Forestry Act. 

I have written to the Commissioner of Forest about the matter for which he has formally written to the Company and the Licensee to immediately refrain or halt any Landing, or felling or Skidding and hauling on all the customary land mentioned above.

I have also phoned Johnny Lao, Director and Owner of Global SI Limited, Steve Chieng of Grace Logging and Andrew Marani of Integrated Agro Forest Development (Licensee) on the 12th of February advising and demanding them not to go to our Land and operate any logging activities there. 

However, despite our pledges and calls, Johnny Lao of Global SI Limited had totally ignored our calls and the directive of the Commissioner of Forest and landed his machinery and equipments at Sesu, Tawahaule, Small Malaita on Sunday 14th February 2021 and is continuing to fell, skidding and hauling of logs in our customary lands. 

This I believe is indeed an infringement and violation of the Forestry Act, the ultimate Law governing our forest resources. 

The High Court on the 30th of April had Ordered that the First, Second and Third Respondents by themselves and through their Agents Invitee or servants are restrained from conducting further logging operations within Sesu Pungu and Esirara

Orders that the First, Second and Third Respondents by themselves and through their Agents Invitee or servants are restrained from re-entering and remaining within and accessing Sesu, Pungu and Esirara customary Lands.

An order restraining the 1st, 2nd & 3rd Respondents to account for the proceeds of logs sourced from the above customary lands,

An order restraining the 1st, 2nd & 3rd Respondents from loading and exporting of consignment of Logs sourced from Sesu, Pungu and Esirara, Ward 23, Malaita Province.

An order for the Second and Third Respondents to remove forthwith their personnel’s, machineries and equipments from Sesu, Pungu and Esirara.

The High Court continued to order that a Penal Notice be attached to the breach of the orders and further orders that the proceedings in Civil Case 93/21 are therefore dismissed. 

That these orders was perfected and Signed and sealed on the 30th April and was eventually served on them the same day. 

However a day after the High Court Orders, these loggers does not care at all but continued with their operation to this very day.

Over the weekend on Saturday they sent a log ship to the area in defiance of the High Court Orders and without a permit to load and export from the Commissioner of Forest.

We have reported these incidences to relevant authorities including the highest Police ranking officials at Rove, Central and Auki, hoping that they can do something about it. 

In such a situation we believe that Police should immediately act upon these infringement and arrest these culprits and perpetrators or are these Loggers above the laws of this country?

At this stage our people still holding fast their frustrations because we still believe in Law and Order. 

However it will come to a stage where we could not hold our patients anymore and continue to watch these people and companies stealing, ripping off and robbing our resources and I must warn that would be catastrophic and very dangerous if and when that happens.

I strongly condoned and condemned the action and behaviour of these foreign individuals and their companies and Licensee for arrogantly ignoring and infringing the Forestry Laws, Commissioner of Forest directive, but most significantly defying High Court Orders which is contempt to Court and have no respect towards the people and communities livelihoods, survival and peace.

 

Henry Star Dora
Honiara

 

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