LANDOWNERS (LOs) of the Kulipuklu registered land in Santa Cruz, Temotu Province have questioned police in Lata for failing to carry out a restraining order to stop loggers from entering and doing illegal logging activities on their land.
Two of the landowning representatives Luke Melanoli and Dickson Melanoli told the paper yesterday the Xiang Lin logging company has continued to enter and log their land without any agreement being signed.
“The Xiang Lin Company logging operation is not legal because they have no felling and exporting licenses yet they continue to fail and export logs from their land parcel number 266-001-10,” they said.
Mr Dickson said on November 2018, they have issued a restraining order along with a letter from their lawyer but the police have since failed to carry out that order.
“That gives as a clear indication that our police in Lata have a close relationship with the Xiang Lin logging company,” he said.
He said given that the police have failed their job, the landowners including men, women and children have no choice but to block the Asians on the entry gate with the restraining order.
“When we did that, the Asians called the police and they came and told us we will be arrested for what we did,” he said.
Mr Dickson said after the police left, they went back and blocked the road again as they know it is their land and they have all the right to stop the loggers.
He said the surprising thing later is, after few weeks of silence, the loggers and their followers came back and issued to them another restraining order stopping them to block the loggers.
“We want to question the integrity of our police and call for the Police Commissioner to explain why they are quick to carry out a restraining order handed to them recently and not comply with ours that were issued to them since last year,” he said.
He said on top of that, their restraining order though has the signatories of the High Court, those people included are not landowners and there are too many land puzzles included which are not of their interests as they only care about our land parcel.
Mr Dickson said for any restraining order it has to go with both a sworn statement from the landowner and that from the High Court.
However, he said the recent restraining order has the statement from those who are not landowners including the Company’s boss Mr Hong.
“We just want to know why those who have not own our land have the right to come and stop us in our own land.
“We want the Police Commissioner to step in to deal with this because we know the copy of the restraining order has also reached him or with him,” he added
Attempts to get comments from Lata police were not successful but Mr Dickson said when he approached their Provincial Police Commander (PPC) he was told that the PPC never sighted the restraining order and that is why no execution was carried out.
“I was so surprised to hear such excuses because I know for any such orders must have to be recorded in the PPC’s diary and why that order is not recorded so that he sees it,” he said.
Meanwhile, his younger brother Luke said they have already taken the matter to the Ombudsman office and were told they have to seek the Police Commissioner and work with their lawyers as their office is not responsible to do investigation on such cases.
Mr Luke said they want the Police Commissioner to help solve the issue before things went out of hands and they take the law into their own hands.
“The past incident involving burning down of six machines took place on the same parcel of land with the same nature involving land disputes.
“And so failure to address it now will likely ended up the same way,” he added.
Mr Luke claimed sadly, some of the local officers in Lata have a close working relationship with the logging company which makes it harder for justice to prevail.
“We know some of them have been involved in corruption dealings with the company but our only concern is let our land free because it is ours,” he said.
The two tribes who own the land parcel number 266-001-10 (Kulu pulu land) are Non- Bwebla and Nou-Nubu tribes.
By IAN M.KAUKUI