NEWLY elected Premier of Central Islands province, George Selwyn Mapuli says RIPEL and Anuha resort are main priorities for his new government to pursue.
This comes as he is still to appoint his five ministers and sit down with them to look at their policy direction after winning the premier’s election last Wednesday at Tulagi.
Speaking from his home in Tulagi yesterday, Mr Mapuli, a former chief education officer, said his government will work with the Sogavare’s government to re-open the RIPEL and Anuha Resort.
He said it’s good to hear the national government is showing interest to look into the Russells Islands Plantation Estate Limited (RIPEL) at Yandina.
RIPEL came to a standstill in 2004 after the workers destroyed the company’s properties following a long-drawn industrial dispute.
It was earlier reported that the foreign owners of RIPEL are threatening to sue the government for $324 million.
This is for damages to assets and loss of revenue over the eight years since the company’s operations were brought to a standstill by rioting workers.
This latest development comes following the failure of the government to deliver on a $24 million pay-off deal signed under the tenure of the previous Prime Minister, Danny Phillip.
Mr Mapuli said for Anuha Resort, one of the landowners is a member of his government; therefore it’s an opportunity to re-negotiate its re-opening.
Anuha Resort was developed and managed by Pacific Resorts Ltd in 1983, by Queensland based businessmen, John Donnelly and Peter Cornish.
But ownership later changed hands over the course of the Resort’s history.
This had led to a land dispute where landowners burnt down the resort in 1988.
As of 2014, Anuha Island is under the legal ownership of Solomon Island Tourism Ltd and is moving forward with redevelopment plans.
By EDDIE OSIFELO