THE ongoing plan to revitalise the Russell Islands Plantation Estate Limited (RIPEL) is gaining positive outcome as the Government and Russell Islands stakeholders engaged in a two day round-table for re-investment in Russell Island in Honiara.
“It is not a riddle anymore not even a puzzle because we understand our problems and we are determine to overcome them,” Member of Parliament for Savo/Russell and Chairman of the RIPEL Sub Committee under the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Dickson Mua made this statement when he opened the round-table meeting in Honiara.
Mr Mua in his remarks said, “we are here today because we all believe that the future of Russells must be paved well for the good of ourselves and our future generations.
“We must appreciate the work of the Solomon Islands Government in its ongoing efforts to deal with our issues.
“An issue that overtime has become one of the complex issues in this country,” Mr Mua acknowledged on Thursday.
Mr Mua further said that in these complexities there are ways that emerged to address these issues.
He affirmed that they now reach this milestone whereby they will be able to address their issues together.
Russells has become one of the biggest coconut plantations in the country. In response to this development, Russell Islands Plantation Estate Limited is a product of a government policy in the past, he said.
“RIPEL at that time was of the main contributors to Solomon Islands economy this became an important feature of the ongoing history of RIPEL.
“Then RIPEL faced with an industrial dispute that saw the operations closed till this day as a result, there were ongoing court litigation between Patrick Wong, John Whiteside and Vlymen in the whole RIPEL issue.
“The whole of Russells and other stakeholders were pulled into the disputes, making it one of the complex issues in the country,” Mr Mua said
Meanwhile, Director of RIPEL Cabinet Sub Committee Daniel Fenua said the two days round-table dialogue is aimed towards the reunification of Russell Islands Tribal Land Owning Groups and presenting a Reinvestment Program for Russell Islands.
He further told this paper that at this meeting they will produce the ’99 Rock Strategy ii’ and formulating the MOU to be signed between the government and the Russell Islands stakeholders today.
Russell Islands stakeholders comprised of various Russell Islands tribes representatives, representatives from RIPEL former workers and Russell settlers.
SIG consist of the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Fisheries, and Central Islands Provincial Government.
Mr Fenua confirmed that all of the above is part of the government effort to revitalize RIPEL and opening up potential investment opportunities for Russell Islands and Central Province as a whole.