Spokesman for the Oceanic Trading Company (OTC) has rebuffed media statement that the company has bypassed the legal processes to acquire felling licenses on central Rennell, Renbell province.
Speaking to the Solomon Star, Jefter Tuhangenga said it is a poor excuse from some people who claimed that OTC did not comply with logging processes after the machines were landed.
He was responding to the front page article carried by the Solomon Star last Friday.
Tuhangenga explained that OTC met all the requirements demanded by the Ministry of Forest and the Renbell province, by going through the process of Timber Rights Hearing, thus it is pathetic for those who complain at this stage.
“Where were these complainants during the event of the Timber Rights hearing?” Tuhangenga questioned.
He said the process of Timber hearing provide all the rights for any grieving party to discuss and consult with the provincial government and the loggers on the proposed logging, which was successfully held.
He added that after the Timber hearing, a 30 days’ notice was issued for any grieving person to file a case with the Customary Land Appeal Court (CLAC), but none of these complainants did that.
Hence, Tuhangenga said it is a waste of time for people to say this and that at this time after OTC came through the right processes, to acquire felling license on Central Rennell.
“We have gone through the process to ship our machines so our work can continue,” he stressed.
OTC spokesman also expressed his disappointment with the Rennell-Bellona provincial government for the media statement, which denies having any knowledge about the company’s operation.
Tuhangenga said province should not advocate against the company because their logging operation will help to develop the island.
He said province knew very well of the issue and they are the ones approving the application by landowners for OTC to enter their land.
He said province should not respond that way to the media, adding that it is not the appropriate statement from the government agency against a government program, invited by landowners.
On the issue of threats to the World Heritage site, OTC spokesman said it is 6 kilometres away from Lake Tengano, therefore the operation is not a threat to the environment, but rather will construct good roads for tourists to access the World Heritage site.
He went on to say that the issue of threats to the environment of Lake Tengano is the use of many outboard motor (OBM) in the lake for transport and the construction of a new road by the former MP, through villages besides the lake.
He concluded that East Rennellese should look at the economic benefits that this logging operation will bring to improve poor road conditions and provide money for them to develop their homes to attract tourists, instead of waiting for NGOs for more than 20 years to develop Lake Tengano.
By AATAI JOHN