The use of country’s patrol boat to confiscate the two ton beche-de-mer on Ontong Java on October last year has been questioned.
It was unclear who has met the cost and for what reason had the patrol boat being used.
According to the director of Maritime Russell Tagin the operation was one of its quarterly joint operations.
Mr Tagini said the operation was part of enforcing the fisheries laws.
Asked as to who is meeting the costs and why the joint quarterly operation targets only Ontong Java, the maritime director said he will not comment further.
The director however confirmed that the patrol boat can be used for joint operations, VIP trips, search and rescue, emergencies, surveillance but not for any other public use.
When Mr Tagini was further asked if the use of the patrol boat was a directive from the ministry of fisheries Mr Tagini said it was just a joint operation.
However when police was asked, their response was it is a directive from the RSIPF operation.
“The matter was a joint operation between police and the fisheries with most of the funding came from the fisheries department.”
However a concerned senior citizen questions why this is a joint operation that specifically targets Ontong Java for that matter.
The senior citizen who wish to remain anonymous said according to information he got, the so called joint operation was actually a directive on the request of a member of parliament (MP) purposely to confiscate the beche-de-mers as illegal products from the people of Ontong Java and use their power to benefit from it when the product was sold.
Dr Reginald Aipia who owned the beche-de-mers also questioned why police and fisheries has to use the patrol boat.
Dr Aipia said if police and fisheries truly undertake a joint operation, why target them only and even so did not go with a cessation receipt or confiscation warrant.
He said anyone in his right mind can tell that this so called joint operation is unplanned and is only a politically masterminded thing to disadvantage and bribe his people from their livelihood.
Dr Aipia then questioned who will the government of the day represent, assist and will defend.
“Is the government there to protect its people and assist them or to disadvantage them and rip them off their rights over their resources (beche-de-mer) and their livelihood?” Dr Aipia questioned.
Meanwhile Dr Aipia said it will be interesting to see if the patrol will be used again in the name of joint operation between police and fishery to go back to Ontong Java and confiscate the beche-de-mers again the second time.
As the beche-de-mers that were confiscated during a so called joint operation in October last year where from ontong Java to Honiara and were later reportedly stolen days after from the ministry of fisheries compound had already been sent back to where it came from in Ontong Java.
Those beche-de-mers were weighed 1,598 kilograms and is worth more than SBD$10 million (US$1.3 million).
By Daniel Namosuaia