Dear Editor – The above caption appeared on the cover page of Solomon Star (no. 5621) Friday 19th Sept, 2014 to which I make some clarification however, at the outset let me first say this.
The level of professionalism used to cover the mining issues on West Rennell through the media have been very disappointing, unbalanced and often misleading to say the least.
Jonathan Tohuika, the so-called chairman of the West Rennell Resource Owners Association is a loner.
He is not recognised by the real landowners of West Rennell as a landowner but a land user.
So whatever he says in the media is his own and does not reflect the concerns and aspirations of the people simply because recently, he was given the sum of $37,000 to be used for the work of the association.
As it turns out, the secretary and the treasurer did not have any knowledge of how the money spent until the story eventually surfaced at which time the executives of the association decided to disassociate themselves from the so-called chairman.
Therefore, any statement made by this person is his own thinking and does not reflect the views of the people. In fact the real landowners of west Rennell are optimistic that this mining project headed by APID commences as soon as possible.
The chairman, through media, kept on repeating that there will be chaos and social unrest in the country and threatens that when situation actually arise, it is the Government to be blamed.
It comes as no surprise to us because his lawyer was one of the chief advocators of the recent ethnic tension.
This assertion that there will be chaos is not true. In fact the truth of the matter is that, the people of West Rennell, are concert that if Jonathan succeed in halting the propose mining, the question is, what are we going to do now?
So in other words, can Jonathan come up with an alternative project for West Rennell? It took the people 34 years to wait before another deal is on the table and remember it took APID six solid years to come this far.
The other question I wish to pose with the chairman of West Rennell resource owners association is this – What is your contribution to the welfare of the people of west Rennell?
If the answer is nothing, then my advice is that you stop barking. We have had enough of these fundraising ploys. Enough is enough.
On the other hand, I wish to take this opportunity to thank the hard working PS of the Ministry of Mines and the mining board for their vision in ensuring that this project gets off the ground.
The confusion and problem within the Ministry of Mines as to who should do this and that rest squarely lies on the shoulders of the Director of Mines who is also the chairman of the mining board.
He is the real culprit because common sense will tell us that you cannot mange or direct a ministry if you are an alcoholic.
Sad to mention this but this is the whole truth and I sometimes wonder why the Government kept on entertaining this kind of behaviour.
When you are under the influence of liquor, it would be quite difficult to make sound and considered decisions. So it would be relief for the ministry and all stake holders to remove such person as soon as possible.
The longer the government keeps him there, the higher the chance that West Rennell mining will end up just like the Nickel project in Isabel where two interested companies ended up in court.
My final advice to the PS of Mines is to take sometimes off and visit West Rennell to meet the people and witness the progress so far.
West Rennell Landowners Taskforce