Russell Islanders have welcomed the Government’s investment program and are ready to engage in any development project by genuine investors and government or donor-supported projects.
In a recent meeting with the Government Sub Committee on the Reinvestment and Redevelopment in Russell Islands, the Lavukal House of Chiefs representatives have expressed their excitement and readiness to allow their land and resources for development.
Lavukal Paramount Chief Richard Karima said the government’s reinvestment program for Russell Islands is good news for the people in East and West Russells.
“My people and I will be very happy to welcome any international or local investor who wishes to come and invest in our islands because this ongoing RIPEL issue has been affecting us since it started,” Mr Karima said.
He said his people in the Russells are looking forward to the national government to embark on the program without delay.
Chief Henry West of Lioselen village also expressed the same sentiments saying there is no redevelopment program for Russell Islands for quite a long time.
“After the break down of RIPEL there is no market for our people though we have many resources and products available. This makes life very hard for us,” Mr. West said.
A long time former RIPEL worker Mark Peume of Somata village also expressed his excitement of the government’s investment program.
“We have the potential area for cattle here and I would very much like the government to revive cattle farm and the essential services here apart from copra productions,” Peume said.
Chief John Makiva of Nono Island said he is ever ready to engage with the national and provincial governments and investors to develop his island.
“My island of Nono (massan portion) is a registered land and I believe it has the potential for tourism and cattle development,” he said.
Mr. Makiva appealed for the government to speed up the process of the investment program without delay.
“How long will it take for the government to avail money and assistance to kick start our projects? We need money now to help us and our children to meet our essential needs,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Lavukal House of Chiefs representatives took the challenge to do awareness and called on their people to allow their land and resources for the government’s reinvestment program.
They urged the good people of the Russell Islands to be clear-minded about the government’s investment program and leave aside the RIPEL issue to be dealt with by the responsible bodies from the government, RIPEL, and other concerned members.
“We do not want to be bogged down and confused by the RIPEL issue but we must be clear that the government’s investment program is a different issue for the good of all.”
The National government and Central Provincial Government are embarking on a Reinvestment and redevelopment program in the Russell Islands, which stemmed from the Maralauon Comminique and MOU signed by the Central Provincial Government, CPG, and National Government in 2019.