TRANSPARENCY Solomon Islands says it is encouraging to see an authority using its powers to actually enforce the law.
This week, the country’s giant logging company Earth Movers Solomons Limited has been served with a seizure notice by the Commissioner of Forest.
The seizure notice was given following reports the company failed to comply with a suspension letter the Commissioner of Forest issued to them on March 31th 2014.
“When companies are apparently operating outside of the law, authorities must act,” says Transparency Solomon Islands Executive Officer Daniel Fenua.
“When laws are not enforced it creates a culture of impunity,undermines national laws and erodes public trust in state institutions.”
He further added that TSI’sAdvocacy and Legal Advice Centre has receiveda lot of complaints related to the logging industry that highlight the lack of enforcement by responsible authorities.
These cases involve companies that have been issued with a ‘Stop Notice’ from the Ministry of Environment and landowners who have obtained Injunction Orders from the High Court but still the logging operations continue.
As a result, landowners feel frustrated.
They complain that they have spent their own money to defend their land and resources.
They have received legal advice that the law is being broken but they feel no one is assisting them.
“If the Commissioner of Forest can enforce forest regulation, then what is stopping other state authorities from exercising their power, because by enforcing the law,resource owner who seek justice can receive justice.” Mr. Fenua said.
TSI will continue to demand accountability from authority responsible for the enforcement of the law.