A police officer has questioned why Russell Islands Plantation Estates Limited (RIPEL) general manager John Whiteside is still here despite not having a work or residential permit.
The officer, who asked not to be named, said this is quite surprising because no foreigner who has no work or residential permit should be allowed to live here.
Whiteside’s residency and working permit expired on the 6th June 2013.
Although he applied for his permits to be renewed, the Lilo government instead chose to deport him.
He was issued a deportation order by immigration on the 9th June 2013.
But Whiteside challenged the order and although he was allegedly abducted and taken to the airport to be put on a flight to Fiji, immigrations failed to get him on the plane due to last minute arrangements.
Whiteside said that he lodged his application for renewal of his work permit to the Commissioner of Labour on 19th February 2013.
“No appropriate response was received, and then afterward, no lawful or valid reason was given by the Commissioner of Labour to refuse granting my renewal.”
It’s understood after the unsuccessful attempt to deport him, Whiteside sued then prime minister Gordon Darcy Lilo and the Immigration Department over his alleged kidnapping.
The case is still before the High Court.
It was alleged that on Sunday 9th June 2013, at 02.30am, Whiteside was abducted, assaulted and falsely imprisoned at the Rove police headquarters.
“At midday the High Court ordered Whiteside’s release.
“Instead of complying with the Court order, however, and in contempt of the Court orders, a failed attempt was made to kidnap Whiteside by unlawful deportation (no deportation order existed at that time) and Whiteside was again kept falsely imprisoned, in contempt of Court orders, until 09pm.”
The Sogavare government says it intends to seriously reopen the coconut plantations in the Russell islands owned by RIPEL.
The operation, once a major contributor to the national coffer, was shut down following a long drawn industrial dispute between RIPEL and its workers.
By STEPHEN DI’ISANGO