The battle over RIPEL land ownership has begun

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By Alfred Sasako

 

UP to 20 people claiming to represent the Lavukal people are expected to arrive in Honiara today, but the trip was last night described as “one without mandate and purpose”.

“They do not represent the people of Lavukal or their interest. So we are wondering why they are coming at all,” Keruval tribal chief Silas Selo told Island Sun.

“I have just met with the Lavukal House of Chiefs and their stand remains unchanged. They do not recognise the Lavukal Land Trust Board nor do they want to have any dealings with foreign businessman, Patrick Wong.”

“We are wondering what they will say. They do not represent anyone nor have they have a mandate to speak on behalf of the Lavukal people.”

The all-men cast was last night boarding the MV Cosco to Honiara following a paid service message, requesting Lavukal Chiefs to travel to Honiara for discussions on the future of RIPEL.

It is not clear who sent the message.

It was rumoured a week ago that Mr Wong who was in Honiara to attend court cases, had indicated that he would want to meet with the Lavukal Trust Board and landowners.

Mr Wong was barred from the country after he was deported over his handling of RIPEL and related matters.

Since Island Sun has revealed his return to Honiara last week, the Malaysian businessman turned Australian citizen, has gone underground.

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