By Gary Hatigeva
MEMBER of Parliament for East Malaita and Leader of the Official Opposition, Manasseh Maelanga has expressed his disappointment over what he described as continuous soft approaches taken to deal with the issue of logging in the country.
His point raised came as a follow-up on his question raised on the status of logging operations in various parts of the country, especially the Kakabona operation, which made headlines earlier this year.
Reports were released surrounding concerns over environmental impact the operation will have on the resources and habitat of people living around the area.
Sharing similar sentiments, the Opposition Leader raised huge concerns over the operation, which he thinks should have never been granted licence in the first instance due to its location and impact.
Maelanga also blamed the Ministry of Environment for not doing its job and with ignorance gave green light for the issuance of operational licence to the logging company.
He even claimed that officials responsible are most probably breaching some of their acts through the manner in which reports and evaluations done gave an all-clear for operations to go ahead especially for a location as the Kakabona site.
But the Opposition Leader also blasted the forestry ministry heads for what he described as, making weak stands for the people of this country and not being reactive to ensure operations in such locations never eventuate especially on environment issues.
“If you go down there, the operation has crossed the river and caused some major damages, which people and communities surrounding it rely heavily on.
“It’s not good for us to just say this is straight based on criteria and processes so we have to allow for operations to take place, no I think we need to start reacting to some of these things,” Maelanga stressed.
He added that since responsible government bodies know that logging is one of the main revenue earners for the economy and become too shadowed, they tend not to put hard measures and redirections on loggers.
“But we have to put these measures and if they do not agree to things, then tell them to live. Our authorities too have always been of the view, fearing that by putting in measures will chase these operators away.
“They will not leave because that is their money and they will continue to operate,” the Opposition Leader further added.