BY ALFRED PAGEPITU
PEOPLE of Rarumana island are disputing a logging operation at the Iriri Paspas camp, Vonavona lagoon, which is reported to have begun on Monday this week.
A well-placed source in Rarumana told the Island Sun Gizo yesterday that Focus Lumber Enterprises logging company conducted its first transshipment of machines inside the bay without the consent of the chiefs and people of Rarumana.
“Community elders ordered the landing craft on Monday morning not to unload the machines before their approval but the company refused,” the source said.
“Chiefs of Rarumana and other villagers were unhappy with the trustees of Vurangare who made the deal to unload the machines, which were also filled with the giant African snail, at Rarumana.
“Villagers were surprised to see the large boat entering the shore without proper consultations with villagers and chiefs of Rarumana.
“The landing craft ship trespassed and will cause potential pollution to the marine environment within our surroundings.”
It is understood that Focus Lumber Enterprises logging Company began operations this week at Iriri Paspas camp, and the landowners and chiefs of Rarumana are not happy with the trustees of Vurangare for going behind their backs and signing the company.
“Community leaders are working closely with the logging firm to halt the operation until further notice,” the source said.
Meanwhile, people of Rarumana are also fearing the introduction of the giant African snail to their shores.
Many have heard of how lethal the pest can be in destroying vegetation, and are worried for their gardens and the island’s flora.
The source said villagers have been urge not to take the law in their own hand but let responsible parties deal with the matter.
The company could not be reached for comments before this paper went to print.