BY LORETTA BRIGIDIA MANELE
SOLOMON Islands Environmental Law Association (SIELA) yesterday proceeded into the second day of its “Policies and Legislation Workshop” for Divisional Heads within Honiara City Council’s (HCC) Management.
The workshop is tailored to provide information on environmental-related laws from SIELA including the participation of partner and enforcement agencies namely; the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology (MECDM), the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR), the Ministry of Forestry and Director of Public Prosecution Office.
It seeks rigorous discussions and group activities to better understand the roles of Honiara City Council and identify possible partnerships and collaborations that link the different legislations with the work of the council.
It was in the workshop that Mr George Titiulu, HCC’s Head of the Environmental Health Division talked on offences under the Pure Food Act 1996.
He said that offences under the Act include; the display of expired goods, mandatory labelling and unhygienic conditions of eating outlets.
Mr Titiulu said under their power, they can seize goods, condemn them, enter places and demand closure and investigate issues.
The penalties for these offences as he explained are; a fine of $1000 for a first time offence, $1500 if the offence is still committed the second time around and $2000 if the offence continues to be committed.
Mr Titiulu stated that recently they had to close down a number of eating outlets because they committed the offence of operating under unhygienic conditions.
He mentioned that one of the challenges they have come across is the issue of foreign food labelling.
Mr Titiulu said collected fines from offences under the Pure Food Act 1996 when totaled almost reach $100,000.
Meanwhile, SIELA chair and facilitator of the workshop, Ms. Senoveva Mauli expressed that it was a first time opportunity for some of the participants.
“We note, the important role of this agency and are keen to continue this partnership”, she said.
The workshop which kicked off on May 23rd will conclude today with focus on group activities involving Honiara City Council’s (HCC) enforcement team.