BY JARED KOLI
A Temotu man wants the Transparency Solomon Islands (TSI) to extend its office to Temotu Province to monitor corrupt activities taking place there.
This sentiment follows the Opposition Leader’s call on the Commissioner of Forests to suspend Xian Ling Timber (SI) Ltd’s logging licence for the damage the company is causing to the Lata airstrip runway; and to direct the company to repair the damage immediately.
Jason Moi thanked Opposition Leader Matthew Wale for his concern on the issue. He said it was sad to see a different person from different constituency concern about Temotu and question Temotu leaders for being tightlipped on the issue.
“That is why we want TSI to extend its office to Lata in Temotu province to monitor corrupt and illegal activities taking place in Temotu province,” said Mr Moi.
Speaking as a member of the Nende Resources Development Association (NRDA), Moi said he supported the call by Wale for the Commissioner of Forest to act on the issue and suspend the logging company’s felling licence.
He urged the premier of Temotu to act on the logging issue which he alleged as illegal.
“The provincial leaders know well that what the logging company has been doing in the province is illegal but they have done nothing about it,” Moi claimed.
The Opposition Leader’s call follows a recent report that the company’s ongoing use of the runway as a logging road is destroying the condition of the runway making it unsafe for planes to land.
Wale described this as ‘reckless attitude’ and posed safety concerns on the resulting in Solomon Airlines raising safety concerns over the company’s activities.
Wale said it is mandatory under Solomon Islands laws for logging companies to build their own operation related roads and to respect public and private property.
The issue was widely debated in social media. However, several commentators termed the report as ‘misleading’ saying there is no logging operation near Lata airport.
“This is news to me. Are log trucks really using Lata Airport? If so for what reason as there is no logging’s concession area within 20km vicinity of airport. Wasn’t this referring XL Landcruiser?
“If so then they are just like the rest vehicle owners using the airport runway as access to adjacent settlements. And for the latter, best solution upgrade the Airport and fence it,” a Lata resident commented in a local Facebook forum.
Xiang Lin (SI) Limited has also strongly denied any damages caused in the Lata airstrip runway.
In a statement to Island Sun, the company demanded an immediate apology from the Parliamentary Opposition Leader and editors of Solomon Star and Island Sun newspaper for publishing the story which they say is “false and misleading.”