16 Nov 2004

Solomon Islands officials say no foreign influence on forestry bill

7:21 am on 16 November 2004

The Solomon Islands environment department has denied claims that foreigners are influencing draft laws on forestry.

The Permanent Secretary of the department, Steve Likaveke, angrily denies the allegations made by two members of cabinet who have criticised the bill saying it doesn't protect landowners.

He says the advisors assisting the ministry may be sharing their experience, but a revision of the bill has been on the government's agenda for the last five years.

Mr Likaveke says it doesn't reflect well on the leaders' trust in the ability of Solomon Islanders to make their judgements and decisions, concerning important issues that affect their natural resources.

The Forest Bill 2004 is being prepared for tabling in parliament in two weeks' time but has attracted criticism from some political leaders.