5 May 2005

Solomon Islands firm appeals for police to restore order

3:29 pm on 5 May 2005

Russell Islands Plantation Estates in Solomon Islands is calling on police to restore law and order at the Yandina plantation where the firm says it is under siege.

Company heads are in Honiara for a High Court hearing set for tomorrow into an alleged contempt of court case by members of the National Union of Workers and others.

This comes amid a year-long row that's seen police under attack and wounded by striking workers as they tried to shield workers attempting to load copra and cocoa onto a ship.

The firm's general manager, John Whiteside, says the firm cannot operate, or even restore electricity and water, while it faces continued industrial action and threats.

He says the Royal Solomon Islands Police and the Participating Police Force, operating under the Regional Assistance Mission, must do more to restore law and order.

"We're just calling upon the law enforcement agencies to uphold and maintain law and order, that's all. We're not asking them to get involved with the industrial dispute or anything, we're dealing with that and that will be eventually sorted out. But, our concern is all these criminal activities that are ongoing all the time, which makes it impossible for us to do anything. It's impossible for us to ship fuel in, it's impossible for us to generate income to pay for fuel, it's impossible for us to run our water pumps and our power plants and all that sort of thing."

John Whiteside.