12 May 2005

Solomons plantation firm critical of RAMSI

2:00 pm on 12 May 2005

The chairman of the board of Russell Islands Plantation Estate Limited, Patrick Wong, says the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands has been ineffective at restoring law and order at its plantation.

Workers at the RIPEL copra and cocoa plantation in Yandina have been on strike over pay and working conditions for 12 months.

Two police officers, operating under RAMSI, left the area because water and electricity supplies had been cut in the industrial dispute.

Mr Wong says the firm cannot restore services while it faces continued industrial action, theft and threats.

He says while the Solomons police are doing their best, the police under RAMSI could do more.

"If you read the reports that they have given that they have pulled out other than for power and water, and security reasons, aren't they there to uphold law and order? It means they are pulling out because there is no law and order. So what message are they sending?"

Patrick Wong says he questions why RAMSI chose to exit Yandina, and yet still live and work in other areas that also lack basic services.