7 Sep 2005

Solomon Islands government considers RIPEL ownership arrangement

6:55 pm on 7 September 2005

The Solomon Islands government says it is only considering a proposal to look at a new ownership arrangement for the Russell Islands Plantation Estate Limited, or RIPEL.

The government's director of communications, Johnson Honimae, says cabinet is looking at ways of resolving the long running dispute.

Workers at RIPEL, who are part-shareholders, have been on strike at the Yandina plantation for 14 months over their demands that the general manager, John Whiteside, be removed.

Mr Honimae says a cabinet decision on a new shareholding plan is yet to be confirmed.

"Cabinet is as yet to make any final decision on an alternate arrangement in the ownership of RIPEL. That's the situation that I've been informed by a senior government officer within the prime minister's office. And, it's part and parcel of the government's bottom up approach."

Mr Honimae says this means that the landowners at Yandina would be approached by the government over any developments in the shareholders arrangement.

There are several shareholders, including the workers, the landowners, the Central Province, central government and ICSL.