22 Jun 2011

Long-standing Russell Islands dispute step closer to resolution

6:07 am on 22 June 2011

The Solomon Islands government has brought a long-standing dispute between Russell Islands Plantation Limited or RIPEL and the national workers union a step closer to resolution.

The Solomon Star reports that shareholders in the plantation company have given unanimous support for a settlement proposal in which the government will take over RIPEL.

RIPEL was a key producer of cocoa and copra products and a major contributor to the economy until it became embroiled in court action with the workers and union seven years ago.

Once the agreements are sealed and the mortgagee, Pacific Finance, is paid, current RIPEL owners can leave and local shareholders relinquish their shares.

The Prime Minister Danny Philip and RIPEL's chairman, Patrick Wong, wouldn't disclose the amount the government will be paying Pacific Finance but a one landowner says the deal is worth almost four million US dollars.