14 Dec 2011

RIPEL warns future Solomons' investors after lengthy legal experience

4:07 pm on 14 December 2011

The general manager of the Russell Islands Plantation Estates Limited, or RIPEL, is warning potential foreign investors in Solomon Islands to consider his company's experience before committing their money.

This comes after RIPEL won a seven year court battle.

RIPEL was a key producer of cocoa and copra products until it became embroiled in court action with striking workers in 2004.

The workers had accused the company of human rights abuses, mismanagement and unfair dismissals.

But the Court of Appeal recently dismissed the union's bid to overturn a March High Court ruling ordering it to pay the company just over nine-hundred-thousand US dollars in compensation for unlawful strike action, damage to property and other criminal acts.

John Whiteside says while the company is happy it wants to warn other investors about their experience.

"History speaks for itself. If you want to go invest in a country you should go have a very close look at what is going on in that country and what's happening to investors in that country, before you decide to go any further. And the enforcement of law is a major issue here in the Solomon Islands, not just for our company RIPEL, we are not an isolated case."

John Whiteside, general manager of RIPEL.