22 Jun 2012

Solomon Islands premier calls on government to settle RIPEL saga

8:07 am on 22 June 2012

The Premier of Solomon Islands' Central Province is calling on the government to settle the long-running issue with the company Russell Islands Plantation Estate Limited as a matter of urgency.

The government says it has given the Central Bank 24 million Solomon Islands dollars it owes to RIPEL but says it is being held until the company's chairman can prove he invested foreign money into RIPEL.

The Premier, Patterson Mae says there is no reason why the money should not be given to RIPEL.

He says when the government and RIPEL agreed the sum would be paid in local currency, it resolved the need for the Central Bank to seek evidence of a foreign loan.

"The issue here now is for the government to settle the RIPEL saga, so that the province can find investors to rehabilitate the Russell Islands plantations and for the province's economic recovery. I think this is very important to us."

Patterson Mae says by not settling the dispute, people of Russell Islands are being deprived of their rights to develop tourism and other economic activities.