26 Apr 2017

Logging a source of frustration in Solomons province

4:21 pm on 26 April 2017

There are more signs that promised benefits from logging have not materialised in Solomon Islands' Temotu province.

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Photo: Supplied

Operations by Malaysian company Galego Logging remain at the heart of bitter divisions on Vanikoro Island.

A teacher who is a Vanikoro native, Edward Pae, has just returned to Honiara from his home island where he compiled updates on issues around controversial logging activities.

He said a local political leader who paved the way for the company to operate on Vanikoro several years ago promised locals that the loggers would bring development, but a significant proportion of local people now opposed logging which had not brought promised benefits.

"Like improving infrastructure and roads, clinics, wharves. The developer also promised ot build the airport. But up to now, they only cleared the land, but they never went into building it properly for planes to land. There's totally no infrastructure developments on the land at the moment."

He said that after five years of the logging operations, numerous environmental damages have accumulated, including disruption of water sources which local villages rely on.

Mr Pae also said ten men facing court in Solomon Islands were wrongly arrested over a year ago for destroying logging equipment, according to a local teacher.

In February last year, police from Temotu's capital Lata were dispatched to Vanikoro after the destruction of machines belonging to Galego Logging.

Mr Pae said ten young men were wrongly blamed for the actions of others.

"Actually those ten men never did anything. They just stand to protest over the logging machinery coming in to their land. Sadly the police officers in Lata, they went over to Vanikoro and arrested those ten people. Currently they are still in Lata, awaiting their court..."