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G-Province gov’t meets with forest investors

GUADALCANAL Provincial Executives and backbenchers met with licensees, managers and officials of active logging companies operating on Guadalcanal yesterday in Honiara.

The meeting emanates from a resolution reached during the 3rd Joint Coordinating Committee Meeting which took place in September 2016.

It was resolved then, that to have ring-roads and cross-island roads a possibility to explore is to connect existing logging roads.

As a follow-through, the office of the Guadalcanal Province initiated a one-day open dialogue forum where concerned parties convened and openly discussed the matter.

Guadalcanal Premier Hon Anthony Veke explained to the investors that the purpose of the meeting is to present his government’s policy intention on road infrastructure around Guadalcanal.

“This avenue today is the first of its kind for Guadalcanal Government to be meeting with you loggers.

“It is also time that we hear from you, your side of the story on challenges and issues affecting your operations,” Premier Veke said.

He furthered that “the meeting today is not to force anyone (Loggers) to commit and signed any binding legal documents, rather it is a platform space created for all of us here to participate and discuss openly on how we can realize this policy intention”.

Austin Holmes of Earthmovers Solomons Limited assured the floor of his company’s support on what he termed an ‘extremely positive initiative’ by Guadalcanal Province.

He spoke highly of the idea and thank the Premier for the initiative and rendered Earthmover’s support.

Outspoken Chief and Licensee Mr Billy Masedi highlighted two major issues that need urgent attention, ‘Disputes’ and our ‘Land Tenure System’.

He observed these two to be major impediments to any development on Guadalcanal.

Once these are fixed, road access is not a problem, he said.

Guadalcanal Senior Lands Officer Mr Benedict Tova talked on issues of legislative gaps whilst Deputy Premier Hon Peter Aoraunisaka informed the participants that G-Province has an ‘Investor Ordinance’ that is still in its draft stage.

The positive turnout of licensees, contractor investors and official with their participation in the discussion is encouraging as far as the province is concerned.

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