Gov’t tell us
Tell the nation what you achieved in RIPEL talks in Brisbane: Keruval land trust board chairman
RUSSELL Islands’s Keruval Tribe Land Trust Board Chairman, Silas Selo, has called on the government to tell the nation what its delegation had achieved in recent talks on RIPEL in Brisbane.
“It’s been almost a month since the delegation returned, and we have heard nothing on the outcome of the talks with businessman Patrick Wong and Levers Solomon Ltd in Brisbane,” Mr Selo said.
Delegation members included the Secretary to Cabinet (STC), the Attorney General and the Chief of Staff, Robson Djokovich, who said afterwards the delegation had achieved what it “had in mind before going into the talks”, and suggested there was no need to disclose details as the government had achieved its objectives.
The chairman of the Solomon Islands National Provident Fund, Peter Boyers, also travelled with the delegation to Brisbane but denied he was attending the meeting.
Mr Selo said it was apparent some government officials used such negotiations as a fundraising drive.
“RIPEL and Hell’s Point are projects of national interests. The people of Solomon Islands are therefore entitled to know what is going on,” Mr Selo, a community chief on Moe Village on Russell Islands.
On Monday Mr Selo urged the government not to pay a $50 million payout ordered by the High Court, saying the claimant, Patrick Wong, never brought a single penny to develop RIPEL.
“As everyone knows, the Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI) blocked the initial payment of USD3 million for RIPEL because there was no record of investment money Mr Wong had put into RIPEL.
“It would be silly of the government to proceed with the $50 million payout claim, knowing full well Mr Wong never brought any money into Solomon Islands. Why should he get paid for nothing?” Mr Selo said.
“It is equally important that the recent government delegation to Brisbane inform the Solomon Islands public what it achieved in the talks. We also want to know why the Chairman of the SINPF had travelled to Brisbane at the same time as the government delegation.
“Is it indicative of government intention to make further borrowings from SINPF in order to make the $50 million payout?” he asked.
“The public needs to know and the only people who could enlighten us on this are the members of the government delegation to Brisbane,” Mr Selo said.