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Landowners haunted by loggers’ lobbying money

MILLIONS of dollars lobbied by interested logging companies is making Temotu Nende landowners unsure what to do.

Landowners of Santa Cruz and the Temotu Nende Resource Land Association are worried by the millions of dollars they have received from logging companies lobbying for their favour.

A well-placed source close to the association said the land owners have received approximately SBD$4million-plus from the logging companies.

This amount of money is purposely for their accommodation, air fares, allowances and their ration during their stay in Honiara.

Members of the association while in Honiara were accommodated in expensive hotels and motels such as Red Mansion, Tandai Sea Front, Green Fly Hotel and Pacific Casino.

Sources, who want their names withheld for security seasons, have expressed their amazement at how much the loggers are willing to spend on the land owners.

“…now these loggers are waiting around the clock, for which company will be in favour from the landowners and the association itself.”

It’s a common practice; loggers spend their money with strings attached. These loggers look forward to covering their losses once in full operation.

The sources revealed that there are three companies currently vying for the log resources in Temotu Nende.

It is said that one of the decisions the association is contemplating is to partition the land into three portions, one for each company.

This idea has been explained as a move to appease all three companies in appreciation for the money they had spent on the land owners during their stay in Honiara.

Meanwhile, with the option to engage only one company, it is still unclear which company will win the landowners’ favour.

Revelation has surfaced that one of these logging companies funded the last Temotu Provincial Government meeting.

It is also alleged that sustainable harvesting of the forest has never come under the association’s radar because they are bitterly worried over the millions the loggers have spent.

Temotu premier Nelson Omar Menale said his government cannot establish developments because he spent more time on prospecting for logging companies that are interested to operate on Santa Cruz.

Premier Menale is said to embrace logging as a revenue earner for the province to implement its policies.

He said currently the province’s financial situation is likely to hit rock bottom; thus logging will rescue Temotu province to rekindle its finances.

The association held their important meetings last week and this week at the Green Fly Hotel.


Freelance Journalist