The Solomon Islands Parliamentary Opposition Group is calling on the Government to inform the nation on the proposition to revive the Russel Islands Plantations Estate Limited (RIPEL).
As has been widely reported, the Government has established a cabinet sub- committee late last year to work on reviving RIPEL.
However, since the establishment of the sub-committee the Government has not made any progress nor were there any reports on any work done by the RIPEL sub-committee.
In a released Statement, the Opposition would like to remind the Government that the tax payers of this county who are footing the bill for the sub-committee needs to know the progress of the RIPEL issue.
The statement said the question that also needs to be asked is whether the RIPEL cabinet sub-committee has achieved any noticeable progress in the Government’s plan to revitalize RIPEL.
As the responsible Government, it has a duty to inform the people of this country on this very important issue. As we all know, RIPEL has been a vital agricultural industry for this county and that during its peak years it has immensely contributed to the economy of this county.
As such, the Opposition Group has called on the Government and whoever is responsible for the cabinet sub-committee to make available in the public domain what has been achieved so far.
The Opposition said in March last year the Prime Minister met with Luvakal Trust Board in which the Prime Minister assured the trustees that the Government would settle some of the complex issues surrounding RIPEL by the end of that year.
The assurance was made on March 17th of 2015 and we are now heading towards the end of 2016 with nothing concrete.
The statement said the Prime Minister, his so-called national consultants and the chairman of the cabinet sub-committee on RIPEL must speak up or this could be seen as another same old political rhetoric.
The Parliamentary Opposition adds that the coconut plantation at Russel Islands is the largest in the southern hemisphere and its revival will certainly boost the economy.
The Opposition also reminded the Government that the Prime Minister has always talked about the diversification of our export base; therefore, if the Prime Minister is genuinely concerned then he should show commitment in reviving RIPEL.
Otherwise, the Opposition would maintain that all these talks about diversification of export base are simply ‘hot airs’ for political convenience,” the Opposition statement says.
It’s enough of sweet talks. We need to see real development happening on the ground not only with RIPEL but other major projects promised by the Government.
The Opposition Group said RIPEL like many other promises by the Government will become nothing but political rhetoric if the Government remains stagnant on major projects around the country.
Source: Press Release, Office of the Leader of Opposition