No permits for logging violators

Source: The National

FOREST Minister Douglas Tomuriesa has assured Parliament that he will not renew any permits or agreements for logging companies that do not comply with the country’s laws.

He said that yesterday in response to Manus MP Ronny Knight’s concerns of a foreign logging company operating in the West Coast of his district.

“Logging has again been done in the Nyada-Lessau area of Manus by a company called Super Green,” Knight told the House.

“The clan called the Vasu Land Group, a registered clan incorporated and registered under the Lands Department, has given no permission in any shape or form for logging to proceed.”

Knight said it was extremely irritating that the company, of Malaysian origin, had the same workmen and operators that logged over a third of the area without fulfilling its commitments years ago were again taking his people’s inheritance.

He said after 25 years, the West Coast of Manus had nothing to show for logging and the associated deals and agreements.

“The operation has begun without the consent of the legal landowners. I have letters here from major clans and 13 sub-clans demanding immediate halt to this highly illegal operation which I will hand over to the minister.

“The damage has killed the coastal reef and impacted fishing in a substantial level around that area. Has this company lodged a complete operational plan inclusive of environmental plans?”

Knight asked if proper permits and licences for the operations were granted and if so how did it bypass the two MPs and the local government.

“The main thing is that all investors must respect the laws of this country. If you operate within the forest industry, you must respect the laws governing the forestry industry,” Tomuriesa said.

“We conducted investigation and have directed our people to halt the operations in that area.”

Tomuriesa said there were a lot of illegal logging activities in the country and it involved some of the major operators. 

He said there were processes in place and if some operators breached these processes their agreements with the government would be reviewed.

“We will go through their agreements and make certain that one of the things that the logging industry has missed out in the country is their community obligations and we will make sure that they meet their obligations.”