Australian Logging Company Defies Opposition, Heads To Dokoso Land Off Vangunu Island, Western Province

Spread the love

PRIVATE VIEWPOINT: An Australian Owned Logging Company Has Departed For Dokoso Customary Land, Southeast Of Vangunu Island Despites Very Strong Opposition from Zaira Based Dokoso Tribal Land Owners

  • Contact: 7970443

AN Australian-owned logging company named ‘Renown Surf & Cargo Limited’ has landed its logging machineries and skidding houses at Madou; an old logging camp near Vura village, Southeast of Vangunu Island. Renown Surf & Cargo Limited had been operating on Rodo Customary land, Southwest of Vangunu Island since 2016 to date. A barge filled with logging machinery and skidding houses had completed loading in the afternoon of Saturday 22nd April 2023. Around 1 am Sunday 23rd April 2023; the tug boat with its barge departed Havana Logging Camp near Seghe for Madou Bay. They arrived at Madou at 6 am on Sunday 22nd April 2023. Thomas Crawford, an Australian citizen who first came into the country as a member of RAMSI Contingent was the sole owner of Renown Surf & Cargo Limited.

Renown Surf & Cargo Limited was contracted by Domavola Company Limited {Licensee} to carry out logging operations on Dokoso Customary Land on its behalf. Domavola Company Limited was a locally owned company registered in the Company Haus on 14/9/2021.

The initial directors were Heinz Horst Bodo Dettke, Wayne Maepioh, Ireke Harrington and Jimmy Sura Simeon.

On 18/1/2022, Domavola Company Limited applied to the Commissioner of Forest for Timber Rights over Dokoso Customary Land.

The granters/consenters were Ferrol Dai, Ian Kuku, Lawson Kuku, Darcy Timothy, Ireke Harrington and Jimmysura Simeon.

On 18/1/2022 the COF endorsed the application and instructed the Provincial Secretary of the WPG to issue a Public Notice and hold a Public Hearing as required by the FRTU Act.

Surprisingly, there was no TR Public Notice displayed. And there was no TR Public Hearing held. Everything was done behind closed doors in Gizo and Honiara. Wow! What a well-coordinated move. On 8/3/2022, WPE held an Extra – Ordinary Meeting in Gizo, Chaired by Premier Hon. Christian B. Mesepitu.

This meeting was held purposely to determine the application by Domavola Company Limited. On 9/3/2022, the WPE made its determination in favour of the applicant. There was no Form II {Public Notice} displayed.

On 18/5/2022, the COF issued a Felling License No. A1022001 to Domavola Company Limited.

On 2/6/2022, Domavola Co.Ltd prepared its Technology and Marketing Agreement. Around August 2022; Thomas Crawford paid off Heinz Horst Bodo Dettkes’ shares from Domavola Logging Company Limited.

On 9/9/2022, a Public Hearing on the EIA Report was held in Zaira Village. This hearing was in relation to an application made by Domavola Co. Ltd for Development Consent.

On 1/11/2022 the Director of Environment {Joe Horokou} granted the Development Consent to Domavola Co.Lt amidst strong objections from Zaira and Honiara-based Dokoso tribal land owners.

On 9/12/2022 Renown Surf & Cargo Ltd submitted its Annual Harvesting Plan to the Ministry of Forest & Research {MOFR} for approval. The AHP was approved in the first week of April 2023. Now, armed with a Felling License No. A1022001, a Development Consent and the recently approved Annual Harvesting Plan {AHP}; Renown Surf & Cargo Limited had stepped up its plan to start operation on Dokoso Customary Land. The only thing that they need to do is to clear off a few legal cases pending before the Local Court, High Court and Environment Advisory Committee.

Whilst, Thomas Crawford was already on cloud nine {9}; dreaming wildly; a new development has emerged in recent months. Right inside his own circle; his helmsmen – Jimmysura Simeon, Ferrol Dai, Ireke Harrington, Lawson Kuku, Ian Kuku, Darcy Timothy and Wayne Maepioh were deserting him. A rift had occurred for some reasons known only to them. In April 2023, Domavola Company Limiteds’ Felling License No. A1022001 was said to have been cancelled and the company was dissolved.

On 6/3/2023, Jimmysura Simeon, Ferrol Dai, Ireke Harrington, Lawson Kuku, Ian Kuku, Darcy Timothy, Wayne Maepioh and James Shanti Parsad {Heinz Horst Bodo Dettkes’ key man} registered a new company under the name “Lupa Chipuru One Limited” at the Company Haus. The shareholders of this new company were Ireke Harrington, Wayne Maepioh, James Shanti Parsad and Jimmysura Simeon. Each of them had a 25% share in this company.

Landscape at Dokoso Land, Vangunu Island, Western Province. PHOTO: Jino Hanz Here.

Definitely, Thomas Crawford was now being deserted. I don’t know if he realized it. But this is an old game commonly and tactically played by Marovo Loggers. So, if one is not smart enough; he/she will be crying over spilt milk. Our record shows that at the beginning of 2023; Thomas Crawford had bought all the shares from Domavola Company Limited meaning; he is the sole owner of the company. Sometime in February & March 2023; Jimmysura Simeon and his boys issued a 30 days notice to Thomas Crawford & others.

Furthermore, Jimmysura Simeon and his group withdrew the Standard Logging Agreement {SLA} which they signed with Renown Surf & Cargo Limited. Worst still, a total of three locally registered logging companies were formed by the same people (Jimmysura Simeon, Ireke Harrington, Wayne Maepioh & others) in an attempt to operate Dokoso Customary Land. The first logging company formed in 2020 was Dokoso Lumber Company Limited. Secondly, Domavola Company Limited was formed in 2021. And the latest in 2023 was Lupa Chipuru One Limited. Out of these three; only Domavola Company Limited was granted the Development Consent on 1/11/2023.

Surprisingly, the COF kept issuing Felling Licenses to these mushrooms like logging companies. The first Felling License {No.A102002} was issued to Dokoso Lumber Company Limited on 1/7/2021 but was cancelled in December 2021. The second Felling License {No.A1022001} was issued to Domavola Company Limited on 18/5/2022 but was cancelled in March 2023. The third Felling License {N/AV} was said to be issued to Lupa Chipuru One Limited in April 2023.

Now, that Renown Surf & Cargo Limited had landed its machinery at Madou; many questions have arisen. Did Renown Surf & Cargo Ltd have a valid Felling License to operate on Dokoso Customary Land? Why did Renown Surf & Cargo Ltd have to land its machinery in a different customary land {Madou} which is not the concession area it has been contracted to operate? Why didn’t they land at Oloana Bay? They sailed past Oloana Bay; their initial proposed Camp site situated inside Dokoso Customary Land. Madou is 3km away from Oloana Bay; an hour’s walk. What are the COF and MFR going to do now? Be informed that Metro Team Company Limited is currently operating inside Lot 16 LR515 {Government Land}. Madou is inside the concession area of Metro Team Company Limited. Is it right for two different logging companies operating together in a concession area belonging to one of them? This is the situation now facing Renown Surf & Cargo Ltd and Metro Team Co.Ltd.

Soil Erosion caused by logging operations on the Island. PHOTO: Jino Hanz Here.

Lest we forget, these two logging companies had a reputation for playing dirty tricks and breaching many of the Forestry and Environment Acts and regulations. As soon as they are given an opportunity to go in; they become a formidable force.

The Forestry Bill must be quickly tabled in parliament this year. A lot of loopholes are in place making it very easy for corrupt practices to be left unattended and undetected. We are now witnessing the back door dirty deals unfolding and exposing themselves to the public. Land is a very sacred commodity in our customs. The moment you play around with it; you will feel its backfire.

The guardians of Dokoso Land are silently waiting, listening and watching from the ridges of Varimade and Kikinani. The spirits of our ancestors are alive and continuously hovering over the tribal land of Dokoso waiting to see the kind of development that is going to disturb their land.

God Bless this beautiful land. And may God bless its beautiful people who fearlessly stand to protect their birthright from intruders, aliens, thieves, bullies and money lovers. We know what development is best for our land. Leave us to decide our own destiny.

God bless the blind and the cripple!

Spread the love
Default image
News Desk
Articles: 232

Leave a Reply