Government in disarray over SABL land grab?
The government appears to be in disarray over the SABL land grab with everyone from the Prime Minister down singing from a different song book. But are the PM and his Ministers just running around like a bunch of headless chickens or is the apparent confusion really a smokescreen to hide the fact they have no intention of cancelling the unlawful leases or stopping the logging?
This week the Prime Minister said the delay in canceling the SABL leases is down to the Department of Lands ‘dragging its feet” and leaseholders taking legal actions [Post Courier, 13 January].
This directly contradicts his Chief Secretary who late last year said the delay was due to the need for legislation as no powers exist to cancel the leases.
But Lands Minister Benny Allen is telling yet a different story. He says his Department has no intention of canceling the SABLs and is instead preparing a submission to NEC proposing the leases be converted to registered land. [Loop PNG 13 January – warning, ignore the silly headline!]
Meanwhile Forest Minister, Douglas Tomuriesa, doesn’t know what all the fuss is about. According to him it doesn’t matter if the SABLs are valid or not he is not going to stop the logging companies from carrying on their forest clearances.
With more than 5 million cubic metres of logs, worth more than $500 million having already been exported from the SABL areas it is clear the Prime Minister was right when he told Parliament the foreign owned logging companies have conned landowners and are chopping down their forests and taking the proceeds offshore [September 2013]
Unfortunately the PM seems to have failed to convince his Forest Minister – or is he too happy to see the logging continue while he protests his own innocence in the whole affair?
What can we conclude from all this?
Clearly someone is paying someone to make sure nothing happens!
And either the PM has completely no control over his government or he and his Ministers are happy to be seen running around like headless chooks in order to try and cover up their complicity in the illegal logging and land grabbing.