Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has assured the government is fully committed to the reopening of Russell Islands Plantation Estate Limited, RIPEL.
The Prime Minister made the comments during the recent Central Provincial second appointed day celebrations at Marulaon Island in the Russell Islands.
Mr Sogavare said RIPEL was a government priority, and that they were treating the reopening process strategically.
He said the issue of RIPEL was complicated and would take time but assured the people of the province that the government was capable and
committed to RIPEL.
“The concern raised by the RIPEL Taskforce has not fallen on deaf ears, since we took government we made sure that it must operate again,” he said.
“Russell Islands host probably the largest coconut plantation in the Southern Hemisphere, and we must make use of this resource.”
Prime Minister Sogavare also said it is a shame to see RIPEL plantations remaining idle over the past years, and urged landowners and the provincial government to work closely with the national
government in finding pathways of rejuvenating the plantations.
SIBC recently toured the area, which was closed in 2003, witnessed the first hand the state of Yandina station, which was once an economic hotspot for the province.
Russell islanders had been voicing their concerns for years regarding the Yandina station, and SIBC understands the statement by the prime minister was met with positivity in the community.