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Friday, April 25, 2008

RIPEL boss declared by Solomon's government as "persona non grata" and ordered to leave the country

The drawn-out dispute over the Russell Islands Plantation Limited issue in Solomon Islands has resulted in the government declaring the Managing Director of RIPEL, John Whiteside, persona non grata.

The Ministry of Immigration confirmed he was hand delivered a letter late last night, cancelling his permit to be in Solomon Islands, and was told to leave the country within 48 hours.

The estate was a key producer of cocoa and copra products and a major part of the economy until becoming embroiled in ongoing court action with its workers, who have been striking for four years.

Radio New Zealand International correspondent, Dorothy Wickham, says the government has found it difficult to negotiate with Mr Whiteside.

“What they were wanting to do was for him to agree to them actually sitting down with the other shareholders and come to some sort of agreement, that maybe they should sell the company to an outsider who would come in with a fresh start and revitalise the company, however, he didn’t seem interested in that", reports Dorothy Wickham.

Source: RNZI

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