‘Ignorance of law is no excuse’

Environment Ministry permanent secretary Joshua Wycliffe (left) and director environment Sandeep Singh in Nadi earlier this week. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

ENVIRONMENT Ministry permanent secretary Joshua Wycliffe says business developers cannot plead ignorance for not complying with environment laws.

“The law is the law before you get into any kind of business,” he said.

“Many businesses have legal divisions or external lawyers to help them, so no one can say that ‘I didn’t know’ because as a business you are meant to know the law before you engage in a business.”

Mr Wycliffe said businesses found in breach of the Environment Act would be taken to task, but they were also presented with an opportunity to work with the Environment Department to prevent further breaches.

“This is what we do for businesses if they have breached.

“If you have breached, the law will take its course, but on the other hand we are happy to work with you if you come and ask us to work with you.

“We can work with you to show you the right thing and the right way to work.

“We are open to answer your questions.

“A breach is a breach and that has its own process, but we are also willing to continue to work with them and show them the right things to do and ensure that they follow the law.”

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