NCE stands by its open letter: Brown

03 Feb 2017 11:00am
WINDHOEK, 03 FEB (NAMPA) – The Namibia Chamber of Environment (NCE) said it stands by its letter expressing outrage at Chinese nationals’ involvement in wildlife crimes in Namibia.
The chamber, representing 40 Namibian environmental organisations, handed over the open letter to the Chinese Embassy in Windhoek in December.
Chinese Ambassador-designate to Namibia, Qiu Xuejun then filed a complaint with the Ministry of Environment, saying the NCE’s letter contained unreasonable accusations and speculation.
After a meeting between Qiu and Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism Tommy Nambahu last month, the ministry issued a statement, saying the views expressed in the NCE’s letter are inflammatory and not the views of Government.
Contacted for comment on Wednesday, NCE Chief Executive Officer, Chris Brown said Namibia is a country that upholds the right of freedom of speech, adding it is sometimes easier for non-governmental organisations to speak the truth about a situation in clear and unequivocal terms than it is for Government.
“We fully understand the difficult role that Government has to play in its task of balancing national interests,” said Brown.
The group said in the letter that some Chinese in Namibia have drawn attention to themselves and their nationality through their blatant disregard of Namibia’s legal and environmental values.
“We are also concerned at how little action the Chinese Embassy in Namibia appears to be taking to address the problem,” the letter reads.
The NCE is an umbrella body that provides a forum and acts as a mouthpiece for the environment sector in Namibia. It represents the interests of environmental practitioners and organisations that support the environmental interests of Namibia as set out in the constitution.
Last week, two Chinese men were arrested in possession of two rhino horns in the Eros residential area and late last year, a Chinese man was arrested in South Africa with 18 rhino horns at the OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg after flying there from Namibia’s Hosea Kutako International Airport.