To'abaita Authority for Research & Development (TARD)

[P.O Box 13, Honiara, Solomon Islands/ Email: Tel:+677 7424025]

Welcome to the TARD Homepage...{Sore lea tale oe uri fula lamu mai la biu ne'e TARD}...TARD is To'abaita's rural voice on the web

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Two To'abaita lawyers admitted by Solomon Chief Justice

Two prominent To'abaita lawyers were amongst six new lawyers admitted at the Solomon Islands High Court on thursday last week by the Chief Justice, Sir Albert Palmer.

Lily Ramo who hails from Loina Village and Daniel Damilea, from Manakwai Village, were admitted with other young Solomon lawyers such as Makario Tagini, Alice Willy, Allan Tinoni, and Richard Kozanecki.

Ms Lily Ramo and Mr Daniel Damilea are both graduates from the University of the South Pacific. Ms Ramo is now working for Bridge Lawyers whilst Mr Damilea at the Government House.

Sir Albert congratulated the lawyers advising them that they are expected to face new challenges in their career.

“Maintain your objectivity no matter what, and make the people of Solomon Islands aware of their laws in order for them to abide by them,” he said.

Chief Justice Palmer added that it is time for new lawyers to come onboard and put into practice what they have learnt during their university days, applying them in their day to day activities. “Law is always very interesting but remember you are ambassadors of this country so you must be aware of the significance of the role you play,” Sir Albert said. He encouraged the lawyers and urged them to work towards their true identity.

TARD members complete "Certificate in Leadership" from the University of the South Pacific

Several members of the To'abaita Authority for Research and Development (TARD) youth initiated volunteer group have successfully completed a first ever six-week leadership training course from the University of the South Pacific in Suva, over the weekend.

TARD members who have participated in the leadership training program are Steven Filiomea, Simon Mau, Eddie Konairamo, Exsley Taloiburi, William Fikutoa Abuinao, Alfred Maebiru, Peter Fairamoa, Rodney Suibaea, and Matilda Dani.

Those who have attended all the six sessions will receive a Certificate from the USP's Pacific Institute of Advanced Studies in Development and Governance (PIAS-DG) whilst others who missed one session will receive a letter of participation in the leadership program.

The leadership training course was facilitated by the USP Student Association and PIAS-DG under the guidance of the USP Leadership Programme Manager, Ms Hamidan Bibi. Each session covers 1 hour during fridays and saturdays and it lasted for six weeks, ending last weekend. This is the first time in the university's history to offer a certificate in leadership course.

During the training, students learnt skiils relevant to time management, conflict resolution, motivation and inspiration, good governance, and ethical leadership that can be applied anywhere either in a workplace, school, church, organization or rural communities.

It is understood that this recent attainment by several TARD members will be a boost to the objectives of TARD, especially in the leadership field which is urgently needed to be applied in different settings throughout the Solomon Islands.

SI Fiji-based students winding down another academic year

Solomon Islands students who are studying at various regional institutions in Fiji are approaching their end of year examinations whilst others have already started, with great anxiety.

Fiji School of Medicine (FSM) students have already begun their final examinations as of yesterday and the first lot of students are expected to return to Honiara on November 11 while the majority will fly home on November 14, 18, and 21.

The students at the University of the South Pacific have entered into their one week study break as of yesterday and will kick off their exams from monday next week. The school is expected to close on November 17, and students will be leaving to Solomon Islands from November 14, 18, 21, 24 and so forth.

Meanwhile, it is understood that the Fiji Institute of Technology (FIT) students will be the last to leave Fiji as most of their flights are confirmed for early December.

Therefore, on behalf of the TARD leadership we would like to extend our best wishes and good luck to all our TARD members and other Solomon students either in Fiji or elsewhere throughout the world on your upcoming examinations. We believe that nothing can substitute your hard work throughout the whole year, except genuine success.

SI Opposition Leader encourages students during SSEC closing party at USP

The Solomon Islands parliamentary opposition leader, Hon. Fred Fono and his wife, were hosted by the South Seas Evangelical Church (SSEC) students for an end of year party at the University of the South Pacific (USP) in Suva on Sunday evening.

The SSEC fellowship at USP also comprises other small but more active churches in the Solomon Islands such as the Assemblies of God, Christian Outreach Centre, and others. The end of year party is an annual event that usually occur whereby graduating students who are part of the fellowship group are farewelled and presented with gifts followed by a dinner function.

During Sunday's program, students were given time to reflect on their own christian lives throughout the whole year by sharing of testimonies, choirs, and encouragements from the Bible. Hon. Fono who was the chief guest at the closing party also encouraged students to become God-fearing individuals and live according to God's plan as this is the root of prosperity and success, as stated in the Holy Bible.

Honourable Fred Fono is currently in Suva, Fiji with his wife for a 3 weeks attachment with the Pacific Institute of Advanced Studies in Development and Governance (PIAS-DG) at the University of the South Pacific. He is also expected to talk to the Solomon Islands Student Association sometimes this week, to highligh the opposition's perspective of recent issues in Solomon Islands after the Prime Minister has clarified his stand to the student body on October 22.

North Malaita MP join TARD in deploring theft on yacht

The Member of Parliament for North Malaita Constituency, Hon. Enele Kwanairara, has joined leaders in North Malaita in condemning the recent theft onboard a yacht in Bita'ama Harbour.

Mr Kwanairara says he's ashamed and concern of the image such incidence is causing to the area.

He says the area has a tarnished image and such criminal activity will only destroy the possibility of establishing tourism related activities in the area.

He says the area has the potential to attract investments but such events will only chase away possible investors.

Mr Kwanairara is appealing to leaders in the area to help in the re-building of the area's image by assisting the police in their investigations.

He also appeals to the youths in the area to avoid being involved in criminal activities.

Source: SIBC

Organic farming centre opens in Malaita to become the first in Solomon Islands

A centre to promote organic farming in the country has been opened in Auki by the Asia Pacific Sustainable Development (APSD) on Saturday last week.

The Solomon Organic Centre which is located in the heart of Auki is the first of its kind in Solomon Islands to promote the newly introduced mode of farming using organic materials.

APSD is a non government organisation from Japan, which is promoting farming in the Solomon Islands. The opening of the centre is an extension of a Permaculture centre at Fiu village in Central Kwara’ae, which is about 15 minutes drive from Auki Town in Malaita.

According to the coordinator Shogo Sato the aim of the centre is to train youths and village leaders about organic idea and techniques concerning organic farming for contributing the sustainable rural development. The opening was attended by representatives of Japan, and Cosmo Oil company which funded the program as part of its support to sustainable development program around the world.

Malaita provincial Premier Reben Moli said the opening of the Organic represents a small step in the right direction. It is understood that the Centre’s function amongst others is to link students, graduates, organic farmers and communities who are gradually changing from the subsistence mode of production to a more permanent and intensive way of farming to information, technical advice, organic inputs such as tools, fertilizers and chemicals, market outlets and commodity prices, including link to other service providers.

Source: Solomon Star

Monday, October 30, 2006

North Malaita Cultural Student Association ends year with party

The North Malaita Cultural Student Association at the University of the South Pacific (USP) in Suva has farewelled its graduating and continuing students with a party on Saturday.

During the party, students were hosted to a taste of local foods whilst encouragements and advices were also shared to inspire one another. The out-going executive which include Boniface Oeta, Wilfred Atomea, and Matilda Dani thanked the students for their cooperation throughout the year whilst acknowledging that there are avenues for improvement that the new executive can pursue.

North Malaita Cultural Student Association is an affiliate to the main student body at USP which is known as the Solomon Islands Students Association (SISA). Such cultural groupings function to provide cultural entertainment during SISA or other university activities besides caring for its student wellbeing. TARD is a small volunteer group under the North Malaita Student Association, but with broader objectives.

Mr Simon Mau, who is the incoming President also thanked the old leadership and asked the students to work together with his executive in order to achieve its goals and plans.The gathering was attended by about fifty students.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

North Malaita leaders want reconciliation to be initiated

Participants of a peace building workshop in Malu'u, North Malaita, are calling on the Government to initiate talks between the peoples of Guadalcanal and Malaita to address the issues which gave rise to the recent social unrest.

The participants say this should help bring about reconciliation, restitution and healing among the two provinces.

A community leader in North Malaita, Ben Lesibana, says the people have been waiting for the last six years for someone to initiate dialogue between the people of the two islands. He says the people are appealing to relevant government and non-government groups to come forward and initiate dialogue.

The one week peace building workshop 'Faith Based Peace Building' was conducted recently at Malu’u in North Malaita. Participants of the workshop are leaders in the area representing the six church denominations, tribal groups, and women organisations in the area.

The workshop was conducted by the Seventh Days Church-ran ADRA and sponsored by AusAID. It is part of a three year program targeting seven wards in North Malaita and four wards in Guadalcanal.

Source: SIBC

Friday, October 27, 2006

TARD condemns raid against yacht family in North Malaita

North Malaita students who are studying in Fiji, who are also members of the student initiated voluntary group known as the To’abaita Authority for Research and Development (TARD) have strongly condemned the recent barbaric actions against a New Caledonia family yacht at Bita’ama, North Malaita.

According to the students, the recent event is a major drawback to the good work that the North Malaita House of Chiefs, communities, volunteer groups and leaders have been trying to consolidate in a collective effort to restore a good national and international image to that part of Malaita.

“In trying times like this, it is not right to do doing things that can discourage people from visiting our region, but we need to involve ourselves in activities that can attract tourists and donors to come to our villages and witness our culture and urgent development needs. However, the robbery and malicious demands by youths in Bita’ama and Taba’a against that New Caledonia family yacht has set a bad precedence to tourists and outside visitors, which is capable of bringing numerous benefits to our shores.”

“The fact that the woman said they had met the villagers and the chief had agreed for them to stay on the Bita’ama Harbour for the next day, has shown that these criminals are cowards as there actions will only fuel the continuous suffering that a lot of innocent and law-abiding North Malaita people are facing. Such actions will give a bad impression about North Malaita and will only scare away genuine and generous donors and helpers”

“While we acknowledge the fact that outsiders need to seek permission to use our land and sea resources, there are better ways of achieving it rather making confrontational demands and using force.”

Therefore, as the educated human resource base of North Malaita we would like to convey our sincere apology on behalf of the North Malaita House of Chiefs, communities and people to the New Caledonian family for that unfortunate experience. It shows that this is a pressing issue that needs to be addressed promptly through broader community awareness.

The To’abaita Authority for Research and Development volunteer association would therefore call on the Member of Parliament for North Malaita Constituency, provincial assembly members, North Malaita chiefs, communities and the police to address this issue as soon as possible as such attack has given a negative international publicity for not only North Malaita but the Solomon Islands as a whole.

Dolphin calling project at Bita'ama threatened with raid on yacht

The Director of the National Musuem, Lawrence Foanaota says the raid by a group of men on a yacht recently has threatened a "Dolphin Calling Project" planned for North Malaita.

Police say that a French New Caledonian registered 40 foot catamaran yacht Kalim was anchored in Bita'ama Harbour in North Malaita when it was boarded by men brandishing a home made rifle and carrying knives.

Witnesses told police that three or four men wearing masks boarded the yacht and the owner was forced to hand over a sum of money.

The thieves also stole the boat’s Global Positioning Navigation System and other valuable items.

Mr Foanaota who is also a North Malaita leader says such incidents by few people spoils the country and communities that encourage people to visit and see their cultures.

He says if people continue to rob visitors, then nobody with visit their area.

Mr Foanaota calls on leaders in the Bita'ama area to cooperate with police investigate and apprehend those involved in the incident.

"My fear is that the "Calling of Dolphins Project" we try to initiate and which UNESCO has started to help provide some assistance will be cancelled. I am the coordinator of the project and if I say not, the project will be cancelled. We might as well look at areas where people are friendly to visitors. That's what I want say to wantoks and relatives at home."

Source: SIBC

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Sogavare rejects media suggestion as his delegation touched down in Honiara

Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, has rejected media reports saying he fears he could face arrest on his return home over Julian Moti’s illegal entry into Solomon Islands.

Mr Sogavare says after checking with the office of the Prime Minister and the police, he’s found out that nothing like that is going to happen.

Mr Sogavare warns if that is going to happen, the country could see a repeat of events of April 18th. He says after police had raided his office two weeks ago a RAMSI police vehicle was stoned by people who were agitated and dissatisfied over the way things are being done.

Mr Sogavare says police are investigating how the Papua New Guinea defence force plane which had brought Moti had landed at Munda – an event that took him by surprise.

He says his conscience is clear and he did not think he’d done anything to warrant his arrest.

“So after checking up, no such thing would happen. If they want to continue to investigate it’s up to them, but my mind is very clear, I don’t have a guilty conscience. I haven't done anything wrong to be afraid what police might want to do. If there is an arrest on this one, it would be for the basic interest of Australia because the issue is one of Julian Moti, which is a non issue to Solomon Islands.”

The Prime Minister and part of his delegation has just arrived at Henderson Airport on board a PNG-chartered aircraft a few hours ago.

Source: SIBC

To'abaita student attends Fiji Tourism Advisory Meeting in Suva

A part-To'abaita and Renbel student at the University of the South Pacific, who is also the university's student representative to the Fiji Tourism Council has attended the 4th Tourism Industry Advisory Meeting in Suva, yesterday.

She is Joyce Konofilia-Maetoloa who hails from the Malu'u area in North Malaita and is currently completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Tourism, Hospitality and Management.

According to Mrs Maetoloa, the main agenda of the advisory meeting yesterday was the upcoming "career fair" for final year tourism students which will be convened at Denarau, Nadi over the weekend. It is understood that this career fair is the first ever of its kind to be organised by the USP Tourism Department in conjunction with the Fiji Tourism industry, for tourism students to showcase their qualifications and skills to tourism operators and authorities in Fiji.

It is anticipated that more than 30 Hotels and other tourism operators including the South Pacific Tourism Organisation, South Pacific Forum Secretariat, Fiji Visitors Bureau and the Fiji Ministry of Tourism will attend this career fair.

Among the final year Pacific Island tourism students who will attend that career fair are four Solomon Islanders; Charles Maclean (BA Tourism & Management), Jestinah Mesepitu (BA Tourism & Information Systems), Casper Supa (BA Tourism & Hospitality) and Joyce Konofilia-Maetoloa (BA Tourism, Hospitality & Management).

In the past, one of the major obstacles for regional students to get employment in Fiji is the work permit. However, through prior negotiations by the Tourism Department at USP with responsible authorities, the tourism industry operators have agreed to be responsible for immigration requirements for regional students in the case that a regional student gets full-time employment or part-time work experience in Fiji.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for tourism students from the region including Solomon Islands who would like to gain experience from the big industries in Fiji and return home to develop our own Tourism industry," said Mrs Maetoloa.

Remove RAMSI and nothing will happen: Sogavare

The Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, has accused the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission (RAMSI) of driving his nation down the path of another ethnic crisis.

Mr Sogavare led an unsuccessful challenge at the Pacific Islands Forum to Australia's leadership of RAMSI.

The forum instead reached a compromise, agreeing to review RAMSI's operations and establish a new consultative framework.

Mr Sogavare has told SBS TV's Dateline program the mission has done nothing to maintain peace in his nation.

"You remove Australian police and soldiers tomorrow, nothing will happen in Solomon Islands," he said.

"I tell you this is all just make-up. I don't want this Solomon Islands to go down as another East Timor. I will not allow it."

Source: ABC News

New Zealand opens its doors for seasonal workers from the Pacific

Solomon Islands will be among 12 members Pacific Forum states to benefit from a new seasonal workers scheme set up by New Zealand.

Successful applicants under the scheme will be able to work in New Zealand for periods ranging from six weeks to seven months.

SIBC reports say the new scheme was jointly announced yesterday by two New Zealand Government Ministers. They are the Minister for Social and Development David Benson Pope and the Minister for Immigration David Cuncliffe. The scheme is expected to start in April 2007.

Six Pacific nations, Fiji, Vanuatu,Tonga, Tuvalu, Kiribati and Samoa will be the first countries to engage in the scheme with a recruitment workforce of 400 each. The rest of other Pacific states including Solomon Islands will join later.

Immigration Minister, Mr Cuncliffe says New Zealand is prioritising Pacific Islands people as temporary migrant workers given its special relationship and commitment to the region.

Meanwhile, it is understood that Australia has stood its ground not to allow any seasonal Pacific Island workers onto its soil but it would instead establish a Pacific Technical College for Pacific Islanders. Australia's South Pacific College will be based in Fiji, with regional training centres in Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Samoa.

Source: SIBC

Former SI PM, Sir Allan Kemakeza, charged for robbery

Former Solomon Islands Prime Minister Sir Allan Kemakeza, appeared in the Honiara Magistrates Court yesterday charged with Robbery, Demanding Money with Menaces, Intimidation and Larceny.

Police visited Sir Allan at his Honiara home yesterday morning and he voluntarily accompanied them to Rove Police Headquarters where he was interviewed.

Police Media Office says Solomon Islands Police interviewed Sir Allan in relation to allegations that he ordered some men to go to Sol Law and take two vehicles. Police will allege that during the process, a Sol Law partner was assaulted and threatened.

The vehicles were allegedly started by force and taken away by the men. The offences allegedly took place in May 2002.

Following the interview, Sir Allan was taken to Honiara Magistrates Court where he was charged with Robbery, demanding money with menaces, intimidation and larceny.

He was granted conditional bail to appear again in court on 23 November 2006.

Source: SIBC

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

TARD members appointed to leadership positions within the North Malaita Student Association at USP

Three active members of the To'abaita Authority for Research and Development (TARD) have been appointed as the executive office bearers of the North Malaita Student Association in Suva for 2006-2007, yesterday.

In a brief meeting yesterday evening, Mr Simon Mau was appointed as the President; William Siake Fikutoa as Vice President; whilst Lenny Konamauri as Treasurer.

The North Malaita Cultural Student Association is a member of the Solomon Islands Students Association (SISA) at the University of the South Pacific in Suva and is also recognised by the University student association, USPSA. The membership for North Malaita Student Association comprises students from Fataleka, Baelelea, To'abaita, Lau, and Baegu Asifola who are studying in Fiji. The major roles of such cultural groups include cultural performances during SISA and USPSA activities, and ensuring the wellbeing and unity of its student members.

Mr Simon Mau and his executive will spearhead planned programs and activities of the association from October 2006 till October 2007, when a new executive is expected to be appointed. The outgoing executive was under the leadership of Boniface Oeta (president), Matilda Dani (vice) and Wilfred Atomea (Treasurer). A proposed end of year party is scheduled for this coming Saturday, before students sit for their final exams.

It is understood that the recent appointment of these three TARD members is a clear reflection of one the goals of TARD where it tries to empower individual capability and promotes self belief and confidence in oneself to pursue leadership responsiblities and challenges. Therefore, we wish Mr Mau and his executive well in their leadership for next year.

Pacific leaders agree to review RAMSI's operations but with its Australian component intact

There has been a compromise reached over the future of the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands, with Pacific leaders agreeing to review RAMSI's operations in the 37th Forum leaders meeting yesterday in Nadi, Fiji.

But they have stopped well short of the major restructure proposed by the Solomon Islands Prime Minister.

Manasseh Sogavare went to the forum with a five-point plan to completely overhaul the Regional Assistance Mission and reduce the involvement of Australians.

But after their opening day of talks, Pacific leaders have left RAMSI largely untouched.

They have agreed to establish a taskforce to review its operations, as well as a new consultative mechanism comprising representatives of the Solomon Islands and RAMSI, and the leaders of Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Tonga.

RAMSI will remain the largely Australian led and financed operation it has been since its inception three years ago.

Source: ABC News

Group confront Malaita Premer for condemning the government's plan on RAMSI

A group of Malaita people confronted Malaita Premier Reuben Moli in Honiara yesterday afternoon.

An eye witness John Bare told SIBC News that the group of people confronted Premier Moli at the Anthony Saru Building area in Central Honiara.

Mr Bare says the group questioned Mr Moli about the statement he made about the government and RAMSI.

They disagreed with Premier Moli's comment saying it does not represent the views of the majority of people in the Province.

They say the Premier must realise that ten MPs from Malaita are supporting the Grand Coalition government while only four are in the Opposition.

Meanwhile, they say while they support RAMSI in its work in law and order some officers in the mission ignore Solomon Island cultures. They cite the recent raid on the Prime Minister's office during which one officer was reported as saying he didn't care about state secrets as an example.

Source: SIBC

Sir Michael Somare says RAMSI needs to maintain its regional character

The outgoing chairman of the Pacific Islands Forum and Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Sir Michael Somare said the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) is a shining example of regional cooperation in security related matters.

RAMSI which was formed on the basis of the Forum’s Biketawa Declaration intervened to stop ethnic tensions and the subsequent period of serious law and order problems in Solomon Islands in 2003.

Speaking at the opening of the 37th Pacific Islands Forum Meeting in Fiji on monday, Sir Michael said RAMSI as a regional initiative must remain so in its composition and management.

However, recent developments involving the Solomon Islands government and Australia raises concerns on the future of RAMSI. Sir Michael said those developments raises questions about the regional character of the mission.

He was making reference to the Friday raid on Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare’s office in search of a fax machine suspected of transmitting a message allowing Julian Moti’s entry in Solomon Islands.

“Reports of the incident involving RAMSI personal in Honiara raise serious questions about its regional character and purpose. Actions of that nature undermine the usefulness and integrity of this important regional initiative,” Sir Michael said.

He said RAMSI offers Forum countries a chance to look at how we can improve regional cooperation in security matters.

“Security is not only about dealing with law and order activities but with ensuring our survival. The pursuit of sustainable economic growth and improving adaptation capacities are integral components of the security measures pursued through regional agencies,” he said.

Sir Michael is expected to handover the forum chair to Fiji’s Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase when the meeting concludes today.

Source: Government Communications Unit

Sogavare maintains stand not to release Moti to be tried on Aussie soil

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare will not back down to any Australian attempt to release Julian Moti to face justice for alleged sex charges on Australian soil.

The charge against Moti which was already cleared in Vanuatu 9 years ago were brought to the surface last month by Australian Federal Police only after his appointment as Solomon Islands Attorney General.

Mr Sogavare believed Australia's pursuit of Moti is politically motivated and has vowed never to return him to Australia.

“Australia will have to understand my position on that. I'm not going to allow him to be extradited to Australia," Sogavare told overseas media on monday night.

The Prime Minister also accused the Australian-sponsored RAMSI of being heavy-handed and taking a "very legalistic, very oppressive approach, putting more people in jail".

He said Solomon Islands will not lose anything if RAMSI pulls-out from its oppressive operation. "To be honest with you, if they pulled out tomorrow nothing really would happen to this country," Mr Sogavare said.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard who stretched his anger over both Solomon Island and PNG by threatening to cut his aid - indicates he has no immediate plans to pull Australia's peacekeeping forces out of the Solomon Islands, despite his disagreement with Sogavare.

He claimed that RAMSI has been a wonderful lifeline to the people of the Solomon Islands – a claim that many supporters of the Sogavare-led government would not agree with.

“Australian personnel are flooding the country every year – taking up most of the top jobs from Solomon Islanders. The current government’s rural policy is what we approve – unlike the centralized development of RAMSI assistance in Honiara,” a rural Sogavare supporter said on monday.

Source: Government Communications Unit

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Solomon players help lift YoungHeart Manawatu to top of table in NZFC

Solomon Islands National soccer players in the likes of Benjamin Totori, Alick Maemae, and Nelson Sale have played a huge part in yesterday's victory for YoungHeart Manawatu Football Club against Otago United, to top the table in the New Zealand Football Championship after round 3.

It is understood that both Benjamin Totori and Alick Maemae scored a goal each in the 15th and 60th minutes respectively, to help Manawatu beat Otago United 4-1. Nelson Sale also played a gallant role in the defence resulting in Otago's only one goal. But the standout Solomon player in the Manawatu team who is always referred to as a constant threat to opposition teams and currently on fire is Mr Totori, who has scored three goals from three games. This has assured the Manawatu coach of good things to come following the departure of ace Commins Menapi to Waitakere United.

Just on Saturday, a Benjamin Totori goal for Manawatu has also made an upset victory over the defending champions and World Club Championships-bound, Auckland City, 1-0.
Now, Manawatu is enjoying a two point buffer atop the ladder after Waitakere United's 1-1 draw at Team Wellington on yesterday.

SI Bilikiki beach soccer boys arrive in Vitoria, Brazil

The Solomon Bilikiki boys will have their first training run today almost 20 hours after they flew into Vitoria in Brazil.

They arrived on Sunday and spent most of yesterday catching up on much needed sleep.

Team coach, Vivian Wickham told the Oceania Football Confederation website that the team was absolutely exhausted after 2 days of strenuous travel.

Mr Wickham stated that from Santiago, they flew into Sao Paolo which is Pele's old club town for a short refill and then onward to Rio de Janeiro where the team checked out and caught another connection flight to Vitoria, where they will be based before the World cup begins next week.

It is understood that the team will go into the games as a minnow and underdog, but they are carrying hopes of the oceania region in this prestigeous tournament. This is also the first time for most of the players in that team to travel out of the Pacific Island countries.

According to reports from Wickham, it was the first time for them to see golden beaches. He added that the lifestyle there is just similar to a typical Pacific island setting where life is laid back, bicycles everywhere and endless golden beaches. The team had their first walk about around the beach front yesterday morning to familiarize themselves with the new environment before getting into the real training today.

Talks focus on resolving Pacific forum row

Australian Prime Minister John Howard has been involved in talks with regional leaders to try and resolve the row between Australia and the Solomon Islands.

The forum's chairman, Fijian Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase, hopes the stand-off will not sideline other pressing forum initiatives.

A group of leaders, including Papua New Guinea's Sir Michael Somare, says Australia needs to respect Pacific nations' sovereignty and stop treating Pacific leaders with arrogance and contempt.

The leaders are attending the official opening ceremony before heading into the forum retreat.

Mr Howard will tell the Pacific Islands Forum in Fiji that Australia remains committed to its aid program in the Pacific, including the regional assistance mission (RAMSI) to the Solomons, in return for improved standards of governance and accountability.

Source: ABC News

PNG Prime Minister brands Australian leaders as arrogant and insulting

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, has lashed out at Australia's leaders, branding them arrogant and insulting ahead of today's Pacific Islands Forum in Fiji.

The leaders of PNG and Vanuatu yesterday joined the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, Manasseh Sogavare, in condemning Australian police involvement in a raid on his office last week.

Prime Minister John Howard has dismissed suggestions Australia was involved in the raid.

Sir Michael says the raid was an affront to another country's sovereign rights and showed disrespect to Australia's pacific neighbours. He has also attacked a decision barring him from visiting Australia because of PNG's involvement in the Julian Moti affair.

Australia's relations with PNG and the Solomon Islands have become strained over failed attempts to extradite Moti, the Solomons attorney-general designate, on child sex charges. It's a real insult to me personally and someone who has known Australian people all these years and the working rapport and relations we have built," Sir Michael said.

"I think this is typical of the arrogant attitude of your people, your leaders treating the people of the region with contempt."

Source: ABC News Online

Howard denies Australia behind Solomons raid

By Peter Lewis in Fiji

The Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, has rejected suggestions Australia was behind a raid on the office of the Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.

Mr Howard has arrived in Fiji yesterday ahead of today's two-day Pacific Islands Forum meeting.

The leaders of Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu have joined Mr Sogavare in condemning Australian police involvement in a raid on his Honiara office. They say it violated the Solomons' sovereignty and tainted the good image and credibility of the Australian-led regional assistance mission, RAMSI.

But Mr Howard says they have got it wrong. "We haven't violated anybody's sovereignty and any suggestion that Australia had anything to do with that raid is wrong," he said.

Mr Howard says the media have also made mistakes. "I keep seeing these news reports saying 'Australian police'," he said.

"Sure, a number of the police come from Australia, including the Police Commissioner, but he's acting as the head of the Solomon Islands police force. He's under contract to the Government of the Solomon Islands. He doesn't take any instructions from me or from any officials in Australia, so any suggestion that this was an action in which Australia was involved in any way is totally wrong."

Source: ABC News

Monday, October 23, 2006

PNG and Vanuatu join hands to condemn raid on Solomons PM's Office

The leaders of Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu have strongly condemned an Australian police raid on the office of Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare on friday last week.

The criticism is part of a statement issued in Nadi. Papua New Guinean Prime Minister Michael Somare, Vanuatu's Ham Lini and Mr Sogavare himself have signed the statement condemning the police raid on the Solomons' leader's office last Friday, which it described as provocative, uncalled for and unnecessary.

The leaders say Australian police violated the Solomon Islands' sovereignty and integrity and tainted the good image and credibility of the regional assistance mission, RAMSI. The Melanesian leaders plan to raise their objections when the Pacific Islands Forum meeting gets under way in Fiji tomorrow.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard is on his way to the forum, and says the police raid is not his business.

"That's not a matter for me to comment on. That was conducted by a police officer employed by the Solomon Islands," he said.

"He happens to be an Australian but it doesn't alter the fact that he's answerable to the Solomon Islands Government.

"He had a good reputation in Australia and people tell me he's done a very good job."

Australia's relationship with the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea (PNG) has become increasingly strained over attempts to extradite Australian lawyer Julian Moti and the Solomons move to sack the Australian head of the Solomons Police Force, Shane Castles.

Source: ABC News

Benjamin Totori scored famous victory for YoungHeart Manawatu in New Zealand

Solomon Islander Benjamin Totori has secured a famous victory for YoungHeart Manawatu over NZFC defending champions Auckland City.

Totori's 68th minute goal maintained Manawatu's perfect start to the season on Saturday and condemned winless Auckland to their first NZFC loss in seven matches stretching back to round 18 last season. Last week, Auckland City managed a scrappy 2-2 draw with Otago United.

Now the FIFA Club World Cup-bound Aucklanders find themselves five points off the pace after just two rounds, a worrying situation as they prepare to host Hawke’s Bay United in the second leg of their Labour weekend double-header today.

Totori sealed the points at FMG Stadium in Palmerston North with a low 18-yard drive that eluded Auckland goalkeeper Richard Gillespie diving away to his right. It was the Solomon Islander’s second goal in as many games after Manawatu, whose place in the NZFC beyond this summer is in doubt, opened their campaign with a 2-1 win at Team Wellington in round one last week.

Auckland City's Keryn Jordan and Grant Young have missed two clear penalty kicks within the playing time, enabling Manawatu to maintain the second spot after Waitakere based on goal differences.

Jack Samani scores hatrick in PNG to greet new PRK Souths' coach in style

Solomon Islands International soccer player, Jack Samani, has scored a hatrick for PRK Souths to greet new coach and fellow Solomon Islander Jerry Allan in style, over the weekend in Port Moresby.

PRK Souths has been one of the most feared franchise in the Papua New Guinea National Soccer League because of several Solomon imports, but recently slipped down the ladder after unimpressive performances following the departure of one of its founding coaches, Paul Usumai. As a result, they have signed Jerry Allan who was part of the Marist FC Coaching panel to rescue their hopes of winning the league.

Jerry Allan who hails from Gwaunatafu Village in Malaita started his National Soccer League tenure in style as PRK Souths slipped out of midseason slumber to hammer rivals Gelle Hills 5-2 in the local derby in Port Moresby on Saturday. According to reports from the PNG National, Jerry Allan had done a lot of work with Souths on attack and defence, and was after the game.

PRK Souths led by prominent Solomon players such as Jack Samani, Abraham Iniga, and John Iani enabled Souths to score four quick goals in the opening 30 minutes to completely shutout Hills. Jack Samani, who scored a hat-trick of goals was also named man-of-the-match.

TARD holds final meeting and coffee session with members yesterday

The To'abaita Authority for Research and Development (TARD) volunteer student group has convened its last 2006 general meeting for student members at the University of the South Pacific in Suva yesterday.

The official meeting which was followed by a light refreshment and coffee/tea session was held at the USPSA Conference room from 5-9pm.

The meeting was opened with a prayer from Paul Ramson and words of welcome by the chairman. After that there were updates from previous minutes and various progresses of certain community development plans that TARD is pursuing. Next was the arrangement and finalisation of proposed TARD Christmas activities in North Malaita. Some of the obvious programs include:
- Distribution arrangements for the medical supplies donated to North Malaita clinics by the Medical Aid Abroad New Zealand.
- Appointment of a steering committee to spearhead the North Malaita Christmas Games in December which will be free of charge for participating teams in North Malaita. The games that will be organized are soccer and netball. The committee is led by Alwyn Danitofea and Joyce Maetoloa with others such as Simon Mau, Lenny Konamauri, Matilda Dani and Lynly Galie.
- Small community meetings; special fundraisings for schools, clinics, and churches; and collection of data and surveys in rural villages.
- Launching of the TARD Initiative to rural communities in North Malaita.

After the meeting, there was a refreshment and coffee session whereby members and families were allowed to give short talks and encouragements. The North Malaita Cultural Group at USP which TARD is also affiliated to then used the meeting to acknowledge Luke Mani for availing his residence for fundraising activities in the past. He was presented with a thank-you cake and FJ$50 as a token of appreciation. The meeting was attended by members from USP, FSM and FIT.

SI Postgraduate students and families farewell colleague in Suva

Solomon Islands postgraduate students and their families and friends have farewelled another colleague and his family yesterday in Suva, Fiji.

Mr Luke Mani and family will be leaving to the Solomon Islands tomorrow. He will spend a week in Solomon Islands before flying off to Paris, France to undertake PhD studies in Organic Chemistry. He has just graduated in April this year with a Masters degree in Chemistry from the University of the South Pacific (USP) in Suva and has been a Graduate Assistant at the Institute of Applied Science since 2003.

Yesterday's farewell dinner for Luke Mani and family was held at the residence of Ms Irene and Dr Bata near USP's Laucala Campus. The food and drinks were contributed by Solomon Islands postgraduate students and families as well as a personal friend and co-supervisor for Mr David Boseto in his Masters Project, Dr Patricia Kailola, who is from Australia.

During the social gathering, students and families were able to interact whilst others gave encouragements and advices. Some of the postgraduate students who attended the farewell dinner include: David Boseto, James Porakari, John Rofeta, Irene, Dr Bata, Alice, Tony, Exsley, James Terry, Marson Lilopeza, Luke Mani, Patrick Turanga and other undergraduate friends and families.

SI Prime Minister and delegation meet with students at USP

The Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Hon. Manasseh Sogavare, and his official delegation to the 37th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Summit in Nadi have been hosted for Sabbath mass by the Solomon Islands students and community in Suva on Saturday.

The Solomon Islands Student Association (SISA) combine service on Saturday which was coordinated by the Seventh Day students, was the final combine service for SISA before returning home mid next month.

However, the highlight of the combine service was the presence of the Prime Minister and his wife with several body guards, Cabinet Ministers, an ordinary member, and officials including those from the Prime Minster's office and the High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea. Ministers of the Crown who were present include Minister for Foreign Affairs (Hon Patterson Oti), Minister for Agriculture and Livestock (Hon Toswell Kaua), and Minister for National Planning (Hon Steve Abana). An ordinary member and chairman of the Ports Authority who is also part of the delegation is Hon James Tora. Other prominent officials include Dr Judson Leafasia who is the Chief of Staff in the Prime Minister's office and the High Commissioner to PNG, His Excellency Benard Bata'anisia.

The service started off with an official escort of the Prime Minister and his delegation by SISA leaders into the theatre followed by the National Anthem. Next was testimonies and choirs by the various church groups that make up SISA. Later on was the sermon which was preached by a prominent SDA Pastor, Lawrence Tanabose, based on the theme "Everything is rooted in God". The new SISA Executive was also consecrated by Pastor Tanabose after the sermon.

Prime Minister Sogavare and his Ministers were given about two hours to update students and citizens about the government policies and background of the recent events that are happening in the Solomon Islands. Finally, the meeting was ended with a heavy refreshment.

It was estimated that about 700-800 people including children, students, and workers from other institutions and organizations around Suva came to witness the presence of the Prime Minister and his delegation in the final SISA combine service.

Meanwhile, it is understood the Prime Minister and his officials have left the Holiday Inn in Suva yesterday to participate in the ACP leaders summit in Nadi which starts today.

Friday, October 20, 2006

To'abaita youth offered professional training attachment in Brisbane, Australia

A To'abaita youth who has recently graduated with a Civil Engineering degree from UNITECH Lae in Papua New Guinea, and currently working in Honiara has been offered a 6 weeks professional training in Brisbane.

He is Mr Ishmael Alulu who hails from Gwaunasu'u Village near Loina in North Malaita.

According to Mr Alulu, he is currently attaching under the Transport and Infrastructure Planning of the Brisbane City Council in Queensland, Australia. It is understood that this is his fourth week of professional training and he is expected to return to the Solomon Islands early next month on 4th November.

Ishmael Alulu's academic profile showed that he did his primary school in North Malaita before coming to Betikama to do forms 1-6 from 1993 to 1998. After that he was awarded a Solomon Islands Government Scholarship to undertake undergraduate studies in civil engineering at the University of Technology in Lae, PNG. He completed his studies at the end of 2003. Since then he has been working with the Public Works Ministry and other private and public offices in Honiara. Now he is working with the Transport Policy and Planning Unit which deals mostly with prioritising the transport sectors in Solomon Islands.

In addition, Mr Alulu is a prominent soccer player both locally and internationally. In the rural areas he is the captain for the Malogwas Soccer Club from the Loina area. Internationally, he has been an active player in the Papua New Guinea National Soccer League during his years at UNITECH Lae. As a result has played with his PNG Champion club, UNITECH, in the Oceania Club Championships Qualifier in Port Moresby, PNG, from January 9-22 in 2001 along with another renowned To'abaita player Moffat Konofilia (Jnr). In May this year, Mr Konofilia and Ishmael Alulu were again signed by Sobou Football Club from PNG, and went to play with Sobou FC at the 2006 Oceania Club Championships in Auckland, New Zealand.

Prior to his departure to Australia, he is the current treasurer for the To'abaita Authority for Research and Development (TARD) Steering Committee in Honiara.

Therefore, we would like to congratulate him for his recent personal achievement which will go a long way to benefit the North Malaita region and Solomon Islands in terms of human resource base, and our goal of restoring a good image to North Malaita. We believe the ongoing achievements either personal or collective from North Malaita people will help to inspire others in what ever they do to work hard and diligently in order to excel.

Regional Conference on globalisation and labour markets convened at USP

Pacific Island countries face unique challenges due to their size and distance from major markets and with the increasing number of young people entering the labour market, finding productive employment is becoming one of the major challenges for governments in the region, says Head of Delegation for the European Commission in the Pacific, Dr Roberto Ridofli.

Dr Ridofli expressed these sentiments during his Chief Guest address to participants and guests at the opening of the Regional Conference on Institutions, Globalisation and their Impact on Labour Markets at the University of the South Pacific on Tuesday.

He pointed out that policy makers and politicians will be struggling in the next five to 10 years to create those opportunities, as sustainable economic growth is likely to remain elusive in many of the small island countries.

"Historically, many of the Pacific Islanders were able to seize the opportunities of labour mobility, skilled and unskilled by moving to Australia and New Zealand. These opportunities for mobility are becoming ever more critical and difficult. This very issue is going to affect the relationship between Australia/New Zealand and the Pacific more than anything else in the foreseeable future."

He added that it was true that various studies, including a World Bank report, have highlighted the need the to look at the issues of labour mobility seriously and have pointed out that tangible benefits will arise as a result of more mobility of unskilled labour.

"There is already evidence of this in relation to the role of remittances in the development of Tonga and Samoa. Fiji is now receiving about $500 million in remittances – exceeding net earnings from sugar, tourism, garments, fish, gold and water."

He pointed out that the debate on labour mobility, in particular to Australia and New Zealand, must include the issue of creating more productive employment opportunities.

"This deserves more attention as a major agenda point for policy makers in the region. Further research into labour market issues, industrial relations, labour legislation and other institutional changes, which are requires to reap the benefits from increasing regional and global economic integration, will assist policy makers in the region to formulate appropriate policies."

The objective of this European Funded three day conference, which ended yesterday, was to enhance capacity of governments and the social partners to carry out this important task more effectively. The conference also aims to bring into focus contemporary issues affecting the labour market in the PICs with respect to changes in the global economic environment. As a tool to help constituents improve their collection and analysis of labour market information, a set of policy papers, country report on labour market and regional data based on labour market was also tabled.

Several papers on various themes relating to globalisation and labour markets were presented by leading academics, economists and senior government representatives from 14 regional countries including Solomon Islands. A Solomon Islands Country Paper on Labour Market was presented by Ronald Unusi, Commissioner of Labour and Noelyn Biliki, Director Economic Division.

Rogosomani's Ministry intends to host National Cultural Festival in 2007

The Solomon Islands government is planning to organise a first ever National Cultural Festival next year, after an appeal from the public and the success of the recent Melanesian Arts Festival in Fiji.

Member of Parliament for Lau/Baelelea Constituency, Hon Bentley Rogosomani, who is also the Minister of Culture and Tourism has revealed this intention on Tuesday in Honiara.

Government reports stated that the basic idea behind the proposed show is to enable Solomon Islanders maintain their diverse cultures and tradition.

According to Rogosomani, the Department of Culture and Tourism aims to bring all the cultural groupings in the country as part of the government’s support for the rural people – where cultures remain the foundation of their existence. The Minister maintained that one important aspect of development is our cultures.

He noted that cultures through dances and art can bring benefits to the country.

“Our culture if properly managed and nurtured can and will bring huge benefits to our country,” the minister said.

Mr Rogosomani said his department will work towards formulating a national cultural policy next year. He said the policy will act as a guideline to ensure that our rich and unique culture is protected, preserved and promoted to meet the needs of our communities.

“Apart from the uniqueness and the rich diversity of our cultures, it is also the foundation of our way of life and is friendly, peaceful, loving, sharing, caring and above all entertaining.

“These are strong values of our culture which all of us must work together to develop and promote it in the years ahead,” he said.

Source: Government Communications Unit

Solomon Bilikiki soccer boys leave for world cup in Brazil

The Solomon Islands Bilikiki Beach Soccer team has departed Honiara enroute to Brazil for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, carrying the hopes of the Oceania to the World Competition.

The team will transit through Brisbane and spend the night in Sydney leaving the next day for Vitoria in Brazil where they will be based before the tournament proper.

It will be Solomon Islands first World Cup appearance in any soccer code and all eyes will be fixed on the Bilikiki team when they go up against some of the World's soccer powerhouses, Portugal, Uruguay and Cameroon. All three countries had participated in the World Cup soccer finals previously and will go into the competition with high expectations.

The Bilikiki team is an unknown quality, and though stage fright may likely be their biggest obstacle, the players have vowed to give their best shot in Rio when they take on their opponents. Other countries have former superstars in their line-up, the Oceania representative will go with their amateur players in their first world outing.

"We have equal number of legs and see no reason why our opponents are any different to us," said coach Vivian Wickham.

Two of the most experienced players in the team, captain, Gideon Omokirio and Henry Koto have expressed confidence their confidence saying they will give their best shot in Rio.

Meanwhile, the Bilikiki Beach Soccer appeal has provided a much needed boost in morale and resources when a Member of Parliament for West New Georgia and Vona Vona constituency, Hon Peter Boyers, handed over a cheque of SBD$20,000 to SIFF General Secretary Eddie Ngava, just before their departure.

The assistance from one of soccer's staunch supporters was welcomed by SIFF General Secretary Eddie Ngava who commended him for coming forward.

In his brief speech, Hon. Boyers says the donation to Bilikiki beach soccer team is made in the spirit that soccer is the inspiration of Solomon Islands in sport.

"This donation to the Bilikiki team is made in the spirit that soccer is the inspiration of our country in sports and most especially our youth that have shown the desire and skills to perform so well for our country and also the pacific," he adds.

Coincidentally, `Bilikiki' is the local name of a common bird in the Roviana dialect that is found in many parts of the country particularly on the beaches. Hon. Boyer's says his donation is fitting because the name Bilikiki is from his constituency. It also has a special dance which is popular in the Western part of the country and adopted by other Solomon Islanders when performing local dances overseas.

Others who have also suppotred the appeal include Ruby Lee ($200), Thompson Turueke ($200), David Chow who provided a dinner for the Bilikiki, and another longtime friend of football Rolland Timo who donated $5,000 toward this cause.

Source: Oceania Football Confederation

Furious Sogavare vows to deal with Police Commissioner and Solicitor General over arrest of Minister

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare says his government will deal with both the Commissioner of Police and the Solicitor General.

A statement from the Prime Minister's Office says Mr Sogavare will deal with the two officers for what he describes as the unnecessary arrest, detention and humiliation of the Minister for Commerce, Industries and Employment, Peter Shanel.

Mr Sogavare says the the Commissioner of Police and the Solicitor General who spearheaded the unwarranted action must understand that they are answerable to the Solomon Islands government.

The Prime Minister says the officers therefore must act and conduct themselves as employees of the Solomon Islands government according to law.

Mr Sogavare says his government considers their action as being influenced by their loyalty to Canberra who pays their salaries. He says this is a serious conflict of interest and the government is calling on the two men to declare their interests in the Solomon Islands.

Meanwhile, in his defence the Commissioner of Police Shane Castles says he has done nothing wrong, but only fulfilling his Constitutional and Statutory responsibilities in upholding the rule of law.

Mr Castles says although he is an employee of the Solomon Islands government, there is also the separation of powers. The Police Commissioner says not even a Prime Minister can direct police operations in a democracy.

Mr Castles says he finds it surprising that the Prime Minister can now make these comments when he was present at the meeting he called on the 10th October, where his Minister deliberately lied.

The Minister, Peter Shanel was arrested by police yesterday and charged for allegedly perverting the course of justice.

Source: SIBC

Guadalcanal plans to secede from Solomon Islands

The Guadalcanal Provincial Government is planning to secede from Solomon Islands.

Premier Abel Arabola says the Provincial Assembly at its current meeting passed a motion setting up a committee to start work towards unilateral independence.

Mr Arabola says the province is opting for independence if the national government delay the passage and adoption of the Federal Constitution Bill.

He says the provincial administration is drawing up the Terms of Reference for a committee that would be preparing towards independence.

Mr Arabola says the Committee's tasks would include consulting with other provinces, foreign governments and investors about their views and support of declaration of independence.

"This came about because of our current political situation with foreigners. The government has indicated that it would expel the Australian component in RAMSI. So we feel that the future of Guadalcanal is more uncertain than before. That is why we are taking this option. If we attain this status, we can look after our own affairs."

Source: SIBC

Malaita Provincial Government wants RAMSI to stay

The Malaita Provincial Government has condemned any move to oust the Australian component of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare threatened to expel the Australian component in RAMSI during the recent Parliament meeting.

Premier Rueben Moli says the threats by the Prime Minister did not represent the wishes of Malaita Province.

He says the majority of people on Malaita appreciate the work done by Australia through RAMSI in restoring law and order in Solomon Islands.

"To announce such a move without consulting the people of Solomon Islands as to what we would like to happen in Solomon Islands, especially concerning the security and the welfare of the people, we see it as a slap in the face of the government's policy which talks about rural development.

Source: SIBC

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

North Malaitan represents Solomon Islands in international conference in Norway

A North Malaita leader and Director of the National Museum in Honiara, Mr Lawrence Foana'ota, has represented Solomon Islands in an international conference titled "cultural heritage and polictical innovation in the Pacific Islands" in Norway last week.

The conference at the University of Bergen in southwest Norway brought together public servants and scholars working on the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. The conference was aimed at discussing collaborations between scholars at a number of universities and cultural institutions in Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands on future research and the development of cultural heritages.

According to Professor Edvard Hviding, convenor of the research group that hosted the conference, the week-long sessions explored the importance of cultural heritage under the “emergence of new political forms in response to challenges of global political economy.”

He said that “the conference aspires to formulate a major research project that will generate discussions about cultural heritage and innovative ways in which Pacific Islanders could respond to globalization. The ambition is to form innovative analytical perspectives on connections between indigenous peoples, nations and states, as well as museums and other collections and representations of artifacts,” says Professor Hviding and his colleague and conference co-convenor at the University of Bergen, Dr. Knut Rio.

Vanuatu and Solomon Islands have been selected as the Pacific Island countries to begin this work. The Solomon Islands was represented by Lawrence Foana’ota while Vanuatu was represented by the Director of the National Cultural Center, Ralph Regenvanu.

Mr Foana’ota stated that the conference was “very useful in discussing and strengthening works that the museum has been trying to do. In particular, the conference and the planned projects will help in facilitating research and work on cultural heritage that the Solomon Islands National Museum has been trying to do,” Foana’ota said.

He says that “it also helps in strengthening the relationship between Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.” One of the initiatives being discussed is the provision of scholarships for students from Vanuatu and Solomon Islands to study at selected university with a focus on selected subjects.

The conference was organized by Professor Edvard Hviding and Dr. Knut Rio from the University of Bergen. Professor Hviding has been working in Marovo Lagoon in the Western Solomons for more than twenty years, while Dr. Rio works on the island of Ambrym in Vanuatu. Both are founding members of the Bergen Research Group in Pacific Studies. The conference was funded by the Research Council of Norway and the University of Bergen’s Department of Social Anthropology and the Bergen Museum of Cultural History. It drew participants from institutions in Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Australia, USA (including Hawai’i) and England.

Source: Solomon Star

Solomon graduate and his team discover new freshwater fish species in Solomon Islands

A Solomon Islander who has just graduated with a Master Degree in Marine Science from the University of the South Pacific in April this year, and is currently with the Hebarium Department of the Institute of Applied Science has been part of a scientific team that discovered several new freshwater fish species in the Solomon Islands.

He is Mr David Boseto who hails from Choiseul Province. According to reports, the scientific team consisted of a Wetlands International and University of the South Pacific researchers who carried out a survey last month on the island of Tetepare in the Western Solomons on fresh and estuarine environments.

It is understood that the work was funded by the MacArthur Foundation as a component of a grant entitled “Strengthening local capacity to assess, monitor, and manage the biodiversity of coastal and freshwater ecosystems in Melanesia.” The survey included four rivers, estuaries and two lakes.

During the course of this work over 60 species of freshwater and estuarine fishes were collected and the team discovered at least three new species, a new genus and one still unidentified to family level. These fishes are currently known only from this island in the Solomons. However, they may be more widely distributed as few comprehensive surveys have been carried out in the country and broader island region.

The new taxa are now being described by Aaron Jenkins and David Boseto and will be published soon. This successful survey not only found several new taxa to science but provided a measured glimpse of a virtually pristine tropical aquatic ecosystem and the abundance of life that it can support in the Solomon Islands.

Source: Aaron Jenkins, Wetlands International, USP, Suva, Fiji

Sogavare leads Solomon Islands delegation to Forum Meeting in Fiji

By George Tausiria

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Hon. Manasseh Sogavare is leading close to a 20-person delegation tomorrow for the Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Nadi, Fiji on 23-25 October 2006.

His delegation will also include cabinet ministers including foreign minister Hon. Patteson Oti, and senior government officials.

Mr Sogavare and his delegation will be picked up tomorrow morning by his Papua New Guinea counterpart, Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare, on a chartered Air Niugini flight. They will then travel together to Vanuatu to pick up their counterpart, Hon. Ham Lini and his delegation to Fiji.

Solomon Islands High Commissioner to PNG, His Excellency Bernard Bata’anisia, today said high on the Pacific Islands Forum agenda are the review of the Pacific Plan, appointment of the new Secretary General, and an update on the progress of RAMSI.

The government is yet to announce who it will support for the forum’s top job.

Preceding the PIF are the Small Island States Meeting and the Pacific ACP Meeting on the morning and afternoon of 23rd October respectively. The Post Forum Dialogue Partners will take place on the 26-27 October.

Source: Government Communications Unit

Moti saga creates fire in PNG Parliament yesterday


Anti-Australia sentiments erupted in the Papua New Guinea Parliament yesterday over the Julian Moti saga in support of a statement from Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare calling for other countries to respect Papua New Guinea’s sovereignty.

Sir Michael said an initial report presented to him indicated that Australia may not have correctly followed the extradition process. He was adamant, however, that the flight of Moti in a PNG Defence Force aircraft into Solomon Islands did not have Government permission.

The PNG Parliament met in the briefest session in its history when it sat for only 80 minutes yesterday, debating the Moti saga with other issues.

Sir Michael, who is also Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister, told Parliament: “This Government does not want to cause any diplomatic row with Australia over its request for the extradition of Moti. As Prime Minister, I want only to make sure that the decisions that we take are in accordance with our laws and our Constitution.”

Chief Australia basher from previous encounters, Morobe Governor Luther Wenge accused Australia of breaking international laws and Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer of being “over emotional”. Mr Wenge said PNG got independence on Sept 16, 1975, and was not a state of Australia. He said the laws of PNG, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu were the same as Australia and accused Australia of having “ulterior motives” when a Vanuatu court had already acquitted Moti.

Sir Michael also made a statement to Parliament to explain the Government’s position on the arrest of Solomon Islands attorney-general Moti, who Australian police want over a child molestation charge in Vanuatu.

“Firstly, I am not here to protect any individual but to uphold the sovereignty of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea.” The Prime Minister said PNG is a country completely different to Australia and, therefore, any request coming to Papua New Guinea from any country must go through the proper legal and appropriate diplomatic channels such as the Department of Foreign Affairs. Sir Michael said PNG has in place the Extradition Act 2005 and its provisions outline clearly the way in which an extradition process is to take place.

“The Attorney-General’s advice indicated that this process was not fully complied with and the arrest of Julian Moti by our authorities was not executed in accordance with this Act. If we allow our departments to be dictated to by unauthorised notices from a foreign government, we are slowly eroding our sovereignty as an independent nation.”

Sir Michael said the imposition of the Extradition Act was a complex matter and he appealed to leaders not to make ill-informed comments that do little to resolve anything. However, he said as the arrest had been made and the courts were involved, the Government had respected and upheld the process of law to take its course.

“I state categorically to this Parliament and to the people of Papua New Guinea that the covert operation that took place last week for Moti to leave PNG was done without the sanction from this Government. I want to make it emphatically clear that I did not have any prior knowledge of this operation, nor did I authorise it. Any suggestions to the contrary are mischievous and untrue.”

The Prime Minister said such an unauthorised action has very serious implications and the Government would deal with those concerned within PNG laws and regulations.
Sir Michael said the Government is not taking the matter lightly as he had instructed an investigation into the escape of Moti. He said investigations are continuing and he will make a detailed statement to Parliament in due course.

Source: The PNG National

Oti says Australians won't be asked to leave Solomons

Solomon Islands Foreign Minister Patterson Oti says Australians working in the Regional Assistance Mission (RAMSI) will not be asked to leave Solomon Islands because of the row over the former Attorney-General, Julian Moti.

Moti is in jail in Honiara on charges of entering the Solomons illegally on board a Papua New Guinea (PNG) Defence Force plane. Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has demanded Moti be sent to Australia to face alleged child sex offences.

The row between the two nations has led to suggestions that Australians would be expelled from the Solomons.

But Mr Oti says that will not happen. "No, that is not the case as has been widely speculated," he said. Mr Oti also says he believes Moti had an authentic document to enter the Solomons.

The Solomon Islands solicitor-general has told the country's High Court the date on the immigration document has been falsified.

But Mr Oti says he understands the document has not been altered. "Well, we have to verify that but as I know it [the] minister signed that document authentically," he said.

source: ABC News

Solomon boys help their teams top the New Zealand Soccer championship table

Two Solomon Islanders have scored debut goals for their teams while another has created a winning goal for his team, to ensure that their respective clubs attain the maximum three points to lead the New Zealand Football Championship table of results, after the end of round 1.

In the first game between Canterbury United and Hawkes Bay United on Saturday (14/10/06) at the English Park in Christchurch, Solomon players Batram Suri and Henry Fa'arodo came on as substitutions for Canterbury United in the 22 and 58 minutes, respectively. After being 1-1 after the 42 minutes of play, Canterbury have managed to score the winning goal in the 62 min through Joe Murray after Batram Suri stepped over a cross from substitute Henry Fa'arado to give Murray a simple tap-in. This enabled Canterbury United to win the game 2-1 and placing them on the third spot.

In another game between Waitakere United and Waikato FC on Sunday (15/10/06) at the Links Avenue in Tauranga, Solomon Islander Commins Menapi has also doubled Waitakere’s 1-0 lead within two minutes with a debut goal for the West Aucklanders before Hone Fowler put the result beyond doubt with the visitors third goal in a devastating eight minute burst.

However, Waitakere desperate to forget last season’s dismal sixth place, were guilty of wasting good first half chances that fell to Pearce, George Suri (Solomon Islander), and Edwards. But coach Steve Cain was pleased with Waitakere’s persistence and patience.

Commins Menapi was later referred to by the New Zealand media as a "constant threat" and a standout forward for Waitakere beside Allan Pearce. Waitakere United beat Waikato FC 3-1 and ensure them of the first spot on the results table after round 1 of competitions.

Another Solomon Islander who shined out during the weekend was Benjamin Totori who scored the winning goal for YoungHeart Manawatu to beat Team Wellington 2-1 to consolidate the second spot.

Benjamin Totori has helped dispel YoungHeart Manawatu’s fears of life without fellow Solomon Islander Commins Menapi. While former YoungHeart marksman Menapi was scoring on debut for Waitakere United in a 3-1 win at Waikato FC on Sunday, Totori resumed where he left off last season with the winner in Manawatu’s 2-1 upset win over Team Wellington.

Totori’s 86th strike followed a hat-trick against Wellington in last summer’s playoffs and allowed Manawatu to fight back from an early goal down at Newtown Park. Totori's goal gave new coach Shane Rufer a winning start to his reign at Manawatu which is uncertain beyond this summer after New Zealand Soccer recently denied the Palmerston North franchise a contract extension on administrative and financial grounds.

“It was a great team performance and I’m especially pleased for Benjamin Totori. But he had everyone behind him and we stayed committed and did well to come back from a goal down. Wellington really threatened in the first half and we got a lifeline and went on from it,” Rufer said.

Benjamin Totori’s probing runs and shotmaking ability saw him ghost in for the winner and the man of the match award in that game on Sunday (15/10/06) at the Newtown Park in Wellington.

Pics from: NZ Football Championship

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

North Malaita mother returns home with a piece of Solomon Islands history

After spending more than two months in Honiara since the birth of the country’s historical quadruplets, they will now return to their home village in Galilee, North Malaita today.
North Malaita mother Roselyn Suikona with her two-and-half-months-old daughters who are Solomon's first quadruplets.

Larisa, Kimisa, Ketisa and Julisa will fly home today with their happy parents Wayne and Roselyn Suikona since their birth on August 2 at the National Referral Hospital.

Mrs Suikona was airlifted to Honiara from Kilu’ufi Hospital on August 2 after experiencing labour pains - a month before her due date. At 9pm that night she gave birth to four beautiful baby girls through caesarean section. Following the operation the babies were being cared for by the nurses and doctors at the children’s nursery centre. And today after two months under post-natal care - these girls are leaving.

Yesterday the Kukum Dorcas members were at the hospital to farewell the family. The group was one of many who have visited and provided assistance to the family after Solomon Star highlighted their story in August.

Group leader Martha Losi said their visit yesterday was to donate some basic items such as soap and clothes for the girls. “We are pleased to assist these babies and we wish you well as you return to your home village,” Ms Losi told the family.

Mambo Fangaria, who used to visit the family during the weekends, arranged the Dorcas Women’s visit yesterday. Mr Fangaria said it is important church groups involved because it is part of the group’s service to those in hospital.

Mr and Mrs Suikona were lost for words yesterday as they thanked the women and all those people who have provided for the family during their two and a half months stay in Honiara. “We truly acknowledge the assistance and visits by the many people who have called in to see our little girls. We are thankful indeed,” Mrs Suikona said.

Mr Suikona stated that they were finally allowed to return home because the girls are now fit and healthy after their premature birth. However, he said they would return again in three years for further medical examination.

When asked how they (the parents) are coping with their girls. Mrs Suikona said at first it was a struggle to feed them all at once but she has now managed with the assistance of her husband and sister. The birth of the four baby girls means Mr and Mrs Suikona now have nine children - eight girls and one boy.

Source: Solomon Star

Taiwan strongly refutes alleged involvement in no-confidence vote

By George Herming

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has refuted a foreign media report alleging Taiwan’s involvement in funding Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare to defeat last week’s parliamentary no-confidence vote.

Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald carried an article claiming "funds sourced from the Taiwanese government" had assisted Mr Sogavare in surviving the no-confidence motion. The article further claimed that “opposition MPs alleged during the parliamentary debate that Asian logging company money had also been distributed to distort the political process”.

A separate article carried by the same edition said “there have been unconfirmed reports that Taiwanese funds could have been used to finance an ultimately aborted charter flight to airlift Julian Moti to avoid extradition from neighbouring Papua New Guinea”.

However, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman Michel Lu said in a Taipei Times article that it was unfair for some foreign media to run stories that damage the nation's reputation without verifying with the Taiwanese government and identifying its sources.

“Perhaps they just lack understanding about Taiwan or are prejudiced against Taiwan. But Taiwan will still work on cooperating with our allies in the right direction,” the Taipei Times quoted Mr Lu as saying.

Taiwan has been interacting with its allies based on concrete bilateral cooperative plans and has never been involved in other countries' internal affairs, Lu said.

“When it comes to diplomatic cooperation, Taiwan will not fund any individual and will not seek to influence the internal affairs of our allies,” he added.

“Taiwan pushes its diplomatic relations with other nations pragmatically and those accusations that hint Taiwan abused chequebook diplomacy are totally outdated and groundless,” Lu said.

Taiwan is helping Solomon Islands in many aspects since both countries established diplomatic ties 23 years ago. Bigger countries like Australia and New Zealand remained suspicious of Taiwan’s aid assistance to Solomon Islands. However, both countries failed to provide concrete evidence to support their accusations over Taiwan’s alleged “chequebook” diplomacy.

Solomon Islands is one of Taiwan’s solid supporters in its bid for independence from communist China.

Source: Government Communications Unit

Publication on barriers to women's representation in Parliament to be launched in Suva

From the Forum Secretariat

A publication, “A Women’s Place is in the House: The House of Parliament”, containing research reports on barriers to women’s parliamentary election in Pacific Island Countries will be launched by the Forum Secretariat in Suva, Fiji this Thursday 19th October.

“There is a real need for a more coordinated and strategic approach to address the gross under-representation of women in all parliaments in Forum Island Countries. That is why the Pacific Plan includes a specific initiative to develop a strategy for participative democracy and electoral process with emphasis on women, youth, non-state actors and people with disability,” Greg Urwin, Secretary General of the Forum says.

“This set of research reports provides a comprehensive analysis of both social and electoral barriers to women’s parliamentary representation, which we hope will assist member countries and the region to progress notions of participative democracy,” Mr Urwin says.

He says the issue of under representation of women in Parliaments in FIC’s is not just a matter of human rights.

“Increased balance between the sexes in decision-making goes hand in hand with good governance as it ensures attention to issues that may otherwise be overlooked. Increased gender equality in decision making lends to better development decisions.”

“Despite commitments at both the regional and international level, the Pacific as a region fares the worst in the world in terms of women’s representation and participation in parliaments.”

The draft research findings were presented and discussed at the Pacific Regional Workshop on Advancing Women’s Representation in Parliaments in Cook Islands early this year organized by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), the UNDP Pacific Sub Regional Centre (UNDP PSRC), the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and UNIFEM Pacific.

The research reports were written by Elise Huffer, Jon Fraenkel, Fakavae Taomia, Susie Saitaka Kofe, ‘Ofa Guttenbeil Likiliki and Alamanda Lauti.

Complimentary copies of A Women’s Place is in the House: The House of Parliament will be distributed to key stakeholders and development partners. Additional copies can be ordered from the Forum Secretariat for FJD 25 and will be made available on line in due course.

Press release forwarded to TARD by Betty Fakarii

Two new SI Ministers sworn in this morning

by Alfred Maesulia

Two new Solomon Islands government ministers were sworn in at the government house this morning.

Hon Steve Abana swore-in as the new minister for National Planning and Aid Coordination replacing Gordon Darcy Lilo. Lately Mr Abana was the chairman of the government caucus.

Hon Lilo was reshuffled to replace former Minister of Finance Bartholomew Ulufa’alu who was relieved on medical grounds this week.

In another replacement, government backbencher Mark Kemakeza is the new Minister of Mines and Energy.

Replaced Hon Toswell Kaua who was reshuffled as the new Minister of Agriculture and Livestock. Mr Kaua replaced Hon Trevor Olavae who resigned also on medical grounds.

The swearing in ceremony was administered by His Excellency the Governor General Sir Nathaniel Waena in the presence of top government officials.

Press release forwarded by Betty Fakarii, Honiara

Solomons PM warned of aid removal dangers

By Steve Marshall in Honiara and staff reporters

The Solomon Islands Opposition Leader has warned his Prime Minister that removing the Australian-led aid package to the Solomons will destroy the country's peace.

Australia has threatened to impose conditions on aid to the Solomons.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard says Australia has every right to attach conditions to its aid.

"If you want Australian aid, you've got to reduce corruption," he said.

"If you want Australian aid, you've got to improve governance."

Solomons Opposition Leader Fred Fono says Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare's threat to terminate the regional assistance mission, RAMSI, because of Australia's push to extradite wanted appointed Attorney-General Julian Moti, will have an adverse impact on the Solomon Islands.

Mr Fono says Moti must be so special to Mr Sogavare that the Prime Minister is prepared to allow the country to suffer for the Attorney-General's sake.

Australia wants to extradite Moti for alleged child sex offences.

Papua New Guinea's Acting Prime Minister has also called on the Solomon Islands Government to be cautious in taking any action that might derail RAMSI.

Don Polye says the long-term interest of the Solomon Islands is far more important than Moti.

He says Australia's decision to suspend visits by PNG politicians over Moti's escape from PNG territory is regrettable but understandable.

Mr Polye also says the likely cancellation by Australia of a ministerial forum between the two countries without consultation is unfortunate.

Source: ABC News

Monday, October 16, 2006

Australia to make South Pacific aid conditional

Australia says it will impose conditions on aid to Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Solomon Islands to get better governance in the South Pacific.

The Prime Minister, John Howard, says Australia has every right to attach conditions to its aid.

"If you want Australian aid, you've got to reduce corruption. If you want Australian aid, you've got to improve governance," Mr Howard said.

"If you want Australian aid, you've got to have a better approach to economic management.

"It's not a question of forcing countries to do things, it's a question of defending the operation of the rule of law in Australia."

Mr Howard says the diplomatic fight with Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands is caused by the police effort to extradite and prosecute the suspended Solomons Attorney-General, Julian Moti.

He says the Government will not interfere with the police and the rule of law.

Source: ABC News

SI Prime Minister drops Bart Ulufa'alu and Trevor Olovae from his cabinet

Reliable reports that reach TARD from sources at the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation (SIBC) in Honiara has revealed that Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Hon Manasseh Sogavare, has dropped two of his cabinet ministers.

The two ministers are Hon Bartholomew Ulufa'alu (Minister of Finance) and Hon Trevor Olovae (Minister of Agriculture and Livestock). Reasons behind the sacking is still not known as of this stage. The swearing-in of the two new ministers is being delayed until tomorrow to be held at the Government House.

However, unofficial reports indicated that the Prime Minister replaces Ulufa'aulu on medical grounds as he is medically unfit to carry the roles under the Finance portfolio. Trevor Olovae is believed to be dropped for some comments he made on a recent trip to Papua New Guinea. On the contrary, our source has stated that latest reports from PM's office has it that Olovae resigns on medical grounds.

As a result, Hon Mark Kemakeza is now the new minister for Mines and Energy. Hon Toswell Kaua is shifted from Mines and Energy to Agriculture. Hon Gordon Lilo has moved from National Planning to the Finance Ministry. Hon Steve Abana is appointed as the new Minister for National Planning.

Source: Joseph Inomae @SIBC

To'abaita student offered two Australian Scholarships

North Malaita student at the University of the South Pacific's Laucala Campus and TARD Chairman, Mr Exsley Taloiburi, has been offered two Scholarships to undertake postgraduate studies in Australia next year 2007.

Mr Taloiburi has been accepted for the 2007 Australian Leadership Award Scholarship and the Tasmanian International Scholarship.

The Australian Leadership Awards (ALA) is a new award under which the Australian Government offers scholarships and fellowships for current and future leaders from the Asia-Pacific Region.

In addition, the Australian Leadership Awards provide exceptional educational opportunities in Australia. They are awarded to professionals who are already leaders or have a potential to assume leadership roles that can influence social and economic policy reform and development outcomes, both in their own countries and in the Asia and Pacific region.

The ALA Award provides scholarships for longer-term post-graduate study at masters or doctoral level and fellowships for short-term research, study or professional attachments. They will bring around 3200 scholars and fellows in the five years from 2006-2011 to study in Australia. It is managed by AusAID Canberra as part of Australia's overseas aid program. The Awards are available to present and future leaders and personnel in corporate, academic, non-government and government services.

2007 ALA scholarships were open for applications from 1 May to 31 July 2006. Successful applicants were advised early this month. General fields of study relevant to leaders in the region may include but are not limited to management, economics, business, political science, philosophy, history, law and public policy. In 2007, study programs that relate to priority fields of study will also be targeted in international trade, disease pandemics, security and clean energy.

According to information from AusAid Canberra, they have received almost 1000 applications from various regions throughout Asia and the Pacific. ALA scholarships are for postgraduate study (Masters or PhDs) in Australia. Only 30 doctoral and 150 masters degree scholarships were awarded for study commencing in Australian universities in 2007.

Mr Taloiburi is expected to pursue a Master of Environmental Management at the University of Tasmania in Hobart, Australia beginning in semester 1 2007 under that ALA scholarship.

In lead up to the applications for the Australian Leadership Award, Exsley was also offered a Tasmania International Scholarship by the University of Tasmania. This scholarship enables an awardee to pay only 75 percent of the registered tuition fees for the entire course, and is open to all international students ranging from foundation to postgraduate studies. It is awarded on academic achievements in secondary, diploma or degree level courses.

This is another major achievement for the student initiated volunteer group, TARD, as well as the people of North Malaita which will help restore a good image to the region which has been tarnished badly by the recent ethnic problem in Solomon Islands.

Commerce Business Law team listens to rural people in Malaita and Western Province

by Alfred Maesulia

The Department of Commerce has just concluded the first stage of its Business Law Reform consultations in Malaita and Western Province.

The Permanent Secretary of Commerce, Industries and Employment, Jeffrey Wickham, led the team which consisted of legal experts from the Asian Development Bank, the Company Registry as well RAMSI and Solomon Island staff from the Economic Reform Unit in the Ministry of Finance.

During their consultations a number of issues were raised with the team by Provincial Governments, local business operators, business leaders and the public about the difficulties faced by Solomon Islanders wanting to start, operate and expand their own business:
• The cost of registering a business or starting a company, which can be thousands of dollars, is too high for most Solomon Islanders to afford;
• The process of registering a business or starting a company is very time consuming and involves a lot of unnecessary paper work; and
• The current business laws and regulations are unclear and difficult to understand.

The Business Law Reform project aims to address these concerns and help Solomon Islanders to quickly and easily start and operate their own registered business. The project will:
• Modernise and rewrite the Companies Act and other legislation related to business regulation;
• Streamline the business registration process to make it cheaper, quicker and easier to start a business;
• Improve company structures so it is easier to get a loan from a bank; and
• Make it quicker and easier to enforce a business contract.

The consultations are part of a 2 year Department of Commerce project, funded by the Australian Government and the Asian Development Bank to reform the business laws in Solomon Islands.

Commenting on the consultation process, the Minister for Commerce, Industries and Employment, Hon. Peter Shanel, said: “The Business Law Reform project being run by my Department is very important for the future of Solomon Islands. Better business laws will encourage a strong local business base, which will help more Solomon Islanders to get jobs and earn a good income to support themselves, their families and their communities. It also means that the government will be able to collect more tax revenue, meaning more clinics, schools, roads, and other services will reach rural grassroots people.”

Further Provincial and business consultations are planned in the future to get more feedback on how new business laws can best help Solomon Islanders to start and run businesses. Suggestions can also be forwarded to or or posted to Jeffrey Wickham, Department of Commerce, Industries and Employment, PO Box G26, Honiara.

Press release emailed to TARD by Betty Fakari'i (under-secretary in Solomon Islands Ministry of Provincial Government & Rural Development)

Illiteracy does not hinder SI women from self-employment: an inspirational story from the MAF

Press release from the SPC's Cultural Development Bureau

When Anne Maedia was a nurse at Honiara’s main hospital, she noticed how much flowers cheered up patients at the bare wards. That gave her an idea–why not a floristry business? She approached local florist Primrose Maetoloa, who agreed to let Anne “learn by looking”.
FLOWER POWER: Solomon Islands florists Anne Maedia (left) and Primrose Maetoloa (right) at the MAF in Suva.

By 1999, Anne decided she had the skills and the confidence to swap nursing for floristry. She and Primrose now run a blooming company together, their own gardens supplying most of their flowers. Their clients range from individuals to companies and government departments – and a local businessman who pays them to take flowers twice a week to Anne’s old hospital.

Now it’s Anne’s turn to share what she has learned with the 30 members of Honiara Grassroots Women in Self-employment. Ten of the members have participated in the Third Melanesian Arts and Cultural Festival (MAF) with the assistance of the Solomon Islands government.

The festival has given the women a bigger market for their baskets and jewellery than is possible in the Solomon Islands. A basket worth $15 Solomon dollars in Honiara was sold during the Festival for about $20 Fiji dollars.

But more importantly, says president and jewellery-maker Gaye Au Ramosaea, the women have picked up fresh ideas they will put into practice back home.

Anne, the secretary of the three-year-old group, says most of its members are illiterate. But their culture and traditions have handed them skills in cooking and handcrafts. The women pool their knowledge, learning about money-handling, improving the quality of their work, and setting prices. “It’s about women helping themselves,” says Anne. Their self-esteem also rises: “It gives women confidence, being out at the market day after day, and not just working at home,” she says.

“They are motivated. Even if they can’t read and write, they can earn money for their families. They sometimes earn more than their husbands.”

Anne adds: “The husbands … realise that the women can do something for the family. All the women in this group are paying their children’s school fees themselves.” In Anne’s case, she brings home more profit in a day than her nurse husband can earn in a fortnight.

The earnings of enterprising women like Anne can lift families out of poverty, says Linda Petersen, the women’s development adviser at the Pacific Women’s Bureau at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

However, governments need to recognise the value of such projects when developing strategies for reducing hardship: “They should support these efforts through the provision of resources and basic infrastructure,” said Ms Peterson.

Source: SPC

Copyright©2006-2010 To'abaita Authority for Research and Development (TARD). All rights reserved