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

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Sogavare describes the arrest of Moti as a clear reflection of Australia's bullying tactic

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare describes the arrest of newly appointed Attorney General Julian Moti as a clear reflection of Australia's bullying attitude to small Pacific Island countries.

Mr Sogavare says the Australian Government had gone as far as disregarding appointments made by a legally established Commission.

Mr Sogavare says the government is in close contact with Papua New Guinea officials to secure the travel of Mr Moti to Honiara today.

He says Solomon Islands is deeply disappointed over the issue initiated by Australia.

Source: SIBC

Solomon Prime Minister defends appointment of AG as procedural

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, says the appointment of Australian lawyer, Julian Moti as Solomon Islands new Attorney General is procedural.

Mr Sogavare says the appointment was made by the Legal and Judicial Services Commission which is headed by the Chief Justice upon his recommendation.

He says as the Prime Minister, he had the powers under Solomon Islands constitution to recommend a suitable qualified person for the post of Attorney General.

He says the decision to recommend Mr Moti was based on his legal qualifications and understanding of Solomon Islands laws and the constitution.

The Prime says a Graduate Diploma was higher than a Bachelor Degree and that media assumptions that Mr Moti only had a Diploma in Legal Practice was a total lie and defamatory.

The Prime Minister says previous governments had also made recommendations on persons they wanted for the post of Attorney General just as he had done.

Mr Sogavare says if people had problem with government decisions then they should take up the matter through the court and not in the media.

The Prime Minister says he was not at all moved by comments against the appointment of Mr Moti for the Attorney General post.

Source: SIBC

Friday, September 29, 2006

BREAKING NEWS: Solomon Islands' new Attorney General, Julian Moti, arrested in POM City

New Attorney General Julian Moti has been arrested in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

Australia's Minister for Justice, Senator Chris Ellison, says Julian Moti was arrested in response to an urgent request from the Australian Government.

Senator Ellison says the Australian Government welcomes Papua New Guinea’s assistance, at a very short notice.

He says the Australian Government will seek Mr Moti’s extradition from Papua New Guinea to face prosecution in Australia for an alleged child sex offence.

Senator Ellison says the Australian Government attaches the utmost importance to ensure that persons facing such allegations are brought to trial in Australia.

SIBC News understands that Mr Moti was to have travelled to Honiara today on Air Niugini.

Source: SIBC

SI to start preparation for OFC U20 Soccer Qualifying Tournament

The Solomon Islands preparation for the OFC U20 qualifying tournament in New Zealand will start shortly to ensure the team is ready come January.

National coach Patrick Miniti says training will have to be stepped up in the coming weeks to ensure a better prepared side represents the country in the competition.

Solomon Islands reached the finals in the last OFC U20 qualifying campaign in Honiara before losing to Australia. Miniti would like to go one better this time by achieving the ultimate goal to represent the OFC region in the finals of a major competition.

But while that is his goal, Miniti also understands the limitations he is faced with and is to meet shortly with the SIFF Secretariat and President to discuss how best he would like the team prepared.

The team will need to play international friendly matches with teams from outside the country to measure their strength. So far the Solomon Islands have played friendly matches with the visiting PNG club - PRK Souths United - and the PNG National Under 20 side in Lae recently.

Miniti thinks the team would need similar matches with quality sides to enable the him to select his best for the U20 qualifying competition in Auckland.

With Australia out of the picture, there is a decent chance for the Solomon Islands to have a shot at the FIFA World Cup Finals for this age category.

According to Miniti, he would call up other potential players whom he thinks have the quality to be in the train-on squad and assess them. Miniti says selection will be very tough this time round and players who think they have secured their place in the team will have to think twice.

Meanwhile, Miniti will hold a squad briefing on Monday next week at the SIFF Academy at 3pm.

Source: Oceania Football Confederation

Solomon delegation to the 3rd Melanesian Arts Festival have arrived in Fiji

The Solomon Islands delegation to the 3rd Melanesian Festival of Arts and Culture have successfully arrived in Suva early this morning.

According to information obtained from a local Solomon Star journalist who accompanied the group to cover the festival, the Solomon delegation which consists of dancers, pan-pipers, carvers, and officials have arrived in Suva around 2am Fiji time early this morning. They are now accomodated at the Marcellin Primary School in Vatuwaqa which is about 15 minutes drive from the heart of Suva City where the festival venue is located. The Solomon delegation should make up some 46 dancers, carvers, and officials.

However, it is understood that only half of the delegation have managed to find space in yesterday's flight from Honiara via Port Vila to Nadi. As a result another half of the Solomon delegation are still in Honiara and are expected to fly to Suva on tuesday next week. Therefore, they will miss the opening ceremony on monday evening. Reports also suggested that at least three of the Solomon delegation were offloaded last night in Port Vila due to unconfirmed seats and they will have to wait for tuesday next week before joining the group that is still in Honiara to come to Fiji.

Last night's flight was fully booked because the Vanuatu delegation is also expected to travel to Fiji in that same flight with the Solomon delegation, thus creating problems in transporting our dancers and officials to Fiji.

Honiara law firm launches defamation suit on behalf of Julian Moti

A Honiara Law firm, representing the newly appointed attorney general Julian Moti says it has taken the first steps in launching a defamation case on behalf of Mr Moti.

In a statement, Pacific Lawyers says it has named the Solomon Star newspaper, the opposition leader, the speaker of the national parliament and Honiara lawyer John Keniapisia as defendants.

The law firm says the defendants will be sued for making false and highly defamatory statements about Mr Moti.

Pacific lawyers demands that the newspaper, Fred Fono, Sir Peter Kenilorea and Mr Keniapisia immediately withdraw their statements, apologise to Mr Moti and pay damages and costs in this matter.

It says Mr Moti was a former founding partner of the firm, and he has local, regional and international reputation as a highly skilled and ethical lawyer.

Pacific Lawyers says Mr Moti had been shocked by the statements about his private and public life, which he regard as defamatory.

It says Mr Moti plans to institute legal proceedings in Solomon Islands and elsewhere to protect his reputation and livelihood.

Source: SIBC

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Australia warns of rising tensions in the Solomons

Australia has warned of rising tensions in Solomon Islands amid a diplomatic row between the two neighbours and a looming no-confidence vote targeting the leadership in parliament next week.

Radio New Zealand International quotes Australia’s foreign ministry as saying that with the resumption of parliament next week, Australians should avoid protests and large gatherings.

Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, faces a no-confidence vote organised by opposition lawmakers. Mr Sogavare expelled Australia’s top diplomat this month, accusing him of undermining a government-ordered inquiry into two days of rioting in April.

Since 2003, Australia has led a South Pacific aid mission to stamp out corruption and restore security in Solomon Islands after it came close to collapse amid ethnic violence and mismanagement.

Nearly 400 troops and an extra 120 police from Australia, New Zealand, Tonga and Papua New Guinea were rushed to the Solomon Islands after national elections sparked the April riots which left Honiara's Chinatown in ruins.

In another related news, a regional academic says the appointment of a controversial lawyer, Julian Moti to the position of Solomon Islands Attorney-General will further sour already tense relations with Australia.

Radio New Zealand International reports the associate professor of governance at the University of the South Pacific Dr Jon Fraenkel as saying the judiciary and the legal fraternity have been independent up until now.

This month's decision to sack the Attorney-General Primo Afeau came after he disagreed with government policy. Dr Fraenkel says the appointment of Mr Moti whose past includes charges of rape in Vanuatu that were eventually dismissed and being banned for interfering in local politics in Solomon Islands was not a good signal to Australia.

He says the political situation in Solomon Islands was fluid and the motion of no confidence in the government may see further changes occur.

Source: SIBC

Solomon delegation travel to Fiji today for 3rd Melanesian Arts Festival in Suva

The Solomon Islands delegation to the Melanesian Festival of Arts in Suva, Fiji will leave Honiara today. It is understood forty six people are in the delegation for the festival whick kick off on monday next week.

Dancers and carvers from Central, Ysabel, Malaita, Rennell Bellona and Western provinces will represent the country at the Festival. Provincial reports from Central Province stated that the 12 women dancers from the province have never travelled out of the Solomon Islands thus, this trip to Fiji will be their first overseas tour which would be treasured for a very long time.

Meanwhile, Fiji officials are leaving no stones unturned as they gear up for the 2006 Melanesian Arts and Cultural Festival which will coincide with Fiji Day on October 10th, the 36th Anniversary of Fiji's independence in 1970. From October 2nd to October 11th, cultural groups from the Melanesian Spearhead countries - Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, and Papua New Guinea - will converge in Suva. This will be the third Melanesian Arts Festival (the previous two were in Honiara in 1998 and Port Vila in 2002).

The theme of this year's festival is "Living Cultures, Living Traditions". Sukuna Park in downtown Suva will be the venue for the handicraft and cooking demonstrations, plus lunchtime entertainment. The Suva Civic Center across the street from the park will host the arts and crafts exhibition. Admission to the festival village and exhibitions will be free to the public.

The Melanesian Arts Festival's combined evening performances will be held at the Suva Foreshore just a few minutes walk from the Sukuna Park. However, the most spectacular singing and dancing will be during the opening and closing ceremonies at the Post Fiji National Stadium, just beside the University of the South Pacific campus at Laucala Bay. In addition, there will be symposiums, forums, and seminars on Melanesian arts and culture at the Civic Center, Festival Village, and university campus throughout the week.

The VIP guests and delegations are expected to be accomodated at the Holiday Inn and Tanoa Plaza Hotels whilst the dancers and artists will stay in various schools around the Suva City vicinity. The Solomon delegation might stay in the Vatuwaqa Primary School which is also beside the University of the South Pacific. Other cultural groups that have shown interest to become part of this festival include the Aborigines, Thursday Island, and Torres Strait Islands.

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SI Parliament Speaker says Julian Moti's appointment as new AG unprocedural

The Solomon Islands Speaker of National Parliament Sir Peter Kenilorea says procedures were not followed in the appointment of the new attorney general Julian Moti.

Sir Peter says the appointment of Mr Moti was made outside the normal ways of recruitment. He says although the Prime Minister has the right to recommend candidates for the post, the position was not vacant or advertised.

Sir Peter says advertising the position would have been the normal procedure which would have given a chance for other qualified local lawyers to apply. "One would have thought that normal advertisement would have been the case. We advertise vacant post and of course people would apply as a result of that advertisement, and then it would have been processed through the Judicial and Legal Services Commission".

Sir Peter was contributing to a debate in the media on Mr Moti's suitability for the position.

Meanwhile, former East Kwaio MP, Alfred Sasako has accused the Judicial and Legal Services Commission for not acting independently in the appointment of Julian Moti as the new attorney general.

Mr Sasako says the commission was fully aware of the politics and controversy that persisted to the time of the appointment. He says this undermines the independence of the commission.

Mr Sasako says the commission had the power to declare un-procedural, the manner in which Mr Moti was recommended as the only candidate for the position. He says the post should have been advertised to give a level playing field to other highly qualified local lawyers.

Mr Sasako says the commission should explain the wisdom which led it to make the appointment. "I believe that the commission has a responsibility not only to itself but to the people of this nation. And therefore any decision that it makes
that calls into question the very independence of that institution. I believe that ought to be explained and explaining it you are accounting for your actions, and two transparency. These are the so called pillars of good governance."

Source: SIBC

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

TARD to convene another Academic Training for its students

The To'abaita Authority for Research and Development (TARD) will be convening another academic training for its members and other interested Solomon Islands students in Suva, shortly.

TARD through its chairman has successfully organised its first academic training session last month for 18 North Malaita and other Solomon students, at the University of the South Pacific Student Association Conference room. Topics that were covered in the first session include: "Mastering Essay Writing" and "How to write a good research paper/report".

During the training, students were allowed to share their difficulties in how to write essays and reports for course assignments, projects, writing competitions, and exams. The training covered specific areas such as how to understand essay topics, how to collect relevant information, how to overcome the writer's block, and what should be included in an essay to stimulate the reader's attention. In addition, it also covered what to include in the different structures of a research report.

Training Session 2 will be convened on Sunday (08/10/06) at the USPSA Conference room and we are now calling for expression of interests from TARD members and other Solomon Island students, particularly pre-service students who have little or no experience in the workforce. Topics that will be covered include:

- How to write a good job Resume or CV and find out the difference between them;
- How to write a good cover letter that can get you a job interview;
- How to prepare for, handle, and follow up on a job interview.

It is anticipated that there will be a repeat session of the first training on Essay writing the following sunday (15/10/06). Several students have already shown keen interest in attending both or either of the sessions.

We would therefore call on all TARD members and any interested Solomon student who might need this volunteer training to contact us through email at and indicate which session you want to attend. However, we will only take the first 20 students who forwarded their names to us because of venue restrictions and training materials. The deadline is this friday (29/09/06) and details will be forwarded to confirmed participants early next week.

SI Minister of Education and Pacific colleagues talk ICT for expanding education to rural areas

Dr Derek Sikua, Minister of Education joined Education Ministers from 15 other Pacific Island Forum Memeber States and other high level policy makers in Fiji yesterday to focus on the challenges facing education policy makers when looking at the role of ICT in expanding educational opportunities.

They recognised the potential of ICT for enhancing the quality of learning and teaching for students and their teachers, sustaining lifelong learning, improving policy planning and management and narrowing the ‘digital divide’. They agreed, amongst others, that the key priorities for using ICT should be to improve delivery of quality education to remote rural school communities, provide in service training opportunities for their teachers, regularly collect school survey data from them and to provide access to better learning materials.

Ministers were reminded that integrating ICTs into educational systems and activities can be problematic if not planned carefully and can lead to ineffective and wasteful expenditure. On the other hand if a set of analytical and planning tools were systematically used they would encourage careful policy making and planning.

The Ministers were introduced to a prototype version of an ICT-in-Education Toolkit that has been developed by UNESCO and its partners to assist education policy makers, planners and practitioners in a systematic process of planning ICT use to meet educational goals and targets efficiently and effectively.

The Toolkit provides planners and education managers with 6 toolboxes which takes them through the essential stages of identifying educational areas where ICT could make an impact and then the important planning and implementation steps needed to ensure that the investment in ICT is effective and is sustainable.

Participants were shown how the Toolkit worked and were reminded that the Toolkit was only an instrument to improve decision making, planning and implementation and would not replace the need for a clear ICT in education policy. This week two Solomon Islanders are attending a 5 day workshop in Fiji on how to use the Toolkit.

Afterwards Dr Sikua commented “that the Solomon Islands Ministry of Education was establishing 9 distance learning centres in community high schools – one in each province – equipped with high speed internet via a direct satellite connection, laptop computers and printers and all powered by solar panels. The first centre in Pamua, Makira Province was connected 2 weeks ago and will provide a wide range of communications and learning resources to the local community. I am proud that we now have the first remote, rural community learning centre served by a high speed internet connection in a Pacific Island state. This ‘first’ will provide all of us with a model to learn from and I look forward to sharing our experience of using ICT to deliver learning opportunities to remote rural communities with my fellow Ministers”.

Source: PF Net

Solomon Islands plan to establish high commission office in Suva next year

The Solomon Islands government is planning to establish a High Commission office in Suva as early as next year, 2007.

In receiving the credentials of the Fiji’s new High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, His Excellency Ratu Isoa Tikoca, the Governor General His Excellency Sir Nathaniel Waena said the Solomon Islands government’s commitment to establish a High Commission in Suva is a testament to strengthen its presence in regional discussions.

Sir Waena stated that this further attests to the strong policy objective of the government to proactively strengthen its presence in regional dialogue and discussions. He added that the Solomon Islands government fully supported the establishment of a High Commission to ensure the two countries noble endeavors are forged.

Meanwhile, it is understood that the Republic of Fiji has welcomed the proposed establishment of Solomon Islands High Commission Office in Suva next year.

According to his Excellency Ratu Isoa Tikoca, he said Fiji is prepared to facilitate the establishment of the office. He also expressed that the proposed establishment of a High Commission in Suva in 2007 is warmly welcomed and the Fiji government is ready to facilitate its setting up.

Ratu Tikoca anticipates that the office will be a direct link between Solomon Islanders living in Fiji and the government of Solomon Islands.

It is expected that such development will no doubt be appreciated by the Solomon Islands community working, studying or living in Fiji.

Solomon Island Youths encouraged to learn about their cultures

Young people have been encouraged to learn about their cultures. Co-ordinator of the Baefua Cultural Group in Lau-Mbaelelea Constituency, North Malaita, Peter Lautalo, says culture is people's identity and resource.

The Baefua Cultural Group had recently performed for the Pacific Islands Forum Economic Ministers during their meeting in Honiara.

"I encourage youths to take part in cultural activities. I realised that many young people were only involved in modern music entertainment and less on cultural activities. I am appealing to young people in the country to learn about and revive the cultural activities."

Mr Lautalo says the group also performed during last week’s National Trade and Cultural Show.

He says their Parliamentarian and Provincial member have been helping them take part in national events.

Source: SIBC

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

North Malaita student offered grant to pursue PhD Studies in France

A North Malaita postgraduate student at the University of the South Pacific and future leader has been accepted to pursue Doctoral (PhD) studies at the University of Toulouse III in France.

The student whose achievement stand to inspire upcoming scholars is Mr Luke Mani, who hails from Rufoki Village in West Fataleka. Luke Mani also has blood ties to To'abaita through his mother who is originally from Sulagwalu Village in North Malaita.

A brief of Mr Luke Mani's educational background include:

- Bachelor of Science (chemistry emphasis), USP, 1991-1993;
- Postgraduate Diploma (Chemistry), USP, 2003;
- Master of Science (Chemistry), USP, 2004 to early 2005
Msc thesis title: Isolation and characterization of antibacterial compounds from the Fijian marine sponge, Suberea clavat.

Since 2005, he has worked with the Institute of Applied Science at the University of the South Pacific on various collaborative drug discovery projects including one with the University of Utah (anticancer drugs from marine sponges) and the Georgia University of Technology (anticancer, antibacterial and antifungal drugs from marine algae). These partnerships, funded by the pharmaceutical industry and the United States government have resulted in patents including one filed for an anticancer compound in early 2006 by the Georgia University of Technology group.

In early 2006 Dr Cecile Debitus, Professor Bill Aalbersberg and Luke Mani applied for and secured a PhD thesis grant from the L’Institut de recherché pour le developpement (IRD), a French institution with interests in research/development related to tropical countries. It is understood that IRD receives hundreds of applications annually from across the Carribean, Africa, Asia-Pacific and latin America for doctoral thesis projects – the successful ones getting funded.

According to Mr Mani, his proposed thesis project is titled “Antimalarial Marine Natural Products from Solomons and Fiji”. The proposed thesis involves discovery of new antimalarial agents. Small compounds are extracted from marine organisms and tested for inhibitory activity against the enzyme, protein farnesyl tranferase (PFtase) - the inhibition of which is lethal on Plasmodium falciparum. Compounds having best properties are tested against a further complement of other biological and biochemical assays and finally against animal malarial models (P. vinckei petteri). Chemical modification (semi-synthesis) will also be performed to evaluate structure activity relationships.

New antimalarial agents are expected from this study. In case of a relevant antimalarial activity, compounds maybe proposed for support for development to Medecine for Malaria Venture, (an organization focused on fighting the global malaria epidemic). The results obtained during the thesis will lead to international papers or patent depending on the chemical novelty of the bioactive compounds obtained. This thesis will contribute to the capacity building of Solomon Islands and the University of the South Pacific in a field of particular interest to our nation.

The research will be done at the UMR152, Université Paul Sabatier (University of Toulouse III) in France under the supervision of Dr Cécile Debitus. The UMR152 has been involved since 2003 concentrating research efforts on antimalarial agents discovery.

Mr Luke Mani is expected to leave Fiji to the Solomon Islands later next month to spend a few days with family members before flying off to Paris, France in early November. Upon completion of his 3 year studies, Mr Mani would become the first Fataleka and To'abaita person to hold a Doctorate degree especially in the field of Chemistry.

Therefore, on behalf of all the North Malaita students and people we would like to extend our sincere congratulations to Mr Luke Mani and family for his recent personal achievement. It is indeed a huge challenge and inspiration at least to all our North Malaita upcoming scholars to follow Mr Mani's footsteps, especially to go from a Postgraduate Diploma to a PhD in a very short time. Our students in Fiji also wish to extend our thank you for your family's kindness and help in hosting our social gatherings and activities at your residence. Any North Malaita student who wants to personally congratulate Mr Luke Mani can email him at

Sharzy in Australia on the PNG Legends Tour

Solomon Islands prominent artist and composer Mr Samson Allan Saeni, internationally known by his alias "Sharzy", is currently touring Australia with other renouned Papua New Guinea singers on the Legends Tour.

Mr Sharzy who has just released his recent album titled "Hem Stret" has been hitting the top spots over the past two weeks in the CHM Supersound Studios based on actual album sales in Papua New Guinea. According to the CHM Supersound Time Machine Host, Mr Shane da Man, Sharzy's recent album has only been selling in Papua New Guinea in the last few weeks. In the previous week, Sharzy held the second spot while last week he has moved up to notch the first spot ahead of other PNG artists.

The recent PNG Legends Tour to Australia is proudly sponsored by the Airlines PNG and the CHM Supersound Studios. Mr Sharzy is among other PNG legends and singing idols including Dadiigii, Chris Kassimis "The Tumbuna Man", and Tania.

On Sunday (24/09/06) they have performed to a huge crowd of PNG music die hard fans at the Brothers League Club in Cairns, Australia, with each ticket selling at AUD$33. They will be travelling to Thursday Island off mainland Australia to perform at the Royal Hotel-the Hall this coming thursday until saturday (28-30 September 2006) before returning to Papua New Guinea.

It is believed that Solomon Islander Sharzy was included in the PNG Legends Tour because of his passion for singing PNG songs and his outstanding popularity among the PNG Island Music fans.

Solomon Islands benefit from International and regional cooperation

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare says Solomon Islands continues to benefit from North–South cooperation to sustain its growth.

Speaking at the United Nations at the weekend, Mr Sogavare said Solomon Islands is working on enhancing South-South cooperation. He says he was pleased that developing countries such as Papua New Guinea have provided needed help in education and security.

Mr Sogavare says his government is focussing on renewable energy with India, Taiwan and Indonesia. He says his government hopes that development partners’ appropriate technologies will be transferred so that communities would have access to modern and affordable energy.

Mr Sogavare says the Global and Environmental Fund including United Nations Environment Programme could look at facilitating such initiatives.

In another related news, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare says Solomon Islands is pleased by a proposed United Nations project to strengthen the Provincial governments.

He says the joint United Nations Development Programme and United Nations Capital Development Fund have planed will help strengthen the provincial government system and invest in provincial infrastructure and communications.

Mr Sogavare says the proposal will strengthen democracy and brings the state closer to its people. He says his government would assist in implementing the proposal. Speaking at the UN General Assembly over the weekend, Mr Sogavare called on partners to contribute to better the lives of people.

Source: SIBC

Pacific Islands need to link science use and sustainable management of resources

By Moffat Mamu

There is a need to link science use and sustainable management to protect the resource base within sound policy framework. This was highlighted by the Director of the South Pacific Applied Science Commission (SOPAC) Cristelle Pratt yesterday at the opening of the SOPAC Governing Council in Honiara where some 200 delegates from around the region including scientists, technical experts, ministers, some geologists and university students, are meeting.

Ms Pratt said we need to recognise more and more that there is a need to link science use and management to protect the resource base within sound policy framework that reaches from regional to national to local levels, which in essence makes the sustainable use of natural resource everyone’s responsibility.

“It is also an absolutely fundamental and critical element for sustainable development, which is the mission of every Pacific Island country and territory. I am sure that you will agree that due to the interdisciplinary and multi-level nature of this challenge we must continue to provide the profile and attention that natural resources governance deserves,” she said.

Ms Pratt explained that SOPAC has evolved since its inception in 1972 into an organisation whose mandate then was to support South Pacific countries in offshore mineral prospecting and petroleum exploitation to an organisation that now has a membership that reaches and includes countries from the west Central Pacific. Not only that but it seeks to provide technical support to its member countries towards achieving sustainable development and to reducing poverty and enhancing their people resilience and livelihoods.

She said this is done through three key technical areas of ocean and Islands eco-system management of natural resources, community lifelines of energy, water and sanitation and information communication technologies and disaster risk management to build safer and more resilient communities. With this broadening she said the Council had agreed in Samoa last year that it would be timely to review and amend the SOPAC Agreement and this will be one of several policy matters for the current session.

Source: Solomon Star

Monday, September 25, 2006

To'abaita Primary School student at White River crowned 2006 Coconut Prince

A young To'abaita student studying at the White River Primary School in Honiara has been crowned as the 2006 Coconut Prince along with his female colleague who is also crowned as the Coconut Princes, in the national competition last week.

The winning prince is Roland Batarii and the princess is Velinsa Redley. Mr Roland Batarii is related to the late Roland Batarii from Kwaiana Village in North Malaita, who used to work for the National Olympic Committee of Solomon Islands (NOCSI) prior to his death a few years ago.
The winning prince and princess of White River primary school, Elinsa Redley and Roland Batarii [pic from Solstar]

The competition was hosted by the National Coconut Week organising committee and organised for the primary schools in Honiara. Unfortunately, only two of the five schools that have submitted their names to participate, turned up for the show. Only White River and Lord Howe representatives came on stage for the show, which attracted a large crowd.

The show includes a male and female from a school. It featured the prince and princess coming on stage before a handful of crowd and then present themselves in coconut dressing before making a speech about the importance of the tree. The students highlighted that coconut tree is one of the most useful trees in the country and elsewhere because it had provided useful things to the community.

A three panel member judge witnessed the show and have awarded the price to White River for its well presented appearance and speech. Solomon Tropical Products has sponsored the prizes for the competition. The winner will keep the title for this year and next year during another competition the title will be contested again.

North Malaita students help USP defend Fiji Inter-tertiary Soccer Titles

Three To'abaita students and active TARD members have contributed greatly to the University of the South Pacific Soccer teams in its effort to successfully defend the Fiji Inter-tertiary Soccer title and claiming second the spot as well, last Saturday in Suva.

The three To'abaita student heros are Mr Alwyn Danitofea, Mr William Fikutoa Abuinao, and Mr Lenny Olea Konamauri. Alwyn Danitofea from Roso Village and William Abuinao from Gwaunasu'u Village in North Malaita, are both first line up defenders in the USP Soccer Team 1. Mr Konamauri who is part To'abaita and Baelelea is the first choice goal-keeper and crowd entertainer in the USP Soccer Team 2.

The Fiji Intertiary Games is an annual competitive event that is organised for all tertiary institutes in Fiji in sports such as soccer, netball, volleyball, basketball, rugby, touch rugby, field hockey, table tennis, swimming, squash, chess, lawn tennis, billiard, darts and badminton. This year's inter-tertiary games was hosted by the University of the South Pacific Students Association (USPSA) which begun from friday and ended on saturday last week. Teams that participated included all the various campuses of the University of the South Pacific (USP) and the Fiji Institute of Technology (FIT), Fiji School of Medicine (FSM), Pacific Regional Seminary (PRS), Central Queensland University (CQU), Corpes Christy, and the Fiji College of Advanced Education. After the games, the players were invited to a prize presentation and social gathering at the FMF Dome in Suva on saturday night.

During last year's inter-tertiary games, the soccer title was won by the USP Soccer team whilst the second place went to a different school. However, after the introduction of the All-rounder sports scholarship at USP this year, a lot of the soccer talents from the Pacific have been pooled together as part of the USP teams for this year's inter-tertiary games. Notable inclusions include national representatives from Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands.

Both of the USP Laucala Soccer teams 1 and 2 have managed to either win or draw all their pool games which secured a quarterfinal spot for both teams. They both won their quarter final games and proceed to the semi-finals. The USP Team 1 eventually out-played the Fiji College of Advanced Education 3 nil whilst the USP Team 2 scraped through a 2-1 victory over the Fiji School of Medicine. The grand final was never played as both teams are from USP Laucala. The games has drew a vocal crowd and supporters of more than two thousand students in all the game venues.

Therefore, the TARD executive would like to congratulate these three To'abaita students for their achievement as players in the University Soccer team.

To'abaita student completes Professional Diploma in Legal Practice in Fiji

A To'abaita student is among the two Solomon Islanders at the University of the South Pacific who were admitted to the Fiji Bar Association in Suva with 8 other regional students, last Friday.

He is Mr Flickson Samani who hails from Fulifo'oe Village in North Malaita. Another Solomon Islander who was also admitted is Mr Rodgers Tovosia. The regional students including those from Tuvalu, Samoa, Tonga, Federated States of Micronesia, Australia and Solomon Islands were duly sworn in last friday by the Chief Justice of Fiji, Daniel Fatiaki.

The admission of the students to the Fiji Bar will enable them to represent clients in the High Court of countries of Commonwealth Jurisdictions. The students have completed the Bachelor of Laws Degree at the University of the South Pacific, Emalus Campus in Port Vila, last year. Part of the training requires students to complete six months practical courses. This year the students have completed the Professional Diploma in Legal Practice (PDLP) at the Institute of Applied Legal Studies (IJALS), at the same university in Suva. This achievement has enabled them to be admitted to the Fiji Bar. The students were awarded the Fiji Legal Board Certificate.

In his remarks to the moving ceremony, Justice Fatiaki congratulated and welcomed the newly admitted lawyers to the Bar Association. He encouraged the new lawyers that their learning has just begun. But he expressed concern that a lot of lawyers in the Pacific region had deviated from the ethics of the legal profession. “I hope you will not follow the trend taken by others in the past. The Legal profession is a high calling and the privilege can be taken away if lawyers do not live accordingly,” he told the newly admitted lawyers.

The two Solomon Islanders will return to join the government soon. Mr Flickson Samani is expected to return to Solomon Islands tomorrow after his admission on friday.

Solomon Tropical Products Company plans to buy copra from villages

Farmers in the rural out-backs of Solomon Islands should soon able to sell their copra for a higher price without having to come to Honiara.

A Honiara company, the Solomon Tropical Products is planning to buy four vessels to run a service, to buy copra from villages.

General manager John Vollrath at the recent national trade and cultural show urged Solomon Islanders to make more use of their coconut trees.

Mr Vollrath says his company wants to value add the product and it will be paying a very good price to rural farmers.

" We need to service you people and the outer provinces where its uneconomical for other shipping, and make it economical and make sure you got the right price for producing copra, because you got 25-thousand tonnes in the islands, rooting under the tree that you can turn into real money. We are hoping to pay a dollar a kilo for copra in the outer islands."

Source: SIBC

Solomon Islands need quality leaders now

Chief Justice Sir Albert Palmer says the need for quality leaders in Solomon Islands is critical today.

Sir Albert says Solomon Islands is at its crucial stage of development.

He says the country needs leaders to control and manage how its resources are used now and for future generations.

The Chief Justice says good leaders also take advice from others.

Sir Albert says people must not aspire for leadership positions without appreciating the price and cost of leadership.

He says a good leader is one who is humble and is willing to serve others.

The Chief Justice was speaking during a special service at SIBC yesterday, marking the 54th year of official broadcasting in Solomon Islands.

The theme of his talk is "Quality Leaders for a better and prosperous Solomon Islands."

Source: SIBC

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Democracy is the foundation of Solomon Islands: Sogavare

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has said democracy remains the foundation of Solomon Islands political system. Addressing the 61st United Nations General Assembly on saturday he said in April his government came into power after the country’s seventh national election.

Mr Sogavare thanked the United Nations and other donor partners for helping to ensure a successful elections in the country early this year. He says despite the positive verdict by the international observers, a minor hiccup during the second part of the election resulted in three days of riots.

Mr Sogavare says the incident was a wake up call, to do more for development for its growing population. He says stability has been restored and a Commission of Enquiry has been set up to look into the matter.

Mr Sogavare says his government has put in place legislation to strengthen party system in the country to ensure political stability. Meanwhile, he renews Solomon Islands' call on the United Nations to recognize Taiwan.

Mr Sogavare urges that the right of the 23 million people of Taiwan be represented at the United Nations. He says Solomon Islands registers its disappointment that its right to discuss the issue was denied last week. Mr Sogavare says Solomon Islands feels the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter continue to be violated.

He says its time the UN live within the rules that guide the behaviour and conduct of members and have an honest debate on the issue. Mr Sogavare says Solomon Islands is also concerned on security threats on the Taiwan Strait.

He also calls on the United Nations to mediate with the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan and others solve the issue.

Source: SIBC

Australia is considering extradicting citizen

The Australian Government is considering seeking the extradition of Julian Moti who was appointed the new Attorney-General of the Solomon Islands on Thursday.

Mr Moti is an Australian citizen.

Sources said that Mr Moti would be arrested if he attempted to travel through Australia. This follows reports that he was scheduled in the next few days to transit Brisbane en route to Honiara from India.

It is believed that because of a wave of publicity about his past, he was intending to announce that he would not take up the job.

Mr Moti was in 1997 charged in Vanuatu of statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl. A magistrate dismissed the charge.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports the Australian Federal Police had already initiated extensive inquiries about the circumstances in which the charges in Vanuatu were dismissed as well as into alleged incidents in Australia.

Australia expressed concern and disappointment this week at the appointment of Mr Moti as Attorney-General amid deteriorating relations between Canberra and Solomon Islands' government.

He was banned by a previous Solomon Islands government from entering the country.

Source: SIBC

Bilikiki soccer team to cover globe enroute for Brazil

The Solomon Bilikiki Soccer team will cover the globe on their way to their first World Cup appearance in Brazil. The team will travel through Australia, Singapore, Mauritius, the French Reunion, Paris and Brazil before returning via Santiago in Chile, Auckland and Australia on their return trip.

Already there was excitement as they contemplate the opportunity to see places on their way to their first world competition. All except two had traveled outside of the region in the past and for them this opportunity is the biggest thing that happens to their lives.

As one player puts it; “We may not have another chance like this in the future and we just have to take this opportunity and make the most of it.” For now, the coaches would want the players to re-focus their attention on the big competition that is ahead rather than on the places they will visit on their way to Brazil and hopefully cause upset to the big names in their pool.

Their ultimate goal is to qualify in their pool and reach the play off stage. Their two coaches Eddie Omokirio and Vivian Wickham knows just what it means to qualify and the mission possible has started. Training at the Ranadi Beach has been vigorous with the players put through a week of body conditioning before tactical training starts.
“It is extremely important to get the players into right frame of mind and body condition before we introduce specific tactical training,” says Omokirio.

Source: Solomon Star

Replacement ADF troops bound for Solomons

About 100 Darwin-based Australian Defence Force (ADF) troops are heading to the Solomon Islands today to help fulfil Australia's role in the regional assistance mission.

The troops were farewelled this morning by the commander of the Australian Army's 1st Division, Major General Ash Power.

The soldiers are from the 103rd Medium Battery of the 8th/12th Regiment, which is based at Darwin's Robertson Barracks.

They will be replacing troops from the 101st Battery of the same regiment who have been in the Solomon Islands since June.

The soldiers form part of the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI).

The mission is also made up of troops from New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Tonga and its goal is to help the Solomon Islands Government restore law and order.

Source: ABC News

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) offer to mediate in dispute between SI and Australia

Two senior regional civil servants from Melanesia have been sent on a special mission to mediate between Solomon Islands and Australia over the expulsion of Australian diplomat, Patrick Cole from Honiara.

Regional media has reported that the mission is being put together quickly ahead of next month’s annual summit of Pacific Leaders Forum in Fiji.

One of the two, Fiji's Isikeli Mataitoga says waiting until the Forum Leaders Meeting in late October will be an inadequate response.

He says the stand-off, if not resolved now, could have a negative impact on the agenda of the Leaders Meeting.

Mr Mataitoga, the chief executive officer in Fiji’s foreign office will be accompanied by his Papua New Guinea counterpart, Gabriel Pepson.

He says the mission will be undertaken in the next few days, and a report submitted to the leaders soon after.

Mr Mataitoga says they would also encourage further dialogue directly between Solomon Islands and Australia.

The diplomatic row between Australia and Solomon Islands resulted from the expulsion of Mr Cole who was blamed for political interference.


Australian Federal Opposition accuse Downer of bully tactics over Solomons

The Australian Federal Opposition has accused the Foreign Affairs Minister, Alexander Downer, of sounding like a schoolyard bully in relation to talks with his Solomon Islands counterpart.

Mr Downer yesterday had his first meeting with the Solomon Islands Foreign Minister since the country expelled Australia's High Commissioner.

He had a clear message about keeping the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) intact. "It was not acceptable to us or to the other members of the Pacific island family to have RAMSI salami sliced," Mr Downer said.

But the Opposition's foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd says he is concerned about the Minister's tone. "The easiest thing you can do in the world is to play the part of a schoolyard bully. The hard thing is to get this relationship back on an even keel," he said.

Mr Downer also insisted Australia would not allow RAMSI to be reorganised to cut out sections dealing with corruption.

Source: ABC News

Malaita people plan to introduce culture as a subject in school curriculum

People in East Kwara'ae on Malaita Province will next month discuss the introduction of culture as a subject in the school curriculum.

The discussion will be part of activities to mark World Teachers Day at Nafinua Christian Community High School.

Chairman of the organising committee of the World Teachers Day Samson Kwasi says the people of East Kwara'ae feel young people need to be taught about their culture.

He says a number of activities will be held during the two days of celebrations.

Source: SIBC

Concerns expressed over appointment of Moti as new AG

The Opposition says it deplores the appointment of Mr Moti as the country's new Attorney General.

At its meeting yesterday, the group described the appointment as a slap on the face for qualified Solomon Islands lawyers. The group says Mr Afeau remains the legitimate Attorney general because the post was never vacant, nor was it publicly advertised so other lawyers could apply.

Group Leader Fred Fono says the group was surprised with the Commission's appointment of the controversial lawyer. He says the appointment is a disgrace and an embarrassment to the people of Solomon Islands because proper official regulations and procedures were not followed. Mr Fono says Mr Moti could have a conflict of interest because he is connected to a legal firm that is representing the two detained M-Ps.

SIBC News understands that he was the founder and a partner in Pacific Lawyers, a local law firm. The company says he no longer works for them.

Meanwhile, the Australian Government says it is deeply concerned and disappointed at the appointment of Julian Moti. A Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman says the decision has the potential to set back moves to improve good governance.

The official statement announcing Mr Moti's appointment said he was an adjunct professor in the faculty of law at Bond University in Queensland. The university said yesterday the position was voluntary and unpaid.

There has been widespread publicity given to an earlier ban on Mr Moti entering the Solomon Islands and the fact that he once represented a Chinese-Malaysian logging company. He was acquitted of had been charged with the statutory rape of a 13 year-old girl in Vanuatu in 1997. Originally from Fiji and of ethnic Indian origin, Mr Moti studied law at Sydney University and is an Australian citizen.

Most members of the Solomon Islands bar boycotted his swearing-in as a Queen's Counsel in 2003.

Also, the former Member of Parliament for Central Guadalcanal Walton Naezon says the appointment of Julian Moti as the new Attorney General is an insult to local lawyers. Mr Naezon also questions what Mr Moti means when he said in the media the appointment is a reward for his role in promoting indigenous interests in Solomon Islands. He says Mr Moti was the lawyer who advised a former Solomon Mamaloni government on the Tasivarongo project which never took off. Mr Naezon said that agreement was also an insult to the then Guadalcanal Provincial government.

He also says given the various media reports about Mr Moti he is very surprised he's now the new Attorney General for Solomon Islands. Mr Naezon warns the image of Solomon Islands will be further tarnished with Mr Moti as Attorney General. He is appealing to the government to heed the views and reservations both local and overseas people have been making about Mr Moti.

In a related news, Attorney General Primo Afeau says he's received his termination letter. Mr Afeau says the letter was signed by the Chairman of the Justice and Legal Services Commission Sir Albert Palmer. The letter says the decision was made at a meeting of the Commission on the 6th of this month.

Mr Afeau says he's vacating his office yesterday, regardless of whether he agrees with the decision. He says he won't challenge the move but says he's engaged a lawyer to look at the issue.

Mr Afeau says he's not interested in becoming a high court judge given the Prime Minister publicly stated he was being removed for misconduct and insubordination. He says he doesn't know when the new Attorney General, Julian Moti will take up office.

Source: SIBC

Friday, September 22, 2006

Downer expresses 'outrage' to Solomons counterpart during talks in New York

Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer has met with his counterpart from the Solomon Islands and discussed the diplomatic row between the two countries.
Alexander Downer: we were outraged about the expulsion of our High Commissioner, it was quite the wrong thing to do.

Australia's High Commissioner was expelled from the Solomons and Australia has hit back with changes to visa arrangements.

Mr Downer held talks with the Solomons' Foreign Minister Patteson Oti in New York.

Mr Downer has told Australian media that he expressed Australia's anger and argued against any changes to the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission in the Solomon Islands (RAMSI).

"I made a couple of points to him," he said.

"First of all I explained what we've said already, we were outraged about the expulsion of our High Commissioner, it was quite the wrong thing to do.

"But secondly, that RAMSI is an integrated package, and we're not going to have RAMSI salami sliced or neutered in anyway."

Source: ABC News

Solomon generations in Fiji await court judgement over land in December

By Jyoti Pratibha

Solomon Islands generation in Fiji from indegenous islanders who came to work in the sugar plantations in the past are currently fighting for their right in the Fiji court to live on the land they acquired from their ancestors. However, they will have to wait until December before a court judgement can be made.

High Court Judge Justice Roger Coventry adjourned the matter till December 15, when he will hand down his ruling to the Solomon Islanders and the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The Fiji Human Rights Commission Director, Doctor Shaista Shameem and legal representative of the 28 families, Anand Singh, yesterday concluded their submissions and arguments in court.

The legal counsel for the church and its parent company, the Australasian Conference Association Limited, Ian Roche also finished his arguments.

Mr Roche’s main argument was that the church was the legal owners of the land at the Tamavua-i-wai village, commonly known as the Solomon Islands' Wailoku Settlement, and that the church now needed the land for development purposes.

Speaking outside court, Mr Roche said the church had acquired the land legally and they needed it back for church use, adding that the Solomon community are not the holders of the possesory title of the land.

The lawyer for the complainants, Mr Singh said they were now awaiting the court’s decision.

The Solomon Islands families will remain at the said land till the judgment is passed by Justice Coventry.

Dr Shameem said they were representing the islanders because they had complained of their rights being violated to the commission earlier this year. “They came complaining about the eviction, but by then, the case was already being heard in Court, so we are now representing them,” Dr Shameem said.

Mr Singh had earlier commented that his clients will abide by the decision of the court and if they are ordered to move, they will do so. However, it is not clear where they are going to move if ordered by the court to vacate the said land that they have regarded as home for many years.

Source: Fiji Daily Post

Taiwan/ROC-PIF Scholarship Funds

From the Forum Secretariat

The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat yesterday received USD$181,429 from Taiwan for the implementation of scholarship awards for semester 2, 2006.

Taiwan’s Trade Representative in Suva, Fiji, Mr Sherman Kuo presented the funds to the Secretariat’s Deputy Secretary General, Iosefa Maiava.

The funds will be used to cover travel expenses for returning and new students, living/accommodation allowances and tuition fees for continuing students and advertising for 2007 awards. 2007 Scholarship awards are expected to be advertised regionally early next month and will close at the end of November 2006.

Currently, there are 23 students from Niue (2), Republic of Marshall Islands (2), Tuvalu (3), Samoa (2), Solomon Islands (9), Fiji (2), Kiribati (1) and Vanuatu (2) who are sponsored under the Scheme.

The programmes of study for 2006 cover undergraduate and post graduate courses in education, business administration, law, marine science, computer science / technology, accounting, information systems and physiotherapy.

Taiwan committed US$500,000 towards scholarships for 2006, with a total of US$355,733 being utilised for awards for the year. Taiwan/ROC had earlier released US$174,304 in February for the first semester.

Three North Malaita students who are currently benefiting from the Taiwan/ROC-PIF Scholarship; and are studying marine science, environmental science and marine affairs at the University of the South Pacific, are Mr Trevor Maeda, Mr Edward Danitofea and Mr William Fikutoa.

Source: Government Communications Unit

Australia fears Moti's appointment as AG may backfire moves to improve good governance

Craig Skehan

The Solomon Islands yesterday appointed the controversial Australian lawyer Julian Moti as its Attorney-General, despite strong opposition from the Australian Government and from within the local legal fraternity.

"The Australian Government is deeply concerned and disappointed at the appointment of Moti," a Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman said, adding the decision had the potential to set back moves to improve good governance.

Mr Moti's predecessor, Primo Afeau, had strongly opposed clauses in the terms of reference for a planned commission of inquiry into the April riots.

Australia believes the Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, intended to use the inquiry to free two MPs, Charles Dausabea and Nelson Ne'e, who are facing incitement charges.

Mr Afeau was yesterday refusing to leave his office, local media reported. There has been widespread publicity given to an earlier ban on Mr Moti entering the Solomon Islands and the fact that he once represented a Chinese-Malaysian logging company. He had been charged with the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl in neighbouring Vanuatu, but was acquitted.

Originally from Fiji and of ethnic Indian origin, Mr Moti studied law at Sydney University and became an Australian citizen. Most members of the Solomons bar boycotted his swearing-in as a Queen's Counsel in 2003.

The official statement announcing Mr Moti's appointment said he was an adjunct professor in the faculty of law at Bond University in Queensland. The university said yesterday the position was voluntary and unpaid.

Earlier this week the Solomons Government announced it had cancelled plans to appoint Mr Moti to the post.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

Solomons Deputy PM says he did not plan to resign to stand for PM's post

Solomon Islands Deputy Prime minister, Job Duddley Tausinga has denied planning to resign and stand as a candidate for prime minister in the no-confidence motion that will be tabled in parliament by the Opposition next month.

Mr Tausinga who is currently the Acting Prime minister, while Mr Sogavare is attending the United Nations Meeting in New York, was responding to stories that were circulated in various local and international media such as the Solomon Star and ABC News.

He says the suggestion is an insult to his integrity as a national leader and implies that he is hungry for power, which is not one of his characteristics.

Mr Tausinga says he is still a loyal member of the Grand Coalition for Change government led by Prime minister Manasseh Sogavare. Mr Tausinga is also the minister for Forests, Environment and Conservation.

Source: SIBC

Thursday, September 21, 2006

PNG offers Commision of Inquiry Chair and Member

by the SI Permanent Mission to UN

Papua New Guinea offered the services of retired Chief Justice Sir Arnold Amet as Chair and Noel Levi, as one of the Commissioners in response to a request from the Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.

A statement from the Solomon Islands Permanent Mission to the UN in New York said: “Prime Minister Sogavare sought Papua New Guinea’s assistance in providing Commissioners for Solomon Islands Commission of Inquiry.

”Papua New Guinea in true Melanesian Spirit promptly responded and offered the services of retired Chief Justice Sir Arnold Amet as Chair and Noel Levi, as one of the Commissioners.”

The statement said the offer was made when Sogavare met his counter-part, Sir Michael Somare, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, during the margins of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York.

“Prime Minister Sogavare, briefed the Forum Chair on the background on the stand-off between Honiara and Canberra and reiterated Solomon Islands steadfast support for RAMSI’s role and contribution to Solomon Islands,” the statement said.

Noel Levi is a former Foreign Minister of Papua New Guinea and former Secretary- General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

Mr Sogavare thanked Papua New Guinea for its understanding and support.

Source: Government Communications Unit

It is confirmed that Julian Moti is Solomons new Attorney General

Julian Moti QC, has been appointed by the Judicial and Legal Service Commission as Solomon Islands Attorney-General to replace Mr. Primo Afeau CMG.

Mr. Moti holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of Sydney, Bachelor of Laws from the Australian national University and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the Sydney University of Technology.

He is currently a Visiting Professorial Fellow for the Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India; a visiting Professor, Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India; and Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Law, Bond University, in Queensland, Australia.

He holds membership of a number of Professional Associations: President, International Law Association (Pacific Islands Branch): Member, Executive Council, International Law Association (London) Member, International Commission on Folk Law and Legal Pluralism; Associate Member, Law Society of New South Wales; Member, British Institute of International and Comparative Law; and Life Member, Solomon Islands Bar Association.

He was awarded with a Cross of Solomon Islands (CSI) on July 7, 2001 (Solomon Islands Independence Anniversary) ‘for contribution to the law and development of indigenous business enterprise in Solomon Islands’ and appointed one of Her Majesty’s Counsel for Solomon Islands (Queen’s Counsel) 2003.

He will commence his duties on completion of formalities and date he assumes duty in the country.

Source: Government Communications Unit

Afeau maintains he is still the Attorney General

Primo Afeau says he is still the Attorney General and has not been officially notified he's been removed from the job. Mr Afeau says he is working in his office as normal.

On Tuesday, the Prime Minister announced that Mr Afeau has been removed from his position because of misconduct in the office and insubordination.

But Mr Afeau says that only the Governor General can make such appointments following recommendations by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission.

He also says there's no logic in shifting someone who's supposedly been removed for misconduct in office to a higher position.

Mr Afeau says he has not agreed to be moved to the bench because his own case is stll to be resolved by the government.

He was reacting to comments by the Prime Minister who said Mr Afeau would be sidelined, and appointed a judge so that a new Attorney could take over.

Mr Sogavare made the comments in an interview with the SIBC before he left for New York to attend a United Nations General Assembly meeting.

Source: SIBC

Moti is likely to be Solomon Islands new Attorney General

There is growing concern in Honiara yesterday after indications the controversial Australian lawyer Julian Moti has been appointed the country’s next Attorney General.

Mr Moti was Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare’s choice for the post after kicking out Primo Afeau from the job. An earlier Solomon Star report that another Australian was selected to replace Mr Afeau was proven to be inaccurate.

Sources close to the Judicial and Legal Service Commission told the Solomon Star Mr Moti was the only candidate for the job. “For your information the Judicial and Legal Service Commission chaired by the Chief Justice has appointed Mr Moti as AG. But I don’t think the appointment has been made public yet,” one source said. Attempts to talk to Chief Justice Sir Albert Palmer were not successful.

According to the Constitution, the government can recommend a candidate for the post but the final decision rests with the Judicial and Legal Service Commission. Some members of the commission, were said to have been strongly opposed to Mr Moti taking up the job.

Mr Moti is a personal friend of Prime Minister Sogavare. He was the one rumoured to have advised the prime minister on the establishment of the controversial Commission of Inquiry into the April riots. The Solomon Islands Bar Association had recently opposed to Mr Moti becoming the AG on the basis that he was a foreigner. Questions were also raised about Mr Moti’s track record. He was once expelled and banned from the country for alleged interference into local politics. The ban was lift when a new government came in.

A member of the Bar Association, lawyer John Keni, said Mr Moti was an unsuitable candidate for the post. He said Mr Moti’s ethical behaviour had been seriously questioned in Vanuatu. Moti’s CV, as listed on the website for Bond University in Queensland, where he is an adjunct law professor, states he practices and teaches constitutional, corporate and commercial law in jurisdictions extending from the Solomons to India.

Court records show Moti, a QC at the Honiara bar, was charged with two counts of rape of a girl under the age of 16 in 1997 in Vanuatu. Moti denied the charges, which were dismissed by a magistrate. When the girl initiated civil proceedings, Mr Moti settled the matter out of court.

A spokesman from the Prime Minister’s Office said any announcement of the new Attorney General is likely to be made when the prime minister returns from New York.

Source: Solomon Star

Bright future for youth soccer in Solomon Islands

Youth soccer has a bright future in Solomon Islands with emerging soccer stars in the making displaying their skills at the SIFF Academy since day one of competition.

SIFF Development officer Noel Wagapu is the happiest man as he contemplates what the future hold for the kids.

His views were shared by many others who witnessed the kids play in the Honiara Primary Schools league which kicked off on Monday.

The soccer league was organized because of the high level of interest shown by kids and this is in line with SIFF's long term plan adopted from its annual congress last year.

SIFF will use the success of this competition as the benchmark for expansion into the provinces.

A staunch supporter of youth football development is the SIFF president Mr. Martin Alufurai who made his intentions known in his address at the official launching of the competition last Saturday.

He believes that the way forward for football in Solomon Islands is to start the kids early so that when they grow up they will become very competitive.

Alufurai sees the Under 12 soccer league as an ideal competition and his federation would preach the idea to all its provincial affiliates to adopt.

Source: SIFF News

It has been rumoured that Solomons Deputy may resign to go for PM's job

Adapted from the World Today - Monday 18 September, 2006
Reporter: Steve Marshall

ELEANOR HALL: What began as a diplomatic row between Australia and Solomon Islands now appears to be the spark for an internal political crisis that's threatening to bring down another Solomons government.

Solomons Opposition leader Fred Fono says he'll use the next fortnight, while Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare is overseas, to drum up support for a vote against the leader.

Mr Sogavare, who yesterday criticised Australia's peacekeeping mission in his country, is flying to North America, but he had to detour via Fiji because of Australian sanctions on Solomon Islands ministers.

Joining us now from Honiara is Correspondent Steve Marshall.

Steve, can the Solomon Islands Opposition actually force the resignation of Prime Minister Sogavare?

STEVE MARSHALL: Well, he thinks he can. I'm sitting right outside his house at the moment, having just completed a 10-minute interview with Fred Fono, and he believes, especially after last night's speech to the nation, that he has the numbers, or he can turn the numbers inside the Coalition in his favour - not for him to become Prime Minister, but certainly for a change of leadership.

ELEANOR HALL: So what's the basis of this opposition to Mr Sogavare?

STEVE MARSHALL: The bone of contention here is this commission of inquiry into the April riots. The Solomons Government wants a commission of inquiry, never mind the legal issues about it, it wants to find out what it says are the root causes behind the violence.

The Australian Government believes the commission of inquiry will be used to get two MPs who are now behind bars off the hook for their involvement in the riots. But the Solomons PM said this isn't the case. Although interesting enough today, there's a report that's been leaked on the front page of the Solomons Star, that's the local newspaper in Honiara, claiming that, the journalist has claimed that he has seen a report from the Solomons PM, this is a Cabinet document, stating that the commission of inquiry will be used to get these two MPs off the hook who are now behind bars at the moment, so very interesting indeed.

ELEANOR HALL: What's been the response to that from his political enemies there?

STEVE MARSHALL: Well, look, everyone's still talking about the speech to the nation last night, and in fact it's being called… actually, it's not being seen as a speech to the nation because it was done in English, and of course there is so many people living in the Solomons who don't speak English.

So in fact it's being called an address to the world really, because he really did unleash on Australia and the way Australia is going about its peacekeeping force in the nation, and therefore it wasn't really directed at the Solomons people, and…

ELEANOR HALL: This is the speech criticising the Australian-led peacekeeping mission?

STEVE MARSHALL: Yes, he came out all guns blazing last night. I saw him leave the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation after he had made his address, and he was, he had plenty of bounce in his step, and he really unleashed on the Australian Government in terms of how it's going about its peacekeeping force.

He says it's too heavy-handed in terms of walking around the streets with guns, you know, automatic weapons and guns on their hips. He says it's too heavy-handed, there needs to be more dialogue especially for the future. He says Australia just doesn't understand what's at the heart of the Solomon Islands problems.

ELEANOR HALL: So is that speech and this evidence from the Cabinet document that he may want to use the inquiry to free some of his political allies, are both these things being used by the Opposition to try to unseat him?

STEVE MARSHALL: Yes, and they will. Obviously it's quite fresh the news out in this morning's paper regarding the PM being stated in this document that he wants to use the commission of inquiry to get two MPs off the hook. These are two MPs, by the way, who voted Sogavare into government.

Now, a little birdie has told me that the reason why Mr Sogavare might want to get these two MPs out of jail is that they might implicate the Prime Minister in the riots themselves. It happened in April, so it's very interesting indeed.

ELEANOR HALL: And how bit a slight is it to the Prime Minister that on his trip to North America he can't fly via Australia?

STEVE MARSHALL: Yes, interesting, isn't it, and it's going to be a long trip. But at the end of the day, probably the Australian aid money will fund this trip, you know, the extra distance, because of what Australia puts into resurrecting the Solomon Islands and obviously a travel budget is involved in that.

But, yes, he has to go via Fiji.

I was talking to the Deputy Prime Minister as well who's very upset at the tightening of travel rules by Canberra on Solomon Islands politicians visiting Australia, because he was due to visit his two daughters in Brisbane. However, he received a letter from the Australian Government saying that his visa has been revoked. So it's very upsetting for him indeed.

Also, another bit of information on The World Today, you're first with it, that I hear the Solomon Islands Deputy Prime Minister may well have handed in his resignation. That's just in the last two minutes.

ELEANOR HALL: So a political crisis erupting there. Is the Opposition leader likely to be any more friendly to Australia, and indeed to RAMSI (Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands?

STEVE MARSHALL: Ah, look, I, you know, I put the question to the Opposition leader, he feels, especially on the gun issue, Australian soldiers and Australian Federal Police walking around the Solomons with guns is not the way to go in the long-term but, look, he says Australia is needed.

He said the Solomons needs Australia for its future. But he also says he doesn't want to become prime minister, and I have a feeling that the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Tausinga, may well end up in the big chair in about two weeks' time, because there is a vote of no confidence pending when Mr Sogavare returns from New York.

ELEANOR HALL: So the Deputy Leader's resignation is indeed an attempt for him to set himself up for the top job?

STEVE MARSHALL: Yes. I spoke to him at the weekend, although it's not official yet. But, look, I do have the inside running on that information, in that it will be tendered some time this afternoon, or at least in the next couple of days.

So, look, you know, while the PM's away, who knows what will go on, but there's going to be a lot of lobbying while he's in New York, and he may get a bit of a shock when he returns back to Honiara.

ELEANOR HALL: Steve Marshall in Honiara, thank you.

Source: The World Today @ ABC

Australian govt relaxed on new Solomons diplomat

The Australian government will send a new high commissioner to the Solomon Islands only when it suits them, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says.

Australia's relationship with the Solomons has been thrown into turmoil after the Pacific nation decided to expel Patrick Cole - who arrived back in Australia on Tuesday - accusing him of meddling in domestic politics.

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, who, like Mr Downer, is in New York for a United Nations general assembly meeting, has requested a meeting with Australia's foreign minister.

Mr Downer is agreeable to a meeting but plans to make it clear to Mr Sogavare that Australia is unhappy with the treatment meted out to Mr Cole.

"We're very displeased about the way our high commissioner is being treated," he told reporters in New York.

"It would be wrong for Australia not to say so and not to express its outrage about a senior official, a very able official, being treated in that sort of way.

"I think he's been treated very badly, very shabbily by the Solomon Islands government."

Mr Downer said there was nothing more Australia could do about Mr Cole's expulsion but it would not necessarily be sending a replacement soon.

"He's left and there's nothing more we can do about that," he said.

"At some stage in the future we'll send another high commissioner. When it suits us."

Source: The Age

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Expelled Australian High Commissioner leaves Solomon Islands

The Expelled Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands left Honiara for Australia yesterday afternoon.

He was declared Persona Non Grata by the Prime minister last week for allegedly being involved in the country's domestic affairs.

Mr Cole refused to comment about his expulsion at the airport saying anything regarding the issue would have to come from Canberra.

He was farewelled by RAMSI special coordinator James Batley and other diplomatic representatives from New Zealand, the European Union and Britain.

Meanwhile, the Australian Government is reportedly considering further responses to a warning that interference in Solomon Islands' internal affairs could result in a return to ethnic violence.

An Australian Foreign Affairs Department spokesman says additional measures could follow the visa restrictions on Solomon Islands politicians.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports a foreign affairs department spokesman has reiterated that aid could be at risk.

He cited millions of dollars being spent on bilateral assistance and the Australian-led RAMSI. He says to be able to continue to advance these efforts, there's a need for cooperation.

Source: SIBC

PM plans to send Ministerial delegation to Canberra to sort diplomatic row

The Prime Minister plans to send a high level ministerial delegation to Australia to discuss differences with Canberra.
Prime Minister Sogavare [L] shakes hands with his Deputy Job Duddley Tausinga before flying off to New York today [source: SIBC]

Manasseh Sogavare was speaking before he left yesterday afternoon for New York to attend the 61st session of the UN General Assembly.

He says the delegation will leave after the sitting of Parliament next month and will include the deputy prime minister and the minister for foreign affairs.

Mr Sogavare says his government did not have any problems with the Australian High Commissioner, Patrick Cole, despite declaring him persona non grata.

"Patrick Cole is a faithful international public servant of Australia. I need to lift my hat to him. He carried out his work in Solomon islands well and truly. He served his country well. What ever he says in Solomon islands represents his country's view and in that regard he is doing his job to the fullest. The issue here is with Australia and the attitude of the Australian government."

Mr Sogavare says those issues must be sorted out before Australia sends in a replacement for Mr Cole.

In another related news, New Zealand’s foreign Minister Winston Peters says his country will not be mediating in the diplomatic row between Australia and Solomon Islands.

The Solomon Islands Prime Minister announced on Sunday that Mr Peters had offered to mediate in the diplomatic stand-off.

However, the New Zealand Herald reports Mr Peters told Mr Sogavare during a phone call that New Zealand regretted the differences between the two countries, but would not be getting involved.

Mr Peters says New Zealand is a serious partner and colleague of Australia in many parts of the world, including Solomon Islands.

He says it supports Australia's desire for good governance and future peace and security in the country.

He says New Zealand regards the expulsion of the Australian High Commissioner as very serious and hopes it can be resolved with Australia as soon as possible.

However, Mr Sogavare says he's surprised by Mr Peters' comments.

He says the offer to mediate in the current diplomatic row with Australia actually came from the New Zealand Foreign Minister.

"The suggestion appear to me, which is unfortunately denied by here, that he want to take on that role and I welcome it, and I says thank you very much for taking on that role and for assuring me that we will continue to dialogue."

Source: SIBC

Solomon Islands to benefit from medical alliance with Taiwan

By George Herming

Solomon Islands is eyeing new benefits from a newly established Medical Alliance with the Republic of China (Taiwan) in the near future.

This was made possible following positive discussions reached during a Health Meeting between Taiwanese Medical Authorities and Health Ministers of its Pacific Allies early this month in Palau.

Minister for Health and Medical Services Hon Clay Forau said he had offered on behalf of the Solomon Islands government an intention to host a Taiwanese-funded medical institution in the country.

He said Taiwan had strongly indicated willingness to assist the establishment of the institution which will offer more professional training for Solomon Islanders locally.

Among other benefits, the Minister said, Taiwan is willing to improve the status of the National Referral Hospital (NRH) in Honiara to reach world medical standards.

“This will promote the standard of our Referral hospital to be a model hospital for other Pacific Allies of Taiwan,” Mr. Forau said.

NRH is currently enjoying a sister relationship with a University hospital in Taiwan.

Mr Forau said the idea of offering to host the medical institute in Solomon Islands is to ensure the country participates actively in utilizing Taiwanese aid assistance to Solomon Islands.

“We must not remain only as recipients but we must also become active players.

“The institution will enhance local training here which means interested students from other countries can study here too,” Mr Forau said.

The Minister acknowledged the Taiwanese government for its continuous support towards the health sector-an important sector that remains operational during the ethnic crisis in the country.

Taiwan is one of the most advanced countries in terms medical advancement in the world. It currently offers medical scholarships for Solomon Islanders to study in Taiwanese institutions.

Source: Government Communications Unit

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Opposition deplores contents of leaked secret Cabinet document

Leader of Opposition Fred Fono says he deplores the contents of a secret document which allegedly reveals the reasons for the Prime Minister's inquiry into the April riots.

The Solomon Star has published the details of the leaked Cabinet paper in its issue yesterday.

It says Manasseh Sogavare wanted to see the police investigation into the case of the MP's halted.

The document says Mr Sogavare also expected the court proceedings against the MP's suspended once the Commission of Inquiry is established.

Reacting to the front page story, Mr Fono says if this is what the government plan, it is interfering into the workings of the judiciary. He says the Prime minister may have powers to set up terms of references to any commission of inquiry but it does not have the power to interfere into the activities of the courts.

Mr Fono says if the prime minister had intended to stop the police investigation into the riots, it is already a contempt of court.

He says the arrest of the two Honiara members of Parliament was not political and the court and the Commission of Inquiry should have equal chance to come up with their findings.

Mr Fono says as the leader of Opposition he accepts the government's decision to replace Marcus Einfeld with a retired Papua New Guinea judge.

Source: SIBC

Colourful parade starts National Trade Show

Part of the float parade along Honiara main road, on the way to Town Ground yesterday morning [source:SIBC]

A colourful float parade officially commenced activities for the one-week National Trade and Cultural Show.

The parade, which started from Kukum Campus field to Town Ground, attracted about 20 companies and organisations.

It was led by the Royal Solomon Islands Police band.

The float parade precedes the official opening of the trade show, which was officiated by Commerce, Employment and Trade Minister Peter Shanel the at Town Ground.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare was also present at the official opening.

This year's National Trade and Cultural Show is being held coinciding with events marking the Coconut Day and Women's week.

Commerce, Industries and Employment Minister Peter Chanel Agovaka says the government strongly supports the private sector.

Mr Agovaka says the government is committed to realise the economic potential of the country's rich natural resources and unique cultures.

But he says without the support and cooperation of the private sector and the civil society, these cannot be realised.

Mr Agovaka says there are challenges in high production, transportation and telecommunications costs as well as distance from world markets.

However, the Minister says globalisation means Solomon Islands must be more competitive. He says this is an unavoidable fact, and thorough preparation is the way forward.

The Minister made the comment during his speech to launch the 2006 Trade show yesterday morning.

Meanwhile, the office of the National Council of Women has urged women taking part in the National Trade and Cultural Show to think beyond the activities from which they earn income.

The Council office says women should work in partnership with other women and to learn to appreciate each others differences.

Delivering a speech yesterday morning to more then 60 women's groups and individuals taking part in the show, Council's General Secretary Ella Kauhue told women not to undermine themselves.

She says women's role in society is diverse, demanding and huge. Ms Kauhue says the show is an opportunity for women to show their creativity, leadership and capability as contributors to both the family and national growth.

The national women's week which coincides with the show is an opportunity to expose the activities of women.

The week-long event is an occasion for the women to display their creativity and skills in areas such as handicrafts, floral arrangements and food preparation.

Source: SIBC

PM encourages Solomon Islanders to rise to challenges

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has urged Solomon Islanders to rise to the many challenges facing the country to reach a successful and prosperous destination.

He was speaking at the opening of the annual trade and cultural show yesterday morning in Honiara.

Mr Sogavare says there's a need for cooperation in all levels, to move the country forward.

He says Solomon Islands is blessed with many resources and it must develop to benefit the people.

Mr Sogavare says these resources will be the target of speculative operations who would want to use them for their own benefits.

He says Solomon Islanders should work collectively to only allow genuine investors.

Thousands of people witnessed the opening of the week-long Trade and cultural show currently underway at Town ground and the cultural village.

The theme of this year's show is "working in partnership to build and shape a prosperous Solomon Islands".

Source: SIBC

Monday, September 18, 2006

Solomon Islands PM drops Einfeld, criticises Australian Govt

The Solomon Islands Government has cancelled the appointment of the former Australia judge, Marcus Einfeld, to head a commission of inquiry into the rioting in Honiara this year.

It coincides with the Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, criticising the Australian Government for the way it has carried out its peace-keeping mission, the Regional Assistance Mission (RAMSI).

In a national address to the country last night, Mr Sogavare announced that he was dropping Mr Einfeld as chairman of the commission of inquiry into the April 18 riots.

He says Australia's decision to pull multi-entry visas for Solomon Islands Members of Parliament was bullying and harsh.

Mr Sogavare also says that Australia was using bullying tactics in the region, and that the Solomon Islands Government will not withdraw from its position that Australia's High Commissioner will have to withdraw and be replaced by somebody else.

He says sending in armed troops is not the way to influence Pacific countries on issues of stability.

"Unless this trend is reversed now, we will be in danger of driving this country down the path of another conflict that could be more serious," he said.

Mr Sogavare thanked Australian taxpayers for their assistance, but said most of the aid money finds its way back to the Australian economy, through extravagant ex-pat aid worker salaries.

However, he said that the Solomon Islands wished to maintain good relations with Australia, and was ready for dialogue with Prime Minister John Howard.

Source: ABC News

National Trade and Cultural Show opens in Honiara today

The week-long annual Trade show starts this morning. The event will start with a float parade from the Kukum Campus field to Town Ground, where official opening activities will be taking place.

The Trade show will be officially opened by the Governor General Sir Nathaniel Waena.

This year's events combine with the World Coconut Day, the Annual Women's Week and the Trade and Cultural show. Activities will be held at the Town ground and the Cultural Village.

Meanwhile, the Trade show sub-committees have promised a variety of exhibitions and activities.

Nick Nonga of the Agricultural sub-committee says the Agriculture division will exhibit a lot of its usual services including quarantine awareness about the Giant African Snail among others.

Charles Matangani who looks after entertainment says they will move modern and traditional music entertainment between Town Ground and Cultural village during the entire week.

Alfred Ramo who heads the Coconut Day activities says a highlight this year will be the launching of a coconut stamp. The new coconut stamp will be launched today. The launching of coconut bio-fuel, produced by Solomon Tropical Products has been scheduled for Thursday. Prizes for speeches by high school students about Coconut will be handed out on Friday.


Researcher says Poverty is the key cause of problems in Solomon Islands

An Australian Marine researcher John Fairfax says extreme poverty in Solomon Islands is the major cause of the country's problems.

He says recent civil unrest and the riots in Honiara in April are the results of poverty surfacing.

Mr Fairfax says people no longer go to markets because they don't have the money to spend since the barter system changed to cash economy.

He says many families are turning to imported rice and cheap goods just to survive although they know these foods are not nutritious.

"The loss of the barter economy and the impact on the little money economy, is what caused extreme poverty and it caused fighting and arguments and in my opinion that is what led to the coup so that caused problems when the election happened but all of that problem,even the burning. This is not ethnic tension, in my opinion, this is hardship and poverty".

He says increasing number of people lack protein because they are not eating foods high in protein.

Mr Fairfax has been studying people's eating habits in Solomon Islands since the 1970s.

Source: SIBC

Australia stand-off forces Solomons PM to change trip

By Pacific correspondent Steve Marshall

The Australian Government has tightened its travel rules for politicians from the Solomon Islands in response to the expulsion of Australia's High Commissioner.

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare leaves for New York tomorrow, the same day as expelled High Commissioner Patrick Cole heads to Brisbane.

But they will not be on the same flight.

The tightening of travel rules by Canberra on Solomon Islands politicians visiting Australia, in retaliation to the High Commissioner's expulsion, has forced Mr Sogavare to fly via Fiji instead of Australia to the United States.

The new rules mean Solomons MPs have to apply for entry to Australia for each visit.

Mr Sogavare faces a vote of no confidence when the Solomons Parliament resumes in two weeks.

Source: ABC News

Sunday, September 17, 2006

University of the South Pacific Open Day attract thousands

The University of the South Pacific Open Day 2006 attracted over 10,000 people who took the opportunity to visit and find out more about the university.

The Open Day which was held on Friday, 15 September, is the University’s largest public relations event showcasing its Faculties, programs of study, research and its diverse community of staff, students, stakeholders and friends working together.

The theme for this year’s Open Day was "Our Future, Your Future – Dare to Lead".

Students from secondary schools around the region made up the bulk of visitors to the campuses. This year’s Open Day included participation by all campuses in Fiji – Laucala, Lautoka and Labasa; Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue and Tuvalu.

In welcoming the visitors and officially opening the Open Day Vice-Chancellor Professor Anthony Tarr pointed out that the University was owned by 12 Member Countries who invested heavily into USP and the people of the region.

"There is total acceptance worldwide that education is the principal key to economic growth and development," said Professor Tarr.

"Our future and your future are shared as we do not perceive any difference in our goals. We are looking to provide the best service our resources permit and we are looking to graduate the best prepared individuals for the human resource need of the Pacific. The same can be said for research. We are looking to focus very strongly on applied areas such as sustainable energy and good governance to assist in the stable development of the region."

Professor Tarr added that the Pacific region was rich in talent and resources and there was no legitimate excuse for accepting that "second best" is OK.

"This is true for whatever area of endeavour one is contemplating. All it takes is hard work, application and confidence built upon a solid knowledge base. The challenge is there for our students to “Dare to Lead” in areas as diverse as village based eco-tourism through to software development. USP through its restructured and revitalized Faculties and Schools is committed to giving our students the types of knowledge and skills to equip them for the challenge. This does not mean that we are perfect – far from it – but we have accepted the challenge of daring to lead as we try and benchmark ourselves against very high standards. We will encourage all of you to embrace the challenge to perform and lead."
Finding out more - students from a secondary school in Fiji looking through a microscope at USP

Highlights during the day included activities and displays by the various schools and departments under the four Faculties – Faculty of Arts and Law; Faculty of Business and Economics; Faculty of Islands and Oceans and Faculty of Science and Technology.

Also joining USP was a crew from ABC Radio Australia which carried a live broadcast from the Laucala Campus. The show time included interviews with students on their life and study programs and competitions.

Student cultural groups affiliated with the USP Students Association together with performers from the Oceania Centre for Arts and Culture also put up cultural and contemporary performances to illustrate the diversity of USP. The Solomon Islands boys put on a very outstanding performance with the reknowned "Kabilato" costume that captured the crowd's attention.

Story from: USP and pictures adapted from the Fiji Sun Newspaper and USP Website

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