To'abaita Authority for Research & Development (TARD)

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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

NZ U20 soccer side scoops Oceania ticket to World Cup in Canada as Fiji falls to Tahitian might

The New Zealand U20 soccer side have won their last game against nifty New Caledonians with a 1-0 scoreline in Auckland today, securing direct entry to the FIFA U20 World Championships in Canada from June to July.

New Zealand celebrating their World Cup ticket (pic by

In what is expected to be a decision day for either Fiji or New Zealand who were front runners after match day 6, hopes were high in both camps as the two teams were allowed to play their final matches at the same time in different grounds. Before the game, Fiji were aiming for atleast a win against Tahiti and hoped that New Caledonia either drew or beat New Zealand in order to give direct entry for the Melanesian neighbours. The young Kiwis were targeting a "must" win as a draw would not consolidate their entry to the prestigous outing in Canada later this year if Fiji won against Tahiti.

However, the Kiwis maintained composure throughout the match today ending with the 1-0 win over New Caledonia. On what is predicted to be an easy win for Fiji based on their prevous games, Tahiti have other ideas in mind as they want to exit the qualifiers with their heads high. As a result they turned the table on the classy Fijians with a 2-0 dethroning.

In the first match, Vanuatu managed to scrape through with an unimpressive 2-1 win over underdogs and bottom-of-the-table dwellers, Samoa. So far the Solomon Mamula was the only side that was not beaten by eventual champions, New Zealand, despite their embarassing 3-0 loss to Fiji.

Meanwhile, it is understood the Solomon U20 side have already arrived in Honiara earlier today with a connection flight through Fiji.

PNG Inquiry adament to go to Honiara, preferably this friday

By Julia Daia Bore

The chairman of the PNG Defence Force Board of Inquiry Justice Gibbs Salika yesterday insisted they should travel to the Solomon Islands to interview witnesses despite refusal by Honiara for them to do so.

As Justice Salika and his team held talks with PNG Foreign Affairs officials to persuade Honiara to allow them in, the Australian government weighed in, renewing its call for those behind the illegal flight that spirited fugitive Julian Moti to the Solomon Islands on Oct 10 last year, to be brought to justice.

But Honiara became more blunt yesterday, conveying a message to the board that it did not want the inquiry to be convened in Honiara. It had previously asked the board to ‘delay’ the trip.

Justice Salika insisted that conducting “one on one” interviews in the Solomon Islands with witnesses was crucial to establishing who was behind the clandestine flight, which violated PNG as well as aviation and international laws and angered Australia. Salika believes his team can conduct interviews within the PNG High Commission sanctuary in Honiara.

The inquiry board met with PNG’s Foreign Affairs and Trade personnel yesterday morning. It is understood they asked for a diplomatic note to be sent to Honiara seeking to renegotiate for the inquiry to be allowed into Solomon Islands, preferably this Friday.

Justice Salika on Monday pointed out that under Regulation 10 of the PNGDF Act; a board of inquiry may conduct an inquiry and exercise its powers and functions 'outside the country'. The board has only until Feb 13 to finalise a report for the Minister for Defence, and Justice Salika said time was not on their side.

“We are not going there to convict their people. That is not our intention. We want to establish who in the Solomon Islands sanctioned Moti’s flight using the PNGDF aircraft. We found out here our Government was not aware of Moti being flown out of PNG to Munda in Solomon Islands. We want to find out if the Solomon Islands government was aware of the flight or whether it (the SI government) paid for the flight.”

But Solomon Islands High Commissioner to PNG Bernard Bata’anisia said in a statement yesterday his government’s position had not changed.

“This is an internal matter for Papua New Guinea and as such, it would be inappropriate for the inquiry board to visit Solomon Islands.”

Mr Bata’anisia said this was a sovereign decision made by the Solomon Islands government and should be understood in that context.

Source: National

Solomon mamula flies into Honiara today after mixed fortune in New Zealand

The Solomon U20 Mamula boys will arrive in Honiara today at 1pm following their participation at the Oceania U20 qualifiers in Auckland, New Zealand.

The team arrived in Nadi yesterday and spent the night at Nadi before flying to Honiara this morning at 10am (Fiji Time) on the Solomon Airlines.

The Mamula boys had mixed fortune in the competition winning three, drawing two and losing one of their matches to see their chance of qualifying for the World Youth competition slip away from them.

Nevertheless, reports from Solomon wantoks residing in Auckland where the tournament is held revealed the mamula boys played really well despite some unfavourable results. Wantoks in Auckland have also blamed the Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) for lack of adequate support in terms of uniforms, allowance, rent and so forth.

Meanwhile, the Solomon Islands National Under 17 train-on squad is currently undergoing intensive preparation in the lead up to the OFC Under 17 qualifiers in Tahiti in March.

SIFF Development officer Noel Wapugu and assistant coach who is a former national striker, Duddley Natei are taking the boys through various drills to ensure they are fit and ready for the final preparation when senior national coach Airton Andrioli arrives back from New Zealand today with the U20 side.

The OFC Under 17 qualifiers will be held in the Tahitian capital beginning March 22, 2007.

Australian man charged for conspiracy to assassinate Solomons PM

By George Herming

An Australian man was arrested and charged in connection to a plot to kill Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.

Bill Johnson in his 60’s appeared at the Central Magistrates Court this afternoon charged with conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to commit felony.

The court heard that he conspired with another four people earlier this month to assassinate the Prime Minister Sogavare.

The Prosecution alleged that between the 18th – 23rd January, Mr Johnson along with four others were drinking alcohol at the Honiara City Motel when they conspired to murder Mr Sogavare. The prosecution successfully applied to have Mr Johnson remanded in custody while police investigations continue.

“A conspiracy to murder the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands is a very serious matter, and there is a likelihood that the accused will interfere with witnessed on this case,” the prosecution said.

Mr Johnson was residing at the City Motel when he was arrested yesterday (29th January).

The prosecution said they have three documents so far which points to a “strong case” against the accused. The Prosecution alleged that other people are also implicated in the statements obtained by police, and they are still to be located and apprehended.

Johnson’s lawyer, Patrick Lavery attempted to have the bail application quashed by offering to pay any bail charges for his client.

But presiding magistrate William Seneka turned down the application. Mr Johnson is married to a Malaitan woman and has three children. He will appear again in court on the 7th February.

Source: GCU

RAMSI Protection of PM withdrawn upon Sogavare's direction

The Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Hon Manasseh Sogavare, in October last year directed the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) to withdraw the RAMSI police that provided protection for him.

RAMSI Special Coordinator Tim George today said the direction was included in an instruction from the Prime Minister to the Commissioner of the Solomon Islands Police Force in October of last year. This instruction was passed onto the Participating Police Force (PPF), who complied with it.

“The PPF police withdrew on 11 December last year, as directed by the Solomon Islands Prime Minister,” Mr George said.

“Since RAMSI’s arrival in 2003 the PPF had provided a unit professionally trained in personal protection for Solomon Islands Prime Ministers and dignitaries.

“The equipment used by this group was withdrawn three weeks ago following another letter from the Prime Minister on 7 January directing that PPF training for the CPP unit be discontinued. The letter also stated Solomon Islands Police Force members of the Close Personal Protection group would be trained in Taiwan as RAMSI had failed to provide adequate training.

“This was surprising because the PPF has provided comprehensive training with everything from driving and motorcade drills to operational planning, protocols and etiquette, threats, searching techniques and so forth.”

Mr George said that the Participating Police Force has been responsive to the needs of the Solomon Islands Police and many gains have been made.

He said that RAMSI remains ready and willing to discuss the Prime Minister’s security needs.

“I have offered to the Prime Minister and his staff a thorough threat assessment, and I said that RAMSI is willing to discuss ways that our experienced police and their resources could help,” Mr George said.

“This does not include re-arming the Solomon Islands Police Force. RAMSI has cautioned against re-arming the Solomon Islands Police Force at this time.”

Mr George said that he looked forward to receiving a response from the Prime Minister’s Office to RAMSI’s offer of continuing assistance.

Source: RAMSI

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

SI Police and National Security Minister says re-armament is part of gov't policy

By Deli Oso-PM Press Secretary

The Solomon Islands Minister for Police and National Security, Hon Isaac Inoke said the government’s rearmament programme will be beneficial to the entire nation and not only politicians.

Mr Inoke was responding to statements by critics claiming that the programme will only benefit a handful of politicians. He said it was a government policy to arm the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force and the rearmament programme was in line with that policy.

The minister said the government under the constitution had the sovereign right to arm its police force just like any other country in the world and affirmed and the rearmament programme would be implemented in accordance to police protocols.

Mr Inoke said the three units of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force that were disarmed and phased out by the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands under three weapons-free Solomon Islands campaign would be rearmed and they are the Protection and Guarding Unit (PGU), Rapid Response Unit (RRU) and the Police Field Force (PFF). The weapons-free campaign conducted by RAMSI during the aftermath of the civil unrest was aimed at retrieving all the guns that were illegally obtained during the ethnic tension.

The PGU is responsible for protecting and guarding the Prime Minister as well as politicians whose lives are under threat whilst the RRU and PFF play a collaborative vital role in maintaining internal and national peace and security.

The Minister said provision for the armed protection of national leaders was provided for under the Constitution of Solomon Islands, and it was therefore imperative that leaders were provided with ample security.

“The disarmament programme by RAMSI is important to restore law and order and rebuild the RSIP following the ethnic tension but the time has come for Solomon Islands to move on and thus take charge of its security issues. Rearming the RSIPF is part of confidence building. The RSIP should regain control of its duty to bring about law and order in the country. Arming officers is part of police duties and confidence building,” the Police and National Security Minister said.

The Minister for Police and National Security said the episode of the 2006 Honiara riot emphasised the need for rearmament of the PGU, RRU and PFF.

“The RRU would have played an important role in quelling the riot last year had it not been disarmed. Our sole reliance on RAMSI and Participating Police Force (PPF) to quell unforeseen civil unrest has proven defective and left a lot to be desired,” Mr Inoke said.

Source: GCU

USP clears the air on regional students' safety in Fiji

The University of the South Pacific's Vice Chancellor, Professor Anthony Tarr has confirmed that informal talks is taking place between the university and other member countries on the political situation in Fiji.

In a statement yesterday, Professor Tarr said USP maintained its high standards as a premier institution in learning but was not responsible for the safety aspect of its international students in Fiji.

"We have a few students from outside the region but we do assure international students that we do not hold concerns for their safety," Professor Tarr said.

International students are those who are not citizens of the 12 Pacific Island member countries that jointly owned USP. The twelve member countries of USP include Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Samoa.

Professor Tarr added that he had talks with member countries concerning the political climate, but this would in no way affect the beginning of the new school semester at USP which should commence on February 26. "There were some concerns expressed but it seems that all 12 countries who belong to the USP Family would send their students," Tarr said.

He said about 22,000 students from the Pacific as well as some international students have enrolled for the first semester of this academic year.

Source: Fiji Times

Solomon Islands and Taiwan to sign bilateral agreements tomorrow

By Alfred Maesulia

The Vice Foreign Minister of the Republic of China (Taiwan) is on a three day visit to Solomon Islands with another three officials from the Foreign Ministry in Taipei.

Her Excellency Catherine Chang and her delegation will arrive in Honiara this afternoon at the invitation of the Solomon Islands Government to sign two bilateral agreements with Foreign Affairs Minister Patteson Oti.

A statement from the ROC Embassy in Honiara said the two agreements: Framework Cooperation Agreement; and the Dispatch of Volunteers Agreement would be signed tomorrow.

“The Foreign Cooperation Agreement will pave the way for advanced cooperation of mutual benefits in agriculture, health, education, fisheries, forestry, commerce, tourism, finance, and cultural exchange. The Dispatch of Volunteers Agreement will encourage Taiwanese volunteers to work together with their Solomon Islands counterparts for the betterment of livelihood and cultural exchange,” the statement said.

The Vice Minister will also have audience with the Governor-General Sir Nathaniel Waena, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, Foreign Minister Oti, Speaker of National Parliament Sir Peter Kenilorea and members of Cabinet.

ROC Embassy said visits to these national leaders would lead to strengthening mutual cooperation and understanding between Solomon Islands and Taiwan.

HE Catherine Chang will also inspect Taiwan Embassy and the Taiwan Technical Mission in East Honiara. Other places which she will visit include Chinatown, US War Memorial and other tourist spots in Honiara.

Catherine Chang has served more than 30 years in the Foreign Service and has served as an Ambassador in a number of countries. She held many key positions like the Director General of the Department of Information & Cultural Affairs, the Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was also Deputy Director General of North American Affairs in Taipei.

Catherine Chang was the first female ambassador ever posted overseas and also the first female Vice Foreign Minister in the history of the Republic of China (Taiwan).

Source: GCU

Malaita Premier announces his provincial executive

The new Malaita Premier, Hon Richard Irosae Na'amo, has announced his provincial assembly executive.

In the new executive, Hon Na'amo is responsible for the Office of the Premier. The names of the other 15 members of the 16-member executive are:

1. Deputy Premier and Minister for Development Planning, Hon Edwin Suibaea;
2. Minister for Finance and Treasury, Hon Moffat George;
3. Minister for Commerce and Industries, Hon Billy Abae;
4. Minister for Agriculture and Livestock, Hon Senly Filualea;
5. Minister for Land, Housing and Urban Development, Hon Robert Madeo;
6. Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources, Hon Billy Farobo;
7. Minister for Culture and Tourism, Hon Tony Silas Bobby;
8. Minister for Forest, Environment and Conservation, Hon Charles Jeffrey;
9. Minister for Infrastructure, Development and Communication, Hon William Isui;
10.Minister for Education and Human Resources Development, Hon Randall Sifoni;
11.Minister for Health and Medical Services, Hon Isaac Houhiapa;
12.Minister for Mines and Energy, Hon George Abana;
13.Minister for Sports, Youth and Women's Affairs, HonJimmy Manewai;
14.Minister of Ecclesiastical and Regional Affairs, Hon John Teehou and
15.Minister for Police and Justice is still unallocated.

Source: SIBC

Monday, January 29, 2007

Solomon U20 mamula ends OFC campaign on high with 8-1 demolition of Samoa

The Solomon Islands U20 soccer team has ended its unsuccessful campaign for a berth at the upcoming world championship in Canada on high with a 8-1 demolition of Samoa in Auckland today.

In what is meant to be Solomons last game of the OFC Qualifiers, the mamula side ensured that they return home with their head high despite failing to gain a direct entry to the world youth championship in June to July. After six games, the mamula side have 11 points comprising three wins (against Samoa 8-1, New Caledonia 2-1, Tahiti 2-1), two draws (against New Zealand 1-1, Vanuatu 2-2), and one loss (against Fiji 0-3). The boys will now return home this week following a bye in the last match day on Wednesday.

During the game with Samoa, Jose Nawo scored two first half stoppage time goals in his hat-trick for the Solomons while Joachim Rande was on target in the 86th and 87th minutes before Judd Molea scored his second in the 89th minute as Samoa were left devastated by a late burst of goals in each half.

In other matches today, New Zealand maintained their unbeaten run with a 7-0 thrashing over Vanuatu to keep their top of the table position. The second match of today saw Fiji beat New Caledonia 2-1 to keep a 1 point close tap behind New Zealand.

So far, the world championship race rests on the hands of New Zealand and Fiji as they both have one remaining game to go. Currently the Kiwis have 13 points while Fiji following closely with 12 points. The final decision will be determined in their last matches on Wednesday where Fiji will play Tahiti and New Zealand up against New Caledonia.

PNG Government help fund tertiary studies for Solomon students in PNG for 2007

From the SI High Commission Office in Port Moresby

Solomon Islands Minister for Foreign Affairs, External Trade and Immigration, Hon Patteson Oti, MP has welcome Papua New Guinea Government’s offer of assistance to provide scholarships for Solomon Islands students studying in various institutions in Papua New Guinea in 2007.

The offer of assistance was announced by Prime Minister, Grand Chief Rt Hon Sir Michael Somare during his meeting with Solomon Islands Foreign Minister in Port Moresby over the weekend. Foreign Minister Oti also met with Papua New Guinea’s Foreign Affairs & Trade Minister, Hon Paul Teinsten.

The Papua New Guinea Government’s assistance is part of the commitment made by the two Governments in 1998 for Papua New Guinea to provide development assistance to Solomon Islands.

In welcoming the announcement, Foreign Minister Oti added that the assistance will go along way in meeting the education and human resources development in Solomon Islands. He commended Papua New Guinea Government for the assistance and added that it reflects the continuing warm and close bilateral ties between the two countries.

As a bigger and larger country in the Forum and MSG region, Papua New Guinea is committed to helping small developing countries in the region, such as Solomon Islands and such we commended Papua New Guinea Government for this assistance, says Foreign Minister Oti.

Solomon Islands High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, HE Mr Bernard Bata’anisia, also welcomed Papua New Guinea Government’s commitment in providing assistance to Solomon Islands students studying in Papua New Guinea tertiary institutions in 2007.

I will soon be meeting with senior officials from the Papua New Guinea Government to finalize the assistance programme, says High Commissioner Bata’anisia.

The assistance will help fund tertiary studies for Solomon Islands students studying in various tertiary institutions in Papua New Guinea in 2007.

Source: GCU

Malaitans must collectively participate in development initiatives: Premier Na'amo

By Alfred Maesulia

The newly elected premier of Malaita Province, Hon. Richard Na’amo made his brief maiden speech after taking his oath last Friday.

Mr. Na’amo admitted that without the support of development partners, Malaitans would not be what they are now.

He said: “As a Malaitan I know our people have suffered as a people and a province socially, politically, economically and spiritually.

“We must acknowledge our partners in development who have helped us to rise above the minimum level of survival.”

Premier Na’amo asked Malaitans not to become spectators in development but “to actively participate one way or another to further improve the welfare of our own people.”

The new premier said his government would review existing ordinances and fully utilize development partners such as EU, AusAid, NZ Aid, Japanese Grassroot and others.

He also said his government would work closely with the National Government to successfully implement its bottom-up approach policy.

“Our forefathers developed the initial economic bases of Australia, Fiji, Samoa and our own country.

“The question for us to collectively answer is: ‘Can we all Malaitans – women, youth, men, church leaders and chiefs do the same for our province like our forefathers did for others?’” the new premier challenged his people.

Source: GCU

PNG Inquiry team appeals to Solomon government for access in Moti probe

The Papua New Guinea’s Defence Force inquiry team has appealed to the Solomon Islands government to allow its members to go to Honiara to speak to those involved in the Julian Moti saga.

This comes after Solomons Foreign Minister Patterson Oti, conveyed to his PNG counterpart over the weekend that the inquiry board does not have jurisdiction extending to the Solomons, and that inquiry is an internal matter for PNG. Hence, the board inquiry team is not given access to undertake interviews in Honiara, originally planned for this week.

However Radio New Zealand International reports from Port Moresby quoted the inqury team as running out of time to complete its work. It says the Deputy Chairman of the inquiry, Tony Huai, has actually appealed to the Solomon Islands government to still allow them into Honiara on moral grounds because he reckons the Solomon Islands government owes PNG and its people an explanation as to how Julian Moti used a defence force aircraft to fly into Solomon Islands.

The report says members of the inquiry team did not want to sit in Honiara, but just wanted to interview nine people, including Julian Moti.

Source: RNZI

PIF Eminent Person's Group begins fact-finding mission in Fiji

The Pacific Island Forum Eminent Persons' Group (EPG) met with Fiji's President and interim Prime Minister today as it starts its fact-finding mission on Fiji's recent coup.

The group, led by Vanuatu's deputy Prime Minister Sato Kilman, is expected to visit ousted Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase at his island home on Mavana, Lau on Thursday.

Key stakeholders will also make submissions to the group, including representatives of the Great Council of Chiefs, judiciary, business community, media, civil society and Forum member countries in Fiji.

At the end of its four-day visit, the group will submit a report on what is needed to return Fiji to democratic rule.

Other members of the group are Samoa's Environment Minister Faumuina Luiga, Papua New Guinea's retired Chief Justice Sir Arnold Amet, and General Peter Cosgrove who is the retired Chief of the Australian Defence Force.

The EPG was first mandated in Sydney last year, with the hope of mediating a peaceful solution between then Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase and military commander Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

The objective now is to make recommendations for a way forward towards peace and stability.

Source: Fijilive

Fiji School of Medicine release names of 2007 new intakes

The Fiji School of Medicine in Suva has released a list of names for its 2007 new intake including both local and regional students.

Among the new intake list are Solomon Islands students who will be studying for various programs ranging from a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgey (MBBS), Bachelor in Pharmacy and Bachelor in Dental Surgery. Solomon students included in the list are:

1. Alfred Riibako
2. Jude Sanga
3. Hicks Bule
4. Eziekel Stanley Moli
5. Patrick Gwao
6. Hendrick Kuboto Kaniki
7. Mathew Sandakabatu
8. Andrew Suka’a
9. Thomas Wate
10. Patrick Haisoma
11. George Tabedua
12. Joseph Sangatu

Bachelor in Pharmacy
1. Evelyn Quladuri
2. Hilton Dara
3. Reginald Timothy
4. Robinson Minu Valeke

Bachelor of Dental Surgery
1. Anne Pajata
2. Leslie Bunabo
3. Rajah Sute
4. Symonds Lagusu

The new students are advised to report for enrolment on Monday 5th February 2007 at the FSM Pasifika Campus, Extension Street, Suva.

Solomon government blocks PNG Moti inquiry team from visiting Honiara

The Solomon Islands government has blocked a Papua New Guinea Defence Force inquiry team from visiting Honiara to investigate the escape of wanted Australian lawyer, Julian Moti.

On a visit to Port Moresby during the weekend, Solomon Islands Foreign Minister Patteson Oti, conveyed the decision to the PNG government, saying the proposed visit was inappropriate.

The board of inquiry headed by Justice Gibbs Salika, who earlier commented that "Solomon Islands was just a speck in the ocean", planned to fly to Honiara yesterday to further investigate Mr Moti’s escape from Port Moresby on a PNG military flight to the Solomons in October.

Patteson Oti told PNG’s Foreign Minister, Paul Tiensten, that the board of inquiry’s jurisdiction did not extend to the Solomons and it was an internal matter for PNG.

Source: RNZI

Solomon mamula downs Tahiti but surrenders World Championship berth

The Solomon Islands U20 mamula soccer team got back to winning ways with a 2-1 win against Tahiti on Saturday.

The victory ensures the Solomon Islands stay within touching distance of the front runners, but it has an unrealistic chance of qualifying for the World Championship in Canada later this year, as the boys only have remaining game to play later today against bottom-of-the-ladder holder, Samoa. They will head home early this week.

Solomon Islands grabbed the first goal when Rande latched onto a superb through ball from Judd Molea before finishing clinically from a difficult angle. Tahiti keeper Alan Uparu - who had one of his best games at the tournament to date - had little chance. Tony Otini made the game safe for Solomon Islands with a goal in the 66th minute. Roihau Degage pulled one back for Tahiti when he eluded the offside trap before driving home a good finish from ten yards past Leon Lekezoto in the 78th minute setting up a nervous finish for the Solomon Islands.

In other games on Saturday, New Caledonia ensured its World Cup dream is alive following an emphatic come from behind 3-1 win over Vanuatu. But the much talked about game of the day was between front runners Fiji and New Zealand which ended in a 3-2 win in favour of the Kiwis. The match was marred with red cards, injuries, penalties, an angry crowd and a police escort for the New Zealand team and embattled referee Nelson Sogo of the Solomon Islands as the top of the table clash descended into controversy on Match Day Five.

It is understood, Solomon referee Nelson Sogo struggled to maintain any semblance of order as both teams lost control throughout a volatile match. In a video footage of the game being shown on the Fiji Television, Fiji coach Juan Carlos Buzzetti was clearly angry as he shouted at the camera and those who are trying to contain his emotions after the game. The footage also showed elbowings and on the field scuffles as the game intensifies. This has resulted in an investigation being instigated by the OFC to determine the issues surrounding the Fiji coach's actions as well as that of the Solomon referee, Nelson Sogo. The decision is expected to be known today as confirmed by OFC to Fiji Television yesterday.

After match day 5, Solomon Islands now have 8 points with only one game remaining. New Caledonia and Fiji are both on 9 points with two games to play. New Zealand are currently the front runners with two remaining games as well against Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

Japan supports unique Conservation group in Solomon Islands

A Japanese-funded dormitory to house caretakers of the Tetepari Conservation Site in the Western Province was officially opened on Friday last week.

A statement from the Japanese Embassy says Tetepari Descendants Association,TDA, is committed to preserve the natural and cultural value of Tetepari Island. It says this is an important initiative in environmental conservation.

Project Coordinator from the Japanese Embassy Yosuke Sekiguchi says the project is important for Solomon Islands.

He says the project will enable caretakers to continue to manage and monitor the site for future generations.

The TDA gained support from the World Wildlife Fund along with other donors to set up the field station at the conservation site.

The field station has enabled TDA to successfully carry out conservation activities and created an ecotourism experience among people there.

The SI$181,000 project was signed between TDA and the Japanese Government in March last year.

Source: SIBC

Friday, January 26, 2007

SIG's shaky relationship with Australia won't affect 2007 budget: PM Sogavare

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare had dismissed public concerns that government's shaky political relationship with Australia might drastically affect government's national budget 2007.

Prime Minister, Sogavare says people who politicise such propaganda information were merely speculating.

In an exclusive interview with SIBC, Prime Minister Sogavare assures the public that as far as he is concerned there is no need for concern.

Mr Sogavare says its nonsense to assume that just because Solomon Islands and Australian politicians don't agree on certain things, the budget will be affected.

The Prime Minister says while the exchanges of words between political leaders continue, governments of both countries understand their roles in co-operating to provide services to the people.

Mr Sogavare says Australia would still honour its on-going commitments to assist Solomon Islands.


Malaita provincial leaders elect new Premier

By Alfred Maesulia

Latest report from the Malaita provincial headquarters revealed that Hon Richard Irosaea Na’amo, a new comer who defeated the current outgoing care-taker premier Hon Reuben Moli for the provincial Ward 1 seat, had been duly elected as premier for Malaita province this morning.

The report said that Mr. Na’amo beat his only rival, Hon Ben Foukona by 25 votes in the 33 member Assembly. Ward 1 which was host to the last premier still maintains premiership.

Premier Na’amo who hails from Ura village in the Central Kwara’ae on Malaita has an agriculture background in the field of livestock.

He was serving in the Agriculture Department for many years since graduating from the Gatton Agricultural College in Queensland, Australia, in the late 1970’s and was General Manager of the then Livestock Development Authority.

Before entering politics, Mr. Irosaea had been engaged in marketing and exporting of agricultural products.

Source: Government Communications Unit

North Malaita rural farmer wants Solomon Islanders to help each other

A North Malaita rural farmer urges all Solomon Islanders to help each other achieve true and lasting peace.

Mr Atimas Maeta, 65, said he had been doing this over the past years but wanted more people involved. Mr Maeta said in his effort to promote peace he also used his farming skills to teach others in the rural areas.

“I have been doing this for the past 30 to 40 years ever since being converted into the South Seas Evangelistic Church. Since then I have been working for God through helping others start up their poultry and piggery farms,” said the farmer.

He added that he also assisted people start vegetable farms for friends. “As Christians we should uphold the virtues and principles of Christianity and lead the way so that we could be good examples for the upcoming generations to follow,” Mr Maeta said.

Speaking of today’s situation, Mr Maeta said most people are too proud to help their relatives or even to share a piece of land to another.

“Nowadays, people seem to fight for just about everything, like land for example. That is simply not the right way to go about handling it. Instead, we should work towards developing it so that we all benefit from it,” Maeta said.

Meanwhile Maeta emphasised that through helping others, we can help ourselves, our families and the nation as a whole”. Mr Maeta calls on all churches in the country to stand together and strive for long lasting peace.

Source: Solomon Star

Taiwan Government says training of SI police part of mutual cooperation agreements

By Jewel Huang

The Taiwanese Government has defended its police assistance to Solomon Islands and its pacific allies and calls on the Australian media to report accurately on the issue.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on wednesday said the assistance in training the Solomon Islands police force is based on mutual cooperation agreements reached during the first Taiwan-Pacific Allies Summit held last September.

The ministry made the remarks in response to a story in the Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday which said that 12 Solomon Islands police officers had been sent to Taiwan for special training.

The article said that Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare had criticized the Australian government for interfering in the nation's internal affairs after he refused to continue to be guarded by armed Australian officers.

Ministry Spokesman David Wang said the government did offer some training to the Solomons police force as it was normal for Taiwan to help its allies in such matters.

“Taiwan's help in maintaining social order and safety in the Solomon Islands was one part of the plan that was reached in the Palau Declaration signed during the first Taiwan-Pacific Allies Summit in September between President Chen Shui-bian leaders of Taiwan’s pacific allies,” Wang said.

According to the fourth article of the declaration, it was agreed to enhance cooperation in many fields and the first area was "law enforcement training."

It noted that "additional or expanded programs were needed to detect and prevent money laundering and the financing of terrorism, international trafficking of persons, illegal border crossings and customs irregularities.

"Cooperation shall be coordinated to improve the practical training of each country's law enforcement or other relevant personnel and administration, relating both to land and sea," it said.

"This training [of the Solomons police force] is based on the goal of maintaining social order and preventing terrorism. We are by no means interfering in any country's domestic affairs," Wang said.

Mr Wang also said that the ministry would request its representative in Australia to correct inaccurate reporting in the Australian Press.

Wang had no comment on whether the Australian government had pressured Taiwan to drop a firearms component from the training course, which was also mentioned in the Herald's report.

Source: Taiwan Times

Malaita Province to elect a new Premier today

Malaita, the most populated island in Solomon Islands will elect its new Premier today.

Source from the Malaita Provincial headquarters revealed to the Government Communications Unit yesterday that two candidates would contest the highest political post in the province.

Candidate for the Malaita northern region is Ben Foukona, a onetime member of the National Parliament.

A second candidate who defeated the current caretaker premier Reuben Moli is another contender. He is Richard Irosaea Na’amo, provincial member for Ward 1 in the central region. Result of the election would be announced publicly in front of the Auki Primary School near the provincial headquarters before midday today.

Meanwhile, member of Parliament for Central Kwara'ae on Malaita, Fred Fono has encouraged the provincial assembly members to choose a Premier that would lead the province. He says the new Malaita government to be led by the new Premier elected today faces taunting challenges. One of them is the possibility of the new Premier leading the province in a state government system, if the bill is passed into law by Parliament.

Mr Fono also expresses caution over a certain candidate for Premiership post being used by the Malaita Maasina Forum to pursue their agenda. He says one of the agenda of the Forum which would be detrimental to the development of Malaita is its anti-RAMSI and anti-Australia stand. Fono says pursuance of such extreme and negative views would be bad for Malaita.

Nomination for the premiership post opened early this week and the election is expected to be held this morning.

Source: MyBlog

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Solomon mamula's chance of a world championship berth hangs on cotton

The Solomon Islands U-20 mamula soccer team has missed a huge opportunity to close the gap on frontrunners, Fiji when they had to play a catch up game with Vanuatu which ended in a 2-2 draw earlier today.

Fiji who are leading the race are on nine points with a bye today. New Zealand who is second is currently playing Tahiti. The draw now left the Solomon mamula with a dismal five points after four matches, trailing Fiji who only played three matches by four clear points. It is becoming apparent that the race would be solely between New Zealand and Fiji as Solomon Islands and Vanuatu hopes are hanging on the thread.

In the game today which was expected to be won by Solomon Islands, Vanuatu shook Solomon Islands by surprise when it scored twice inside five minutes from kick off to give the Mamulas a wake up call. The mamulas managed to hold them at bay from then on. It was not until the end of the dying minutes before youngster Tony Otini scored to cut back the goal margin.

Solomon Islands came back strong after the breather to score the equaliser and could have grabbed the winner had the frontliners made use of their chances. They play Tahiti on Saturday and Samoa on Monday before they head home early next week.

North Malaita Constituency MP calls for halt on government's plan of re-arming security unit

The Member of Parliament for North Malaita Constituency and Leader of the Independent Group in Parliament, Hon Daniel Enele Kwanairara has called on the government to halt its plan to re-arm the Close Personnel Protection Unit of the police.

Hon Kwanairara says the plan must be halted because there is no basis for it. He says the security of the people of Solomon Islands out-weighs the security of a few leaders.

Mr Kwanairara says the decision by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare to re-arm the protection unit is one of the many political stunts of a leader that will haunt the country for many years to come.

Meanwhile, he claims the directive by the Prime Minister is influenced by a move to take control of critical and wider government structures and machinery.

He adds the rationale for this choice needs to be clarified to the people because RAMSI is in the country to provide security for the Prime Minister, Ministers and other Very Important People.

Source: SIBC

AusAid boosts funding for NGO's working on peace, youth and women's activities in SI

The Australian Government’s development agency, AusAID, has provided an additional 9-million dollars boost in funding for NGO’s working on peace, youth and women’s activities.

AusAID says the extra 9-million dollars funding means Australia’s three year funding of 30-million dollars for NGO's will continue for another 12 months.

AusAID’s Director General, Bruce Davis, has said during his recent visit that the aim of the NGO program is to help local NGO's deliver better services to the community focusing on peace training, youth and women’s activities.

Mr Davis said there is real value for the people of Solomon Islands in productive work by NGOs that supports peace, youth and women’s activities.

He said Australia has decided to extend the NGO program to ensure that communities continue to benefit from practical NGO activities.

Mr Davis said, churches and other community based organisations working with women and youth play an important role in community governance at the local level.

Source: SIBC

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

RAMSI's commitment to Malaita roads and bridges yields another fruit

A new road upgradation project was opened recently for the Busurata Road on Malaita Province, witnessed by rural communities, the head of AusAid (Bruce Davis), Malaita caretaker Premier (Reuben Moli), and the Special Coordinator for RAMSI (Tim George).

The improvements have cut travel time to Auki Town from one hour to twenty minutes, and are part of RAMSI’s SBD$30 million commitment to upgrade Malaita’s roads and bridges.

The Hon Caretaker Premier, Reuben Moli, thanked RAMSI for its practical support and help, adding it was the responsibility of Solomon Islands to keep the road maintained.

“The road is now ours. Partners and donors help and support us, but won’t stay forever. It is now up to us to look after this road for everyone to use”, Mr Moli said.

Mr Davis said he was happy to see that Australia’s pledge, through RAMSI, to improve roads and bridges damaged during the tensions had become a reality.

“Economic growth happens when people can improve their lives. We understand that development needs to reach all parts of the country. We will continue to work closely with the Solomon Islands Government to improve the lives of people in rural areas. Better roads join communities together and improve access to markets, schools, health centres and agricultural services”, he said.

Mr Davis congratulated and thanked the communities surrounding Busurata for their participation and contribution to the project.

Over the last year three major roads have been rehabilitated by RAMSI, including the East Road from Dala to Atori and the Fulisango and Busurata Roads near Auki. In addition, major repair and restoration is being undertaken on the South Road and North Road to Malu’u.

Also speaking at the opening, the Special Coordinator of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, Mr Tim George, said community initiatives like this project built on the efforts of RAMSI.

“RAMSI has helped to stabilise law and order through the hard work of the 15 member countries working together with Solomon Islands Government. This has created a safe environment for Solomon Islanders to begin the long process of rebuilding their communities, provinces and nation”, he said.

Source: RAMSI

PNGDF Inquiry to travel to Honiara to interview Moti and others

The controversial Julian Moti may be summoned to appear before the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) board of inquiry when it convenes in Honiara, Solomon Islands, next week.

Moti, the Australian lawyer of Indo-Fijian origin was arrested while transiting through Port Moresby, upon Australia's request, while on his way from Asia to Honiara to take up his Attorney General's post in September las year.

However, while awaiting charges in PNG and being holed in the Solomon Islands High Commission office in Port Moresby for more than a week, a suspicious top level deal was struck resulting in a secret cladestine escape to Munda in Solomon Islands in the early hours of October 10 last year. Immediately after that, the PNG government set up the inquiry to determine who authorised the secret flight.

Yesterday, John Kawi, the senior counsel assisting the inquiry told reporters in PNG that the inquiry was coordinating with the PNG High Commission in Honiara to line up interviews with anyone in the Solomon Islands who may be of assistance to the inquiry.

The board of inquiry is interested to interview Julian Moti. However, it is not certain if Moti will be willing to talk to the board. The PNG Defence Force Board of Inquiry will travel to Honiara next Monday and return on Feb 2.

Meanwhile, the PNG Police Commissioner Gari Baki has offered assistance to train Solomon Island police cadet officers and forensic officers in Papua New Guinea.

Mr Baki said the cadets would be trained at the Bomana Police Training College outside Port Moresby while forensic officers would be attached with their PNG colleagues at the forensic laboratory, also in Port Moresby. He revealed this during the decommissioning of six community police officers who were involved in the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) operation at the Hideaway Hotel in Port Moresby last Saturday.

Source: PNG National

Sogavare says ousted Police Commissioner not wanted

Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare warns ousted Commissioner of Police, Shane Castle that he faces arrest if he sets foot on Solomon Islands soil while he is an undesirable immigrant.

Mr Sogavare echoed the warning following reports that Mr Castle wants to return to complete some important tasks before the end of his employment contract in April this year.

But Mr Sogavare says as far as Government is concerned, Mr Castle is an undesirable immigrant.

The Prime Minister says Mr Castle is at liberty to challenge Government's decision through the courts.

Meanwhile the Prime Minister says recruitment process for Mr Castles' replacement is in progress.

Source: SIBC

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Solomon U20 finds going to Canada tough with loss to Fiji

The Solomon Islands national under 20 mamula side have had a major blow to their chances of a direct ticket to the FIFA U-20 World Championships in Canada later this year, with a 0-3 loss to a more enthusiastic Fiji.

In what is expected to be a tough game of match day three, the Solomon boys settled down early in the game but were unable to score goals in the first half. Fiji sensing the sloppy defence from its opponent, turned the tide on Solomon Islands with its first goal coming just before half time to make it 1-0.

After some hard talk from its no none-sense coach Juan Carlos Buzzetti during the half-time break, the plucky Fijians raced to another two additional goals in the second half to make a resounding victory of 3-0 to secure its third win in three matches to gap the other teams on the ladder and maintain a realistic chance of a berth at the World Championships in June.

The Solomon boys with a draw, one win and one loss are currently on four points with New Zealand who are second on goal difference. New Zealand has only played two games with a win and a draw. Fiji now has nine points after three games.

In earlier games today, Vanuatu were held to a 2-2 draw by Tahiti who scored the equaliser in extra time. The second game saw New Zealand beat Samoa 7-1. Solomon Islands next game would be against Vanuatu.

Solomon Islands chances now hang on the balance and they must ensure to win all their remaining games against Samoa, Vanuatu, and Tahiti. Fiji who is the front runner on the table still has to play New Zealand, Tahiti, and New Caledonia. New Zealand who are second on the ladder are yet to play Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, and Tahiti.

Malaita man embarks on soap manufacturing using coconut oil

A Malaita local entrepreneur Peter Mana has embarked on manufacturing washing soap using coconut oil.

Mr Mana, who operates in Auki , the capital town of Malaita Province says he had decided to go into such business to show to others what they can do for themselves in terms of development.

Mana added that such development initiative is in line with the national government's bottom-up approach policy in economic development.

He says the initial difficulties he faced was having to spend his personal savings on buying machinery to crush and extract oil from coconut.

Mr Mana currently buys copra from local farmers in Malaita Province.

Source: SIBC

SI Budget session of Parliament rescheduled

The budget session of Parliament in Solomon Islands has been rescheduled to begin on February 1st, 2007.

Deputy Secretary to the Prime Minister, Rence Sore said the session was deferred by the Prime Minister's Office in consultation with the National Parliament.

The meeting was initially scheduled to begin this Thursday, January 25th.

Mr Sore said the delay was requested by Parliament to give ample time for revision and reprinting of budget papers. He said the delay would also give time for repairs to the air-conditioning unit in Parliament House.

The Deputy Secretary to the Prime Minister said the budget speech would now be delivered on February 6th.

Source: SIBC

Monday, January 22, 2007

ANZ and SMEC Initiative helps small and medium enterprise owners

A new initiative taken by the Solomon Islands ANZ Bank in opening its doors to members of the Small and Medium Enterprises Council (SMEC) for two days is the first of its kind in the country.

A total of 24 Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) have been given the opportunity to meet with the Managers of treasury and lending on the evenings of the 17th and today.

The Small & Medium Enterprises Council of Solomon Islands (SMEC) was established in 2003 to promote, stimulate and facilitate the economic development of Solomon Islands through export. It is currently being administered by North Malaitans, Leliana Daowana Firisua (Technical Advisor) and Michael Sheppard Maena (Chairman). Since its establishment SMEC membership has continued to grow and to-date the number is thirty six.

According to Chairman Michael Maena, the trade meeting allows SMEC membership to meet face to face with managers of the ANZ bank and share with them the needs of their businesses or difficulties encountered and possible remedial solutions.

A participant, Moffat Misikui of Winway Company also applauded the ANZ bank for taking this initiative to allow Solomon Islanders such a unique opportunity where small and medium buiness owners can openly discuss their plans and challenges. Miskui added that in the past they can only talk to loans officers down the ladder and usually when business owners have difficulties, there is no avenue to meet and explain to the bank heads.

The arrangement for the bank (ANZ/SMEC) came about following discussions in November last year. It was agreed that this trade meeting between the Bank and SMEC membership will be on a quarterly basis.

PNG Foreign Minister brushes judge's remark about Solomon Islands

Papua New Guinea Foreign Minister Paul Tiensten has brushed aside a judge's remark that Solomon Islands is just a "speck in the ocean", by describing the comments as unfortunate.

Last week during proceedings of the Defence Force inquiry into the Moti flight from Papua New Guinea to Munda, chairman Justice Gibbs Salika stated that "Solomon Islands was just a speck in the ocean", and the Moti flight should not be described as a "covert operation". Justice Salika made the remarks when he was grilling PNGDF chief of operations Captain Max Aleale.

However, the PNG Foreign Minister said the comments were the judges's own personal views and did not reflect those of the Papua New Guinea Government.

“It is rather unfortunate that the personal views of the judge on a close sister country and neighbour are being expressed in a public commission of inquiry,” said Mr Tiensten.

Mr Tiensten says that Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands had a close bilateral relationship. Mr Tiensten said that relationship continued to be strengthened by growing contact.

“We have also co-operated and supported each other on a number of occasions in regard to regional and international issues as is expected within relationships which are as close as that of PNG and Solomon Islands,” he added.

Source:Post Courier

Road maintenance awareness workshop held in North Malaita

A two weeks road maintenance awareness program is underway in the Northern region of Malaita.

The awareness program has started from Sulione in North-east Malaita to Malu'u in the North-western part of the province.

SIBC's correspondent in North Malaita John Kiri says the aim of the awareness meetings is to seek support and cooperation from people about the road maintenance work being carried out by the Community Sector Project.

Mr Kiri says 14 locations have been selected for the awareness program.

They include Sulione Market, Olemaoma House of Chiefs, Baefua House of Chiefs, Matakwalao, Silolo, and Malu'u markets.

Among the topics being discussed are road maintenance, allowing the use of gravel and other resources, safety of machine and operators, road links and social services and economic activities.

Mr Kiri says as soon as the awareness program is completed, it is hoped road works would start from Malu'u to Fouia.

Source: SIBC

Solomon U-20 Mamula pips New Caledonia 1-0

The Solomon Islands Under 20 Mamula side beat a seemingly strong New Caledonian outfit 1-0 yesterday in the OFC U-20 Qualifiers in New Zealand.

Yesterday's win was Solomons first after a 1-1 draw with hosts, New Zealand on Friday. New Caledonia have also beaten Tahiti 2-1 on Friday.

Seven Pacific nations, New Zealand, Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Samoa, Tahiti and Solomon islands are competing in the OFC round robin tournament. The winner will gain direct entry into the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada from June to July.

In the first match yesterday, Tahiti scraped through to beat Samoa by three goals to one. In the last match, Fiji maintained their winning record to overcome Vanuatu 2-0 and leading the table.

Solomon Islands will face Fiji tomorrow in its third match of the tournament, and we wish them well.

Solomon Islanders shine in New Zealand Football Championship

Several Solomon Islanders who are playing in the New Zealand Football Championship have performed well for their respective teams in club games over the weekend.

In a game on Saturday between YoungHeart Manawatu and Canterbury at Christchurch, Alick Maemae and Benjamin Totori have shined in helping their team YoungHeart Manawatu beat Canterbury United 3-1.

Solomon Islander Henry Jnr Faarodo who plays for Canterbury was denied at least two goal opportunities when his rasping drive in the 3rd minute rattles the crossbar. In the 32nd minute, Manawatu keeper Phil Imray had to dive full stretch to deny Henry Fa'arodo the equaliser for Canterbury.

For Manawatu, Alick Maemae scored a goal in the 92nd minute after being unselfishly set up by Benjamin Totori. Totori was also the provider for Manawatu's second goal after a nice one-two touch with Ian Sandbrook who scored in the 50 minute mark.

Another game on Saturday at Waitakere between Otago United and Waitakere saw Solomon Islander Commins Menapi in action and scoring a goal just on the half time mark for his Waitakere side to thrash Otago 5-1.

RAMSI cautions against current plans to re-arm Solomons police

By Anne McCaig

The Special Coordinator of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, Tim George, has reaffirmed that RAMSI does not support the government’s plan to put guns back in the hands of the Solomon Islands Police Force at this stage.

In a meeting between the RAMSI Special Coordinator and Solomon Islands Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare on Friday, Mr Tim George expressed RAMSI’s concern about the proposed re-arming of the Solomon Islands Police Force (SIPF).

Speaking after the meeting, Mr George explained that RAMSI was unable to support the re-arming plans at this time.

“We feel it is our responsibility to voice our concerns about current plans to bring guns back into Solomon Islands. This is an issue of community safety, security and public confidence.

“RAMSI’s first task in 2003 was to get rid of guns in the Solomon Islands and bring back law and order. This is why RAMSI was invited here in the first place – it goes to the heart of our work here”, Mr George said.

“The surrendering of almost 4,000 guns by the community was a powerful moment for the people of Solomon Islands. Guns brought fear into people’s lives.

RAMSI has not seen any evidence that people want guns back in their communities.

Current plans to re-arm the police also undermine the long-term training plan that RAMSI’s Participating Police Force (PPF) has been undertaking to rebuild the Solomon Islands Police Force since 2005.

The Commander of RAMSI’s Participating Police Force, Will Jamieson, said he was impressed by the improving skills of SIPF officers and the strong relationships between PPF advisors from 15 Pacific countries and their Solomon Islands counterparts.

“Since 2005 the central aim of the RAMSI PPF has been training and capacity building the SIPF in all aspects of modern policing”, Commander Jamieson said.

This has included members of the Prime Minister’s Close Personal Protection team who have undertaken a specially designed training program adapted to the needs of the Solomon Islands including: driving, emergency actions, close personal protection drills, planning and searching techniques.

“The success of this training has helped the police force begin to rebuild confidence in themselves and trust with the community”, Commander Jamieson said.

“We are concerned re-arming the police force now may damage the good work that has been undertaken over the past two years between the police and the community”, he said.

“The re-arming of the police at this time is not something that can be rushed. It must be carefully planned”, he said.

Mr George says RAMSI feels that in the government proposal to re-arm the police there is not a satisfactory plan for training, purchasing, maintenance and security of weapons, and no evidence of broad community support amonst Solomon Islanders for re-arming.

Source: RAMSI

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Judd Molea keep Solomon hopes alive with 1-1 draw against New Zealand

The higlight match of Day 1 at the opening of the Under 20 Oceania Championships yesterday in Waitakere lived up to expectations when Solomon Islands Mamula held the mights of New Zealand to a 1-1 draw, keeping both teams chances of a world cup berth in Canada alive.

In what is described as an entertaining match with some prominent names in the New Zealand side, Solomon Mamula ensured to stick to their coach's words earlier in the week that they will put on a good performance against New Zealand and they would not be intimidated with the New Zealand line-up. Also, earlier in the week New Zealand Coach confidently stated that history won't repeat itself, refering to when the New Zealand side was beaten by Solomon Islands and Fiji at Lawson Tama in 2005.

The game only took 28 minutes into the first half when Solomons playmaker Judd Molea stunned New Zealand with a sweetly-struck free kick to take a 1 nil lead. However, the Solomon boys lead was shortlived only five minutes later when Sam Jenkins powerfully nodded home Leo Shin's cross to make it 1-1.

New Zealand were expected to kick-on in the second half at Trusts Stadium but were instead rocked just three minutes after the resumption when captain Jack Pelter saw red for his second bookable offence, a seemingly innocuous challenge that clearly wasn’t seen that way by Papua New Guinea referee Job Minan Ponis.

Both teams could have extended their leads late in the second half only to denied by the wood work or by the referee's call. The game ended in a 1-1 draw.

In other matches yesterday, Fiji thrashed a hapless Samoan outfit 7-0 while a clash of the French speaking territories saw New Caledonia defeating Tahiti 2-1. Solomon Islands will face New Caledonia tomorrow after their rest day today.

Pictures by Ben Campbell (

Friday, January 19, 2007

Solomon Islands send police officers to Taiwan for personal protection training

The Solomon Islands Police Force has sent twelve officers to Taiwan to undergo training in close personal protection.

The officers departed for Taiwan on Monday and will undertake a two week training program fully funded by the Taiwanese Government.

Police personnel selected for future duty with the Close Personal Protection Unit will receive training in security movements for VIP’s, specialist driving skills, firearms, and self defence.

It is planned to send up to fifty police officers to Taiwan to undergo the training designed to provide a group of officers capable of providing security and protecting the Prime Minister and other dignitaries.

Source: RNZI

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Statistics Office release Honiara Consumer Price Index for late 2006

The Statistics Office of the Solomon Islands Department of Finance and Treasury today released the Honiara Consumer Price Index figures for November and December 2006 respectively.

The consumer price index or CPI is a measure of the level of inflation. CPI measures how much the price of consumer goods and services has changed over a given time period. The CPI reflects spending patterns for urban consumers. It is usually published monthly and can be used as an economic indicator and a means of adjusting dollar values.

The overall index for the month of November slightly rose by 0.3 percent (341.5) compared to (340.5) in October. These increases resulted mainly from a 2.1 and 1.3 percent price rise recorded in Clothing&Footwear and Miscellaneous Items respectively which also include minor increases in other subindexes. These were however, out weighed by a 4.9 percent decrease in the food sub-index.

The December Index recorded a drop of 0.3 percent (340.5) compared to previous month. The decrease was mainly due to drop in prices of Food items (-1.8 percent) and Drinks & Tobacco sub-index (-2.1 percent). The other subindexes recorded insignificant increases or remain fairly stable.

For imported goods, annual inflation for the 3 months to November increased to 8.1 percent from 7.3 percent in October whilst December recorded a rate of 8.9 percent.

Domestically produced goods increased to 6.3 percent during the month as compared to 5.6 percent in October, whilst December rate marginally increased by 6.6 percent.

Source: GCU

Malaita provincial election results finalised

At last, all the Malaita provincial election results have been finalised. Just this afternoon, Returning Officer Johnson Houma has finally confirmed the results for wards 8 and Ward 9 to end the waiting for the delayed 25 remaining wards on Malaita, which went to the polls on Monday. Other wards in the province have held their elections on December 5 and 18, 2006. The two time postphonement of the remaining 25 wards was attributed to lack of funds and untimely distribution of ballot boxes to respective polling centres.

The confirmed full provincial assembly house that is expected to manage the provincial affairs over the next term is outlined below:

Ward Winners (16/01/07 elections)
06. Madalua/Folotana -- Silas Tolota
07. Fo'ondo/Gwai'au -- Philip Taloinao
08. Malu'u -- Edwin Miniti Suiba'ea
09. Matakwalao -- Senly Levi Filualea
10. Takwa -- Ben Foukona
11. East Baegu -- Silas Tony Bobby
12. Foueda -- Kalabeti Aluta
13. Sulufou/Kwarande -- Sam Bobby
14. Susubona/Burianiasi --- George Atana Sanga
15. Nafinua -- Michael Saru Tofu
16. Faumamanu/Kwai -- Billy Fa'arobo
17. Gulalofou -- Billy Abae
18. Waneagu/Taelanasina -- Alick Butala
19. Aiaisi -- Ronnie Maea
20 Areare -- George Arahaori
21. Raroisu'u -- John Te'eho'u
22. Aba/Asimeuru -- George Moffat Ou
23. Asimae -- Francis Wateliu
24. Mareho -- Jimmy Kai'erea Manewai
25. Tai -- Isaac Houhihata
26. Kwarekwareo -- Charles Jeffrey
27. Siesie -- David Nguiburi
28. Waneagu Sulana Sina -- Henry Dada
29. Kwaimela/Radefasu -- Clifton Fraser Fulesau
30. Langalanga -- Randal Sifoni

Ward winners (18/12/06 elections)
31. Luaniua - Wilson Sanga
32. Pelau - Christopher Mouka
33. Sikaiana - Keusa

Ward winners (05/12/06 elections)
1. Auki - Ina Leong
2. Aimela - Richard Na'amo Irosaea
3. Buma - Robert Madeo
4. Fauabu - Erickson Otoia
5. West Baegu/Fataleka - William Isui

The new provincial members will be sworn-in on Monday next week followed by the election of the provincial speaker on Tuesday. Following the speaker’s election will be an induction course to be held on Wednesday and Thursday next week for the new provincial members. The premiership election is expected to be carried out on Friday next week (26/01/07).

Source: Joe @ Honiara

USP 2007 fees to rise by three percent

The University of the South Pacific (USP), where majority of Solomon Island tertiary students are studying at, has denied rumours of a 20 percent increase in tuition fees this year for courses provided through its Distance and Flexible Learning (DFL) mode but admitted that there will be a three percent fee rise across the board.

Yesterday, the university's Vice-Chancellor Professor Anthony Tarr clarified that there were no plans for any increase in the DFL tuition fee apart from a 3 per cent increase that was approved last year. That increase was agreed to at the USP Council's October 2006 meeting.

Last year, USP decided to increase its tuition fees across the board by 3 per cent to cover inflation costs.

USP's public relations manager Bernadette Hussein had said the fee for the DFL print mode rose by a further eight per cent in line with the USP Council's policy. Ms Hussein said the USP Council policy stated that on-campus and DFL fees should converge by the year 2010.

Ms Hussein said when the distinction between DFL formerly known as Extension and on-campus tuition disappeared, all students would be using printed materials, Internet resources and video broadcast as well as the traditional face-to-face teaching mode. She said with the disappearance of the distinction, the Council believed there was no logic to a different level of fees for students studying by different modes.

The University has abolished the separate course materials charge for undergraduate print-mode DFL students, she said. Ms Hussein said the previous charge had been incorporated into the tuition fee. She said this meant that course materials would be provided free-of-charge where applicable and it was consistent with the principle of convergence.

USP classes for Semester 1 this year begins on February 26 with the orientation starting on February 19.

Source: Fiji Times

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

PM Sogavare rejects Opposition's sabotage claim

By George Herming

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare today rejects an opposition claim suggesting his government has “sabotaged” the justice system of Solomon Islands.

Opposition leader Fred Fono told local TV last night his group is convinced the Sogavare government had “politically manipulated” the justice system in relation to a magistrate court decision last year freeing Julian Moti off immigration charges against him.

Mr Fono further alleged that the dismissal of ex police commissioner Shane Castles was linked to investigations into the Moti affair.

But Mr Sogavare was unmoved by those accusations today saying justice was already applied by the court decision that freed Mr Moti. He instead urges people (including Mr Fono) to respect the court which fairly and independently made its decision.

“It’s laughable to say we “sabotage” the justice system. All these matters are done procedurally through relevant and appropriate constitutional provisions,” Mr Sogavare said.

The Prime Minister said responsible authorities who use those lawful powers have invoked them through the court.

“There’s nothing really wrong with them. If the court system is what we should respect, then the court has already spoken,” said Mr Sogavare.

He said every citizen of the country is duty bound to respect important institutions like the courts.

“If we do not, then that’s the end of law and order and the justice system of the country,” he warned.

The Prime Minister also dismissed Opposition allegations linking the Moti affair to the dismissal of Mr Castles in December. He said the Opposition leader is only trying to score points but lacks evidence to empower his claims.

“This is just narrowing down matters to a particular issue which in their thinking is just to catch public attention. It’s a normal thing that people who want to win arguments would like to use issues that appeals to the public,” he said.

Mr Sogavare reiterated that the Moti affair has nothing to do with the December declaration of Mr Castles as an Undesirable Immigrant.

Source: GCU

SI government still to decide on Castle's replacement

By Deli Oso/PM Press Secretary

The national government is still to decide on the appointment of a new Commissioner for the Royal Solomon Islands Police, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said.

This follows the ban imposed on the Australian holder of the post, Shane Castles from re-entering Solomon Islands.

The government had for sometime held serious reservations and concerns over Mr Castle’s terms of appointment and the way he had been acting off the limits of his official powers.

Mr Sogavare said the post would be advertised unless the cabinet decided to make a ‘direct appointment’ of an individual it knew was capable of doing the job.

“The government has yet to make a final decision on the matter. It’s a matter to be decided by cabinet. The normal procedure to fill a vacant post in the Public Service is to have the post advertised unless the cabinet thinks otherwise and makes direct appointment of individuals that we know are capable of doing the job.”

Source: GCU

North Malaitan appointed as Athletic Solomons new development officer

A North Malaita person has been recruited as the Athletic Solomons new development officer to spearhead the development of athletics in Solomon Islands over the next two years.

He is Mr Martin Rara who hails from Malu'u in North Malaita. Mr Rara replaces Casper Pule the former development officer whose contract lapsed late last year.

He is a teacher by profession and was once an 800 meter and 1500 meter runner. He officially took office yesterday. He will be looking after the management of the Athletic Solomons office.

Mr Rara has indicated to the Solomon Star daily yesterday that his first task would be developing youths especially those in the schools. He also stated that he would be looking at assisting school teachers around the country in promoting athletics. He further added that he would be reaching out into the communities to scout for potential athletes.

Mr Rara’s involvement in athletics began in 2001 when he was the athletic coach for Arnon Atomea Community High School in Malu'u. In 2004 he attended the middle and long distance training camp in Adelaide, Australia. In 2005, he was appointed the head coach to the Melanesian athletes in Lae, which they won 13 medals, seven silvers and six bronze. He also coached the athletes to the Mini Games in Palau where they won two gold, six silver and three bronze. Recently he coached Solomon Islands athletes to the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne from 15-21st March 2006, which they break the national record of 41.67 seconds in the 4x100 relay. He also attended further athletics related professional training in Fiji last year. With these experiences Rara hoped to further develop the sport left by his predecessor.

Source: Solomon Star

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Solomon government encourages economic activities in rural areas

The Solomon Islands national government has embarked on various reforms to encourage economic activities in rural areas.

Minister for Finance and Treasury Gordon Darcy Lilo says the reforms aim to encourage Solomon Islanders to become involved in commercial activities. He says the reforms include work on improving processes within government, to make it easier for local people to start up businesses.

Mr Lilo says the government is embarking on a tax reform and devise ways in which people in rural areas can have access to private sector financing.

The Finance Minister says government is now working on a new infrastructure plan which is featured in the 2007 budget to enable rural people move freely whenever they want to secure materials and markets for their products.

He says the government is optimistic that when these reforms are fully implemented, people in rural areas will participate fully in economic activities, broadening the country's economic base.

Source: SIBC

Solomon Mamula up against OFC U20 favorites New Zealand this friday

The Solomon Islands under 20 Mamula soccer team faces its biggest task of the Oceania Football Confederation Men's U-20 World Cup Qualifying Championship, when they face favorites, New Zealand this Friday in Auckland.

In a match that will determine the might of the Solomon boys against a well prepared and exposed side, leading to a possible ticket to the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada from June 29-July 22, the Mamula players are adament of their chances to perform against their much rated opponents.

The official match schedule for the OFC U20 Men's Championship saw underdogs Samoa facing Fiji in the tournament's opening fixture at midday on friday. Other action on Match Day 1 will feature Tahiti and New Caledonia clash in a battle of the French-speaking associations at 2.30pm with the mouthwatering clash between hosts and tournament favourites New Zealand and Solomon Islands kicking off at 5.00pm rounding off the opening day's action. Vanuatu will receive a bye.

The tournament will see Fiji, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tahiti and Vanuatu play in a round-robin format with the group winner going forward to the FIFA Men's U20 World Cup in Canada.

Last week, the Solomon boys continued their preparations for the OFC Men's U20 Championship with a resounding 5-1 win over a local club side in New Zealand as fleet-footed striker Judd Molea and exciting defender Gibson Daudau ran amok. Solomon Island coach Airton Andrioli says he is optimistic of a good showing at Trusts Stadium with New Zealand. Earlier last wednesday, the Mamula side drew 1-1 with a touring Australian Schoolboys team at Waikaraka Park, Onehunga.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand side was further strengthened with All White and Fullham player, Chris James, joing the squad on Friday last week. The New Zealand squad also include other prominent players such as All White Jeremy Brockie, who was released by Sydney FC for the tournament. The squad also features three Kiwis who are playing college football in the US and the best young domestic talent from the New Zealand Football Championship.

However, it is understood that there is mounting pressure on the New Zealand camp, ahead of their game with the Solomons, as they comptemplate to make amends for their embarrassing performance in last year’s Oceania U-20 Championships where they suffered shock losses to Fiji and hosts, the Solomon Islands. Since then the side has showed improved form, securing New Zealand’s first series victory over the Young Socceroos in Australia in May last year. But NZ coach Jacobs admits they will be facing into the unknown when the seven team tournament gets under way this weekend.

The Solomon Islands will have much to live up to at this tournament after making it all the way to the final in 2005 before being beaten 3-0 by Australia. Solomon Islands defeated New Zealand on the way to that final appearance and will be conscious of a possible Kiwi backlash. But we can only wish our boys good luck in their matches over the next week.

Malaita provincial election results to be known today

The provincial elections in the remaining 25 wards in Malaita was successfully completed yesterday with the results expected to be known by today afternoon.

Returning Officer for the Malaita Provincial Elections, Johnson Houma, says the elections yesterday started at 7am and closed at 5pm. Mr Houma says counting of votes will take place at various places around Malaita Province. He says if possible, counting for some wards closer to capital Auki may have already started last night. But he says this will depend on how soon the ballot boxes arrive at Auki. Counting in all the other wards have started this morning.

Meanwhile, the new premier of Guadalcanal Joash Salani has yesterday appointed his executive, predominantly all new members except one, Hon Ephrem Limanikua who was part of the out-going government.

They include Deputy Premier and Minister for Finance, Braddley Tovosia; Minister for Economic Planning Minister, David Rosalio; Minister for Provincial Affairs, Henry Eric; Minister for Education, Anthony Veke; Minister for Agriculture & Fisheries, Ephrem Limanikua; Minister for Health, Jude Soni; Minister for Natural Resources, Silas Chekana; Minister for Transport and Works, Henry Petsakibo; Minister for Lands and Rural Development, John Kelly and Minister for Tourism, Youths, Sports and Women Affairs, Michael Liliau.

We hope to keep you updated of the results for Malaita elections once information comes to hand.

Australia disappointed over Oti's statement

The Acting Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, Heidi Bootle has expressed disappointment at comments made by the Solomon Islands Foreign Minister regarding Australia's involvement in RAMSI.

Ms Bootle in a statement yesterday says she was disappointed at the criticism, noting that Australia has only ever been committed to assisting the Solomon Islands. She says Australia was invited by the Solomon Islands Government in 2003 to lead a regional assistance mission to help get the Solomon Islands back on its feet.

Ms Bootle says Australia makes a significant financial contribution to enable participation in RAMSI by Pacific islands police and military. She says Australia's decision to withdraw funding to Fiji's military participation in RAMSI was entirely consistent with the regional response to the military coup in Fiji.

The Acting High Commissioner said Australia informed the Solomon Islands Government, it's regional partners and the Forum Secretariat of the decision.

Ms Bootle says she had met Solomon Islands Foreign Minister, Patteson Oti, December 13th and outlined to him Australia's decision. She says Australia has not taken a unilateral decision to remove Fiji from RAMSI.

She adds, Australia has outlined to it's RAMSI partners, including the Solomon Islands Government, that it is Australia's firm view that continued Fiji military participation in RAMSI is not appropriate in light of the military coup.

Ms Bootle however says, a decision on Fiji's participation is one for the Pacific Islands Forum.

She says Australia welcomed the Forum Secretariat's action in writing to Forum member counties to seek their views.

The acting High Commissioner says Australia continues to support Fiji's strong contribution to other elements of RAMSI.

Source: SIBC

Monday, January 15, 2007

Solomon Government welcomes new Australian High Commissioner

By George Herming

The Solomon Islands government on Friday welcomed the appointment of Australian diplomat Peter Hooton to serve as Australia’s High Commissioner to Solomon Islands.

Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Patteson Oti welcomed the appointment describing it as a positive step in maintaining meaningful relations between the countries.

Mr Oti said the current government accepted the appointment in the spirit of goodwill.

“We see Mr Hooton's appointment as a positive step in maintaining meaningful relations between our two countries. We were pleased to accept his nomination late last year at the time our Solomon Islands high commissioner Victor Ngele arrived to take up his post in Canberra,” Mr Oti said.

Mr Oti said he hoped the announcement from Australia would mean Mr Ngele would now have an early opportunity to present his credentials to formally take up his position.

Mr Hooton a career public servant who joined Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 1974 replaces former High Commissioner Patrick Cole.

Mr Cole, who was Australia's chief representative in Solomon Islands for three years, was expelled in September last year after being accused of meddling in internal politics.

Mr Oti’s Australian counterpart Alexander Downer told the Australia media his country remains committed to helping ordinary Solomon Islanders improve their lives.

“Australia's commitment to Solomon Islands is exemplified in its leadership (of RAMSI) ... which has made significant progress in helping the Solomon Islands address key challenges to law and order, growth and economic management,” Mr Downer said.

A date for Hooton to formally take up his appointment is yet to be announced.

Source: GCU

Double up for Totori and Maemae in New Zealand Football Championship

YoungHeart Manawatu moved back into second place in the New Zealand Football Championship with a comfortable 5-2 win over Waikato FC in Palmerston North yesterday afternoon, thanks to goals from Solomon Islanders Alick Maemae and Benjamin Totori.

The two goals apiece from Benjamin Totori and Alick Maemae helped Manawatu to leapfrog back over Auckland City. Manawatu wasted no time in opening the scoring against with Alick Maemae beating several defenders for a superb individual effort.

Manawatu had several chances to extend their lead but Waikato were back on level terms midway through the first half when Matt Williams converted a penalty.

Waikato enjoyed parity for less than four minutes with Totori getting his first and the game was over as a contest just before the break with Maemae scoring his second with a long range scorcher.

After a quiet start to the second half Manawatu add to their tally a goal from their captain, Ian Robinson before Waikato got one back through Matt Williams second.

Fittingly it was Manawatu and Totori who had the final say with the Solomon Island striker scoring his 18th goal of the season to wrap up the three points for Manawatu.

In an earlier match on Saturday, another Solomon Islander Commins Menapi scored a goal in the 6oth minute to help his Waitakere United side beat Hawkes Bay 3-1 and extending their lead at the top of the table.

Source: NZFC

Malaita voters go to the polls today to elect new provincial leaders

Malaita voters in wards 6 to 30 have gone to the polls this morning to elect new provincial assembly leaders that will steer the most populated island over the next term

The elections is convened now after being deferred on two separate occasions due to lack of funding and delays in distribution of ballot boxes to the respective polling centres. Provincial Secretary Harold Leka has assured people that preparations for the elections have taken place and today's event will eventuate.

Meanwhile, the results for winning candidates from wards 6 to 30 are expected to be known tomorrow. The first assembly meeting should take place from 22-26 January during which new provincial members will be sworn in, a new speaker elected, undergoing an induction course, and the election of a premier.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Fo'ondo Sports Club in North Malaita successfully hosts Christmas tournament

By Paul Lional (Fo'ondo Club Secretary)

The Fo'ondo Sports Club in North Malaita has successfully organised a 7-a-side Soccer and Netball knock-out at Fo'ondo Sports ground from 19th to 22nd December 2006.

A total of 34 soccer teams and 10 netball teams took part in the tournament. Teams which participated were from To'abaita area in North Malaita to as far as Central Kwara'ae in Central Malaita.

The four day tournament attracted lots of people in the surrounding areas both young and old to come and cheer their favourite teams.

Winners of the tournament are for soccer: 1st prize of $2000 was awarded to Aimela White of Central Kwara'ae; 2nd prize of $1000 was scooped by Santos of West Fataleka; whilst third prize of $500 was collected Aimela Green of Central Kwara'ae. A Consolation prize of $200 was given to St John of West Fataleka.

In netball, first prize of $200 was taken by Dala South of West Kwara'ae; 2nd prize of $100 was won Fo'ondo of North Malaita.

It is understood that all the prizes were sponsored by Fo'ondo Sports Club in an effort to promote peace in the community.

The organizing committee wish to thank the participating teams and the surrounding communities for their well behaviour during the tournament which ended successfully.
Appreciation is also extended to local referees from the Solomon Islands Football Federation office who officiated all the soccer matches from day one to day four.

The organizing committee for 2007 Christmas tournament wish to announce that this years Christmas Tournament will be 18th to the 21st December 2007 at Fo'ondo Sports Ground.

More than 100 SIG tertiary students face being terminated in 2007

More than 100 Solomon Islands Government scholarship recipients face being terminated for failing to complete their programmes of study within the expected time frame.

The National Training Unit of the Ministry of Education, which deals with scholarships had last year issued a list of students whose scholarships are on the line. The students have been informed via e-mail that they have completed their three years and should be graduating. But most of the students still need an extra semester or two to fully complete their studies.

However, the National Training Unit had also notified the students concerned to lodge formal applications to extend their scholarships, as well as to state their reasons why they need an extra semester.

It is understood most of the government sponsored students who are in that list are those studying at the Fiji-based University of the South Pacific's Laucala Campus in Suva.

The Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation has reported that the scholarship board (National Training Council) will meet next Monday to assess student applications.

Source: SIBC

Japan provides funding to one of Malaita's prominent Secondary Schools

The Japanese Government has extended its grassroot support scheme to West Kwaio in Malaita by providing funds to help improve Su'u Secondary School, one of the most prominent institutions on the province.

Yesterday morning, the Japanese Charge de' Affairs Koichi Kodama and the school board chairman, Samson Rihuoha signed documents for the more than 276 thousand dollars funding.

Japan is providing the money under the Japanese Grassroots and Human Security Project scheme. The funding is for the purchase of classroom materials, dormitory furniture and library resources.

In thanking the Japanese government for the funding, the school Chairman, Mr Rihuoha says the school has been using dormitory and classroom furniture and other educational materials for the past 30 years. He says the funding will help the school improve its Forms four to seven. The signing of the documents at the Japanese Embassy in Honiara was witnessed by representatives of the South Sea Evangelical Church Education Authority.

Source: SIBC

Friday, January 12, 2007

Australian Government appoints new High Commissioner to Solomon Islands

The Australian Government has appointed a new High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, just after a mere four months since the expulsion of the former High Commissioner Patrick Cole for allegations of involvement in local issues that may undermine the sovereignty of the island nation.

The new Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands is his Excellency Mr Peter Hooton who is expected to take over the position as early as later this month. He will replace Patrick Cole, whose expulsion in September last year prompted ongoing diplomatic tensions between the two countries and mixed reactions amongst Solomon Islanders and commentators.

It is understood that this new unexpected move by the government of Australia is a big step in mending the differences between Solomon Islands and Australia. A considerable number of people initially thought that with the recent banning of former Police Commissioner Shane Castles, the relationship between the two countries would deteriorate further. However, the recent action by the government of Australia in consultation with the Solomon Islands government is a step in the right direction that most, if not all Solomon Islanders, would genuinely appreciate.


Guadalacanal provincial members appoint new premier in a landslide victory

Guadalcanal Province has stamped its mark beside Isabel, Rennel and Bellona, and Malaita to have new premiers after recent elections. Eventhough wards 6 to 30 in Malaita are expected to go to the polls this coming monday, the outgoing premier Reuben Moli has already lost his seat to a new candidate.

In a landslide victory this morning during the Guadalcanal executives meeting, Honourable Joash Salani was elected as the new premier. Hon Salani polled 15 votes whilst his only rival, the out-going deputy premier Stephen Panga got five votes.

It is understood Premier Salani is a former Speaker of the Guadalcanal Provincial Assembly for the past eight years. Premier Salani hopes to appoint his executive over the weekend.

Source: MyBlog

Home made explosive targeted for fish injures man on Guadalcanal

A Solomon Islands man in his fifties is in a critical condition at the National Referral Hospital in Honiara after a homemade explosive device exploded prematurely on yesterday morning.

The accident happened about 7:15 am at a creek between Bonege and Kakabona in west Guadalcanal. The explosion was heard in areas as far away as White River and Lengakiki. Initial investigations led police to believe the man was using the explosives to catch fish.

He has received shocking injuries to his face and body and has had an arm blown off. Police from Guadalcanal Province are investigating the incident.

Meanwhile, Explosive Ordinance Disposal Team Senior Sergeant Rex Waiwori said these types of accidents can be avoided.

“Explosives are very dangerous, especially homemade explosives. This sort of accident can be avoided; we have issued many warnings about the dangers of handling explosives. When explosives are used to catch fish, it causes a huge amount of damage to all forms of marine life. Again I appeal to the public to avoid touching or handling explosives. The World War Two amunitions are very old and very dangerous” he said.

Source: SIPF

Rural communities help Police arrest Malaita youths with homemade guns

Auki Police in Malaita Province have arrested three youths on Wednesday 10 January 2007, in relation to an unlawful wounding incident at Kwaisuliniu Village in the West Kwara’ae area.

The arrest was made following a successful operation mounted in the late hours on Tuesday 9 to the early hours of Wednesday 10 January. The youths’ ages are 14, 17 and 19 years old respectively. During the operation the house occupied by the youths was searched and a factory manufactured crossbow and a homemade pistol that could discharge a .22 rifle bullet were found and confiscated.

The youths have been charged with Unlawful Wounding and Obstructing Police officer on duty. They have also been charged under the Liquor Act following the discovery of "Kwaso" (locally distilled homebrew) production equipment in the house that they occupy. Police expects to lay additional charges in relation to the weapons found with them as the investigation progresses.

The Acting Police Commander Auki, Inspector John Walenenea, praises the Solomon Islands Police Force officers and RAMSI military personnel for their hard work and dedication and he also acknowledges the support of the community.

“I am pleased to see the hard work and dedication of the officers serving here in Auki in maintaining law and order in the province. The tremendous support provided by the New Zealand Army deployed to Auki under RAMSI shows the importance of working together to create a better and safer place for everyone,” he added.

“I sincerely convey my gratitude to community chiefs and elders who have greatly assisted police in our operation and investigation. We have come this far because we work together and support each other,” Inspector John Walenea said.

Source: SIPF

PNG Inquiry informed of an extra civilian passenger in the Moti secret flight to Solomons

The Papua New Guinea Defence Force Board of Inquiry was yesterday informed of an unexpected extra civilian passenger onboard the Clandestine CASA secret flight that spirited fugitive lawyer Julian Moti to Munda, Solomon Islands on October 10 last year.

This now makes the total number of passengers onboard that flight to become nine in contrary to earlier statements indicating only eight. Earlier sworn statements released by witnesses revealed that only eight passengers were onboard the flight which consisted of five PNG military personnels and Moti with his two Solomon colleagues.

However two soldiers, load master Arua Ikupu and engineer Wais Morap, who were on that CASA flight delivering Moti and two other passengers to the Solomon Islands yesterday changed their earlier sworn statements and admitted that there was an extra PNG male civilian passenger who was on that flight that returned from Munda with the five other military personnel.

Lance Corporal Ikupu said he had originally thought that all the civilian passengers (Julian Moti and his two colleagues) were being delivered to the Solomon Islands but realised that one man still remained on the CASA when it returned to PNG, making the total number on that return leg from Munda, to six passengers – five men in uniform and one man in civilian clothes. That was after Moti and two other passengers had been off-loaded from the CASA at Munda.

Corporal Ikupu added that when he asked the male civilian passenger about his details, he told Ikupu that he was "Assaigo's son". Mr. Joseph Assaigo is the Director General of the Office of the Security Coordination and Assessments (OSCA). However, the inquiry was later told that Joseph Assaigo does not have a son. The interesting thing is that even the military personnels that handled the flight were unaware of the presence of that so-called "Assaigo's son" and only realised his presence on their return leg from Munda. Therefore, one can only wonder who that mysterious civilian passenger is, as the inquiry is now authorised to be open to media and public by the respective Minister.

Source: PNG National

Fiji situation safe for Solomon students

Solomon Islands has been advised that its students studying at the Suva-based University of the South Pacific (USP) as well as other regional institutions are safe to return for studies in Fiji this year.

Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education, Barnabas Anga says advice received from USP confirms it is safe to continue this academic year.

However, he says the university has delayed the start of its first semester by two weeks to give time for member countries and the academic staff to consider their options. The University of the South Pacific will now begin classes on February 26.

Meanwhile, the Education Ministry continues to receive updates of the political situation in Fiji from USP's Administrative body.

Source: SIBC

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