To'abaita Authority for Research & Development (TARD)

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

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

Thursday, March 29, 2007

To'abaita youth chosen as the only Solomon Islander to represent USP team to the "Pacific Future Environment Leaders Forum in Samoa

A To'abaita student at the University of the South Pacific (USP) in Suva has been selected as the only Solomon Islands' representative in the USP team to accompany another nine regional students to the upcoming "Pacific Future Environment Leaders Forum" in Apia (Samoa) next week.

Mr Wilfred Arnon Atomea Jnr (pictured) is a final semester undergraduate student in Marine Studies. He hails from Manakwai Village in the heart of North Malaita Constituency (To'abaita).

Wilfred Atomea says the USP team will be leaving for Samoa this coming Saturday (31st March). The ten member student delegation consists of students who are currently doing postgraduate and undergraduate studies in Environmental Science and Marine Studies and are going as a team representing the regional university.

It is understood the the forum is funded by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and coordinated by SPREP along with the Pacific Youth Environment Network (PYNE).

The main focus of this forum is to: share information, build skills in project management, negotiation and communication, as well as to learn about the Pacific Youth Environment Network (PYEN) and to identify the participants' role as youth in promoting environment for sustainable development issues in the Pacific.

The forum begins on 2nd April to 4th April in which participants will explore three distinctive areas: information/sharing, skills sessions and future initiatives. These sessions will be held at the SPREP Secretariat in Apia and at the USP Alafua Campus.

Mr Atomea also adds that apart from the learning side, the team is representing USP to pursue possible establishment of the PYNE Secretariat at Laucala Campus in Suva, Fiji.

The ten member student delegation include Ms Jamal Talagi from Niue; Ms Manatu Samani from Tonga; Mrs Mavis Depaune from Nauru; Moriana Phillip from Marshall Islands; four reps from Fiji- Stephanie Robinson, Akosita Rokomate, Ronald Simpson and Ms Faye Tamani (Team leader); Ueneta Toorua from kiribati and Wilfred Atomea from Solomon Islands.

It is anticipated that there would be other youth representatives from the Pacific region attending this prestigous forum.

Part To'abaita youth soccer rep handed USP All rounder sports scholarship for 2007

A part To'abaita and Tikopia youth national soccer rep was announced as one of the recipients of the 2007 University of the South Pacific (USP) All rounder sports scholarships along with other Fijian athletes.

The names were announced by the coordinator of the All-Rounder Scholarship programme Margaret Eastgate.

The new Fijian recipients of this prestigious award include the national Netball defender, Lusiani Robanakadavu; holder of national Swimming record Lorraine Patterson; national track runner Merelaisa Dawaqa and national Basketball representative, Sera Colata.

It is reported that Solomon Islands soccer star Franklyn Forau declined the offer of the scholarship for personal reasons. However, it is understood Mr Forau is already at USP on a Solomon Islands Government Scholarship. Mr Forau is part Tikopia and Malathawa Village in North Malaita.

The scholarships programme was first introduced last year and was the brainchild of former Vice Chancellor Professor Anthony Tarr.

Source: Fiji Daily Post

Regional climate change workshop for least developed countries underway in Honiara

The United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC, 11th meeting of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Expert Group and training workshop on National Adaptation Programme of Action is now underway in Honiara.

Director of the Solomon Islands Meteorological Services, Chanel Iroi, says the workshop is to train climate experts of the Least Developed Countries or LDC.

"This workshop is for the teams involved in their preparation work and implementation of the National Adaptation Program of Action and also for participants who come from Tuvalu and Vanuatu who are also involved in the program of action. These countries are also in the LDC Group."

Mr Iroi says NAPA is a framework designed to assist LDC's which are vulnerable to the effects of climate change and how they can adapt to this phenomena.

One of the likely effects of climate change which poses greater threat to low laying atolls in the pacific including Solomon Islands is the sea-level rise.

Other guests who addressed the opening ceremony yesterday morning includes Philip Witch of the UNFCCC Secretariat and Bubu Jalo of Gambia.

Mr Jalo is Vice-chairman of the LDC's Expert Group and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Forestry and Environment of Gambia.

The Minister of Communications, Aviation and Meteorology, Patrick Vahoe opened the workshop in Honiara yesterday morning.

Source: SIBC

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Malaita secondary schools benefit from European Union funded books

By Brian Wanga/GCD Auki

Secondary schools in Malaita province this week received books funded under the European Union (EU) Stabex 99 fund.

Officials from both the EU and the Ministry of Education have attended an official handover ceremony of the books in Auki on Tuesday in the presence of provincial education authorities and students.

Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Barnabas Anga said the government believed in investing in its children’s future and in the adequate reform of the education system.

He said that the availability of teaching materials was important for conducive learning for teachers and students witnessed by the substantial investment in textbooks.

He said the government was serious about education in the Solomon Islands and this was demonstrated earlier through the teachers improved conditions in the newly implemented unified pay structure.

“The government is of intent to move on from reform to the developmental stages whereby more teachers would undertake training, the revision of the education curriculum and improved sanitation and additional infrastructure for all schools,” he said.

He said to achieve these goals the Central Government alone cannot do it but needs its international development partners like the European Union where through Stabex 99 has risen to this need and our request through the procurement of textbooks worth over SBD$40 million for all Secondary Schools in Solomon Islands.

Mr Anga also appealed to communities to provide support to their schools because better schools are schools supported by their local communities.

Deputy Premier of Malaita Province Mr Edwin Miniti Suibaea thanked the Grand Coalition for Change government and the EU for having great concern for the quality of education of the children of Malaita Province,

“Quality education cannot take place without appropriately designed curriculum books.

“We know that the books will help a lot in the teaching and learning in secondary schools in this province because many of the secondary schools have been operating without adequate books.

“The provision of these books to our schools is one that is timely and is targeted at meeting a genuine need in our schools” Mr Suibaea said.

He urged schools to take care of the books because they cost a lot of money.

Source: GCU

More Kiwi soldiers leave for the Solomon Islands today for four month duty with RAMSI

A group of New Zealand soldiers will leave for the Solomon Islands today for a four-month deployment under RAMSI.

The 43-strong contingent, which includes 30 territorial force personnel, will replace New Zealand soldiers who have been serving with the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) for the past four months.

Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, Rear Admiral Jack Steer, said the contingent would perform regular patrols, assist RAMSI police in downtown Honiara, and help with external security at Rove Prison.

The contingent, which is largely drawn from the territorial force regiments based in Auckland and Tauranga, undertook five weeks intensive pre-deployment training to prepare them for any situation they may face.

The soldiers currently serving in the Solomon Islands would return to New Zealand on April 4th.

New Zealand Defence Force personnel have contributed to security and stability in the Solomon Islands since July 2003. They assist the RAMSI mission at the request of the Solomon Islands government.

“The territorial force members of the contingent are particularly suited to this kind of mission. The majority of their time in the military is spent in infantry training, but they also bring a wide variety of skills from their civilian employment, skills they can use to provide further assistance to the people of the Solomon Islands,” Commander Steer said.

Source: NZ Herald

USP Staff Association vow to "fight tooth and nail" to protect whistle blower on senior staff salary from being fired

Staff at the University of the South Pacific say they will "fight tooth and nail" to protect those who leaked information on salaries of the regional institution's management.

USP staff association president Dr Mahendra Reddy claims that a head hunt is underway following an e-mail that leaked the purported salary details of eight senior management staff.

By Pacific regional standard, the figures are seen to be 'exorbitant', prompting investigation by the Fiji Government that contributed $38m this year to the institution.

"I don't think we need to find out who leaked them. Whistle blowers should be protected. That is the new governance strategy. I am worried that the university wants to go after the whistle blowers," said Dr Reddy.

"The union will see that the whistle blowers do not get touched."

The USP has officially denied the claims made in the e-mails, particularly concerning the benefits given its management.

However, Dr Reddy maintains that the pay slips are genuine, but admits that relative to the global market the salaries may not be exorbitant.

He has called for an investigation into the financial management of the university.

"There are some major accusations made in regards to financial management. But those are tip of the iceberg. What needs to be done is a detailed audit of financial management at USP."

Source: Fijilive

Regional workshop powers up sustainable development issues in the Pacific

Delegates from around the Pacific convened this week to discuss and deliberate on issues relating to renewable energy, rainwater harvesting and waste management in the region.

The Sustainable Development Workshop, facilitated by Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI), kicked off on Monday at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in Suva, Fiji.

Workshop participants include representatives from the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, and observers including the the Indian High Commission, Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), University of the South Pacific (USP) and the Forum Secretariat.

The workshop is an initiative of the Government of India, organised in collaboration with TERI and the Forum Secretariat.

“The Government of India last year announced grant aid to Forum Island Countries (FICs) worth US$1.4 million, alongside various capacity building training schemes, including this workshop,” explains Jared Morris, the Forum Secretariat’s Import Management Adviser.

“It is also important to note that India has aligned its development assistance to the region with priorities identified by Leaders in the Pacific Plan, such as renewable energy, water and waste management.”

The commitment from the Government of India was made at the 18th Post Forum Dialogue Partners’ Meeting, held following the Forum Leaders’ Meeting in Nadi, Fiji, last October.

“While building capacity in the three focal areas of this workshop, this is also an excellent opportunity for participants to further strengthen inter-country networks and share experiences,” said Ms Patricia Sachs-Cornish, the Forum Secretariat’s Officer-in-Charge, Sustainable Development and Good Governance, when opening the workshop.

Ms Sachs-Cornish explained that at the regional level, renewable energy is supported by the Pacific Islands Energy Policy (PIEP), and water harvesting through the Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) Plan and the Harvesting the Heavens Guidelines and Participatory Manual. Waste management is covered in the Regional Waste Management Strategy.

“The challenge is translating these policies and strategies into actions and initiatives that make an impact on individuals and communities in-country.”

Over the course of the workshop, representatives of TERI will share practical examples of related initiatives, technologies and projects that have been successful in India.

“This offers participants an opportunity to consider how to transfer or adapt experiences from India to best suit our region and countries, where appropriate,” added Ms Sachs-Cornish.

The workshop aims to give participants a thorough appreciation of related sustainable development issues faced by PICs, common experiences and practical Government interventions.

The workshop also seeks to foster understanding amongst participants of tools available for data analysis and consequent development of national policies and action plans. Participants will consider the processes by which further multi-lateral and bi-lateral support can be applied for, and obtained from the Government of India and TERI.

A ‘Plan of Support’ will be developed to progress identified national and regional solutions to renewable energy, rainwater harvesting and waste management in the region. The workshop concludes on Friday 30th March.

Source: PIFS

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Government's exit strategy for RAMSI not feasible: Auditor General

Solomon Islands Auditor General, Augustine Floyd Fatai says government's intention to have the Regional Assistance Mission leave by December 2008 is not feasible.

Mr Fatai says the government was planning an exit strategy for RAMSI and has earmarked December 2008 as the latest for RAMSI personnel in Solomon Islands.

But Mr Fatai says this time frame is not practicable, because a lot of work still remains to be done with assistance from RAMSI.

Mr Fatai says the assistance provided under RAMSI must be welcomed because its personnel fill in where the country lacks expertise.

Source: SIBC

Pacific Health Officers to conclude two day meeting on avian and pandemic influenza in Noumea today

A two day meeting of more than 80 human and animal health officers from Pacific governments and international and regional organisations will be concluded today at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) headquarters in New Caledonia.

The ‘Pacific Island Pandemic Taskforce Meeting’ takes place only a few days after the meeting of Pacific Ministers of Health in Port Vila, Vanuatu recognised the importance of being prepared for a pandemic.

Avian influenza is principally a disease of poultry and this is still the current situation. However, it is possible that the H5N1 strain that was spreading around the world could become transmissible between people leading to a global influenza pandemic comparable to that of 1918.

An Epidemiologist at SPC, Dr Tom Kiedrzynski, said the 1918 influenza pandemic proved devastating to several Pacific island countries killing around 25 percent of the population in Samoa, 15 percent in Tahiti and 5 percent in Fiji and Guam.

He said a pandemic influenza was a serious threat that the Pacific must address.

Source: Islands Business

Solomon Islands to send U12 team to OFC tournament in Port Moresby next month

Solomon Islands has given the confirmation to take part in the 2007 Oceania Football Confederation Under 12 festival of football scheduled for next month in Port Moresby along with other regional teams.

Papua New Guinea Football Association president David Chung said yesterday that these teams will come from New Zealand, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and PNG.

Chung said all countries will field one team each except for host PNG who has nominated the regional champions to represent the country. The president said it was unfortunate that Fiji has pulled out from the tournament for some unknown reasons.

Chung said the overseas teams will start arriving on April 15-16 and the actual event will be on April 17-20 at Sir John Guise Stadium, Waigani. All teams, including PNG, will stay at Holiday Inn for the duration of the event.

Source: PNG National

PM Sogavare reshuffles top Solomon government officials

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare yesterday reshuffled 7 government Permanent Secretaries.

While no immediate reason was given, the government is moving to implement its policy actions.

Prime Minister Sogavare recommended the reshuffle to the public service commission early this month.

The following permanent secretaries were reshuffled:
1). Mr Tione Bugotu - Permanent Secretary, Ministry for Lands and Survey

2). Mr Charles Viva - Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Forest, Environment and Conservation

3). Mr Fred Ganate - Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Provincial Government and Rural Development

4). Ms Ruth Liloqula - Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources

5). Mrs Ethel Sigimanu - Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women, Youths and Children Affairs

6). Mr James Remobatu - Ministry of Police, National Security, Justice and Legal Affairs [responsible for Justice and Legal Affairs]

7). George Hiele - Ministry of Police, National Security, Justice and Legal Affairs [responsible for Police and National Security]

The Commission further approved the appointment of Jeffrey Kauha as Supervising Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Forestry, Environment and Conservation, until the return of Mr. Viva from Taiwan. Mr. Kauha’s temporary acting appointment is also effective immediately.

Source: GCU

FIFA grants third Goal Project for football development in Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) has greeted FIFA's recent announcement of its success in securing its third Goal Project with delight.

SIFF General Secretary Eddie Ngava says that this third project is part of the Federation's ongoing infrastructure development programme.

He says that FIFA has once again recognized the usefulness of the Goal Project's contribution to football development here in Solomon Islands, hence, the approval of the 3rd Goal Project.

The project application had covered the construction of academies and playing fields in the two provinces, namely Noro in the Western Province and Auki, in Malaita Province.

"Of course these projects would also attract local contributions for which the two respective provinces have given assurance during the initial negotiations made with them during 2006," he adds.

The FIFA Goal Bureau approved and awarded Solomon Islands its third goal project in its meeting on March 23, 2007. This project amounts to US$400,000 (SBD$3.1m)

Speaking in a statement to SIFF president Martin Alufurai, FIFA president Joseph Blatter describes the goal project as one of his priority areas.

"In light of my long-lasting commitment to the universality of football and of the necessary solidarity within the World football family, I am pleased to inform you that your member association is one of the countries selected. This will enable you to realize a third priority project of your association within the framework of football development in your country."

The FIFA president stresses that the all useful information relating to the next steps of the Goal Procedure will be sent to SIFF in the near future.

"I am convinced that you will do your utmost to achieve this project and thank you in advance for all your efforts."

Source: SIFF

Monday, March 26, 2007

University of the South Pacific workers call for investigation in the financial management of the regional institution

Employees of the University of the South Pacific have called for an investigation into the financial management of the regional institution.

One of the main issues under the spotlight is the salary level of senior staff which some have claimed were exorbitantly high. The matter was top on the agenda of the Annual General Meeting of the USP Staff Association at the Holiday Inn in Suva on Saturday. The university employees also discussed leadership at the university, university finances and governance.

Early this week USP staff received an email alleging certain financial mismanagement by senior management. The email also contained copied payslips of eight management staff, labelled by some to be exorbitant.

The USP had officially denied the allegations, however staff association president Dr Mahendra Reddy believes the managers’ wages are genuine.

“Salary slips don’t lie. These are original salary slips,” he said.

“In respect of financial management, the accusations made are just tip of the iceberg. I think there are more to it.”

Dr Reddy said there need to be a detailed audit of financial management at USP that would also take into account the salaries of senior management. Fiji Interim Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry had also called for an audit to investigate if Fiji’s contribution of $38 million to the USP was being properly used.

Deputy military commander Captain Esala Teleni has confirmed receiving documents backing allegations of mismanagement and abuse of office by the USP management. Captain Teleni said the anti-corruption unit is looking into the matter.

Source: Fiji Daily Post

Solomon Islanders attend Pacific Islands Community based Conservation Course in Suva

Two Solomon Islanders who are working with community conservation oriented organisations in Honiara and Gizo are currently attending a Pacific Islands Community-based Conservation Course (PICC Course) along with other Pacific participants at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji.

The two Solomon participants are Thomas Bebeu from the Foundation of the Peoples of the South Pacific International (FSPI) Solomons office, and Joan Pita of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) which is based in Gizo in the Western Solomon Islands.

Thomas Bebeu was a 2006 graduate of USP majoring in Biology and Chemistry whilst Joan Pita also graduated from USP with a Marine Science Bachelors degree.

The PICC Course has started in mid March and will end in the first week of April. The aim of the course is to enhance the skills and knowledge of the participants to build their confidence and expertise in supporting community-based conservation management.

TARD members hosted to a special dinner to farewell prominent To'abaita leader

Several members of the To'abaita Authority for Research and Development (TARD) student volunteer group at the University of the South Pacific in Suva have been hosted to a special dinner last Wednesday by the Konofilia family to farewell Mr Swanson Konofilia, his wife Grace, and daughter Joy Konofilia-Ramosaea and children.
L-R: Swanson Konofilia, Joyce Konofilia-Maetoloa & Joy Konofilia-Ramosaea

Mr Swanson Konofilia is a renowned church leader (now retired) of the South Seas Evangelical Church (SSEC) who hails from the Gwaiau highlands in the interior of North Malaita but was raised on a coastal village in Malu'u. He is married to Grace of Bellonese origin in the Rennel and Bellona Province.

Left: women guests serving their food; Right: the salad with other dishes on the table

Mr Konofilia and Grace recently went to New Zealand for a few weeks of church ministry before flying to Suva to spend a few days with daughters Joyce Konofilia-Maetoloa and Joy Konofilia-Ramosaea who are both active TARD members in Fiji. They will fly to Honiara tomorrow while Joy and her two children have already left in a Solomon Airlines flight yesterday.
Left: Other Solomon kids; Right: a Solomon line from Wailoku with his child

Invited guests during the special farewell dinner include TARD members with families; Avaiki student members; the president of the Solomon Islands Student Association at USP, Steven Maesiola; a Solomon staff at the Forum Secretariat, Mr Johnson Honimae with family; Solomon sugarcane era connections in Wailoku; a staff of the Student Academic Centre at USP; other Solomon families and several Indo-Fijian friends.
Members of Avaiki student Association who were also present

On Sunday last week, Mr Konofilia and Grace were also invited to a TARD meeting and refreshment to welcome new and continuing members whereby he was offered an opportunity to encourage and bless student participants.

SICHE staff plan sit-in protest today over non removal of college director

Lectures at the Solomon Islands College of Higher Education face a likely cancellation today as staff of the college say they will pursue a sit-in protest over a decision by the college council not to remove the college director, Gabriel Taloikwai.

It is understood both college staff union bodies, known as CHENLA and CHENASA are adamant about a sit in protest despite the case being referred to the Trade Dispute Panel.

Chairman of the College Council, Northwest Choiseul MP Clement Kengava last Friday discouraged staff from taking a sit-in protest as it would affect innocent students.

But speaking for academic staff members of the College, CHENLA president Duddley Hoala says they want to mount an action that has impact to show they are serious about their demand to remove the college director.

The college staff have petitioned the removal of director, Gabriel Taloikwai, accusing him of misconduct in the administration of his duties.

A full meeting of the college council earlier found such allegations as having no basis, and referred the matter to the Trade Dispute Panel.

Source: SIBC

Friday, March 23, 2007

Marist FC earns three crucial points in final match against Tahitian champs to save O'League slot

Two unanswered second half goals by Marist FC against AS Temanava yesterday afternoon from Joe Luwi and James Naka was enough to bring back pride to Solomon Islands soccer and secure the 5th spot in the O'League competition.

The duo combined well to unlock AS Temanava defence and creating chances that went begging in the first half. Going nil-all into the breather, Marist coaches must have grilled the players to put aside the first half woes to make a fresh start.

It paid dividends when Luwi broke the deadlock minutes after restart. He was on the receiving end of a perfect Naka pass to hammer home past Tahiti's keeper Rudolphe Toromona for the opening goal. It was his third in the tournament.

Naka scored one of his own to wrap up Marist campaign in the O'League competition with three points.

It was a sweet victory for all Solomon Islanders who are passionate about this round ball game. With three straight loses by Marist starting with their home match with Ba in Honiara and the two away matches in Fiji and Tahiti respectively, many soccer fans had lost all hope in their team.

However, the win has resurrected the pride and passion Solomon Islanders have for football.

Source: SIFF

Thursday, March 22, 2007

North Malaitan off to New Zealand to attend course on alternative energy generation

A New Zealand group has expressed interest in supporting Pacific island countries address their energy needs.

The group "Eco Innovation Energy" has identified the need to provide electricity in the rural areas.

A North Malaita man, David Dauta, says the group is sponsoring him to attend a three months course in New Zealand on alternative energy.

Mr Dauta says during the course he will learn about how people can generate power through alternative means.

"I am going especially to look at how power can be generated from solar, hydro and the wind. After I return following the three months course I will try and set up a program for the Northern region."

Mr Dauta who has left for Hamilton, New Zealand will return home at the end of June.

Source: SIBC

Solomons Home Affairs PS express concern in rising number of street kids

The Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs, Fred Fakari'i has expressed concern about the increasing number of street children, especially in Honiara, the capital of Solomon Islands.

Mr Fakari'i says street children are those who leave their homes to live on the streets. He says many of these street population are pushed out of their homes because they could not find love at home.

He says their population is growing very fast, that soon they will have their own children and if they are not given a future, they will pass on that lifestyle to their children.

Mr Fakari'i says sex abuse amongst children as young as 12 years is also on the increase, according to a recent report. He says some of them resort to sex in order to meet school fees and their fare on the bus to and from school.

Mr Fakari'i highlighted these problems at the opening of a training workshop this morning for parents at Gilbert Camp in east Honiara.

The Home Affairs Permanent Secretary however says government is concerned about these social issues and wants to address them with parents and communities.

"The government is serious to meet the requirements of International conventions we signed but yet to implement. But before we do that, we want you to know. We want you to contribute, share you ideas with us so we can see our way through on how to meet requirements of international conventions. This is in line with the bottom up approach which government wants to take."

Meanwhile, Save the Children's Fund Australia says negligence of children by parents and guardians has been the main concern in Solomon Islands.

Director of Save the Children Fund in Solomon Islands, Ramesh Puri said this at the opening of a workshop to educate parents about the rights of children.

Twenty parents and guardians from Gilbert Camp, a suburb of Honiara are taking part in a two-day workshop organised by Save the Children Fund of Australia.

Mr Puri says a recent survey carried out by Save the Children Fund found negligence of children by parents in the country is growing at an increasingly alarming rate especially in urban settings. He says children left on their own especially in the streets of Honiara to scavenge for survival is increasingly becoming a serious concern.

Mr Puri says the survey found that many of the children had resorted to prostitution, sexual abuse, drugs and alcohol and crimes such as break-ins and stealing.

He says Solomon Islanders have a duty to stop this dangerous trend. He adds it is not too late to start now and redirect this course to one which provides a better future for the young people.

Source: SIBC

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Solomon Islands to send health team to Cuba to interview and recruit doctors

Solomon Islands will be sending a team from its Ministry of Health to interview and select 10 Cuban doctors to take up posts in the country.

Foreign Minister Patterson Oti says the initial request to Havana was for forty doctors however only ten are immediately available for selection by the team.

“And they will be going at a time when our ambassador will be presenting his credentials as ambassador to Cuba. That is our ambassador to New York, accredited to Havana. We want the officials from the Health Ministry to be with him so they can work on the final details.”

The agreement between Solomon Islands and Cuba will also see fifty medical scholarships for Solomon Islands medical students being made available to begin in 2008.

The Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Doctor George Malefoasi says there are young Solomon Islanders ready to take up the offer.

“In fact we have about ten students who are that good and have secured funding for medicine. And the ten students were asked to do an attachment - most likely this intake will be the first to join the bunch.”

Dr Malefoasi says the offer of medical training will help alleviate the doctor shortage long experienced by his country.

Source: RNZI

USP staff salaries to be scrutinised by the Fiji interim government

The salaries of senior staff at the University of the South Pacific has come under the spotlight after leaked documents showed that one executive allegedly received FJD$470,000 (SBD$1,880,000) tax free.

The confidential documents which purport to be payslips of eight senior staff were sent to emails of staff at the regional institution.

The documents showed that the salary package of seven staff members ranged from FJD$234,537.55 (SBD$938,148) to FJD$339,937.46 (SBD$1,359,748). Each of them allegedly received FJD$4000/month (~SBD$16,000) in housing allowance.

Fiji Television reports that an official response from the university labelled the information untrue.

Fiji's Interim Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry appeared shocked by the revelation. He said that the Fiji Government will have to re-look at its funding of the institution by over FJD$3million (SBD$12million) this year.

He said the Government will conduct an operations efficiency audit.

Meanwhile, deputy army commander Esala Teleni, who heads Fiji's anti-corruption unit, says they are investigating a complaint of abuse of office and mismanagement by an executive of USP.

Source: Fijilive

Native Islander sworn in as Acting Police Commissioner of Solomon Islands after the post being held by expats

by George Herming

A native Solomon Islander yesterday rose to the rank of the Acting Commissioner of the Solomon Islands Police Force (SIPF) after the post was held by two expatriates following the social unrest.

Hailed from Temotu province, senior police officer, Walter Kola took his oaths before the Governor General Sir Nathaniel Waena at the Government House in the presence of Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, Minister of Police and National Security Isaac Inoke and senior police officers.

Acting Commissioner Kola expressed confidence after his appointment saying it is an honour to have a local heading the police force.

“It is my commitment that I will do my best in my duties according to the constitution and I’m confident that I have the command of the Solomon Islands Police Force,” he said.

Mr Kola said one of his immediate priorities is to continue on with the process of rebuilding the force in order to have the full confidence of the community. He said the process of rebuilding is necessary in order to prepare Solomon Islanders to take control of the police force with confidence.

“It is my intention to continue the program of my predecessors in rebuilding the Solomon Islands Police Force,” he said. “There is still much to be done”.

“We must not lose sight of the strategic plans in place to ensure the force have the full confidence of the community and one day be managed without assistance of our good friends with the participating police force,” he said.

He said working together to build the capacity and professionalism of the police force will see this vision realized sooner.

Mr Kola said he was honoured to be appointed as Acting Police Commissioner and was proud of his colleague who supported him through out their duties to the country.

Source: GCU

Ba FC of Fiji through to OFC's O'League final after beating AS Temanava 1-0

Ba have won through to the 2007 OFC O-League Final last night after recording a 1-0 win over Tahitian champions AS Temanava at Churchill Park, Lautoka on the western end of Fiji's main island Viti Levu.

Tuimasi Manoca's 72nd minute winner was enough to give Ba their greatest moment in Oceania Football club competition and effectively end AS Temanava's interest in the O-League. AS Temanava's second place finish gaurentees Tahiti will retain a spot in next season's O-League draw regardless of the outcome of their remaining match against Marist FC of Solomon Islands.

Ba's victory secured top spot in O-League Group B with ten points and left AS Temanava stranded on four points with only one game remaining against Marist FC in Honiara on Thursday.

The victory comes 24 hours after the fixture was abandoned just ten minutes into proceedings at a waterlogged Govind Park, Ba, on Monday evening and fires the Fijian champions one step closer to a possible place at the FIFA Club World Cup - Japan 2007.

Ba's third victory in four O-League matches means that AS Temanava's final Group B match against Marist FC will be of more consequence to the Solomon Islanders who have to secure points to place pressure on New Caledonian champions AS Mont Dore in the race to avoid 'relegation' to the O-League Preliminary Tournament in the Cook Islands in May.

Source: OFC

Malaita resource owners warned not to sell possible "gem stones" to unlicensed buyers

Resource owners of East Malaita in the Solomon Islands have been reminded to stop selling what they say are "gem stones" to those without licences from the Malaita Provincial Government.

Senior Administration Officer at Atori in East Malaita, Gregory Angisia, issued the reminder because this practice had been going on for sometimes in the province.

Mr Angisia says buyers who don't have licence under the Malaita Business Licence Ordinance Act to buy gem stones would be committing a crime under the Ordinance.

He says the ordinance is to safeguard resources of landowners and that proper procedures are followed in such dealings.

"I want to assure land resource owners of East Malaita, especially East Kwara'ae and East Fataleka that from now selling of gem stones to any local buyer who does not have a licence from the provincial authority, it's an offence under law for people to continues such practices. I also like to appeal to local buyers too, that if this is done illegally, then this practice must stop."

Meanwhile, Mr Angisia says they making arrangements with an overseas group to go to East Malaita to test and verify if those stones are gems.

Source: SIBC

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Dolphin calling project in North Malaita to be revived soon by PITIC in Australia

by Robert L. Iroga in Sydney

The Pacific Islands Trade and Investment Commission (PITIC) in Australia is optimistic to revive a dolphin calling project in Malaita, which was aborted because of the riots last year.

The PITIC Office Manager Coordinator-Tourism and Information Service Unit, Ruth Choulai, said the project is very unique and she would like to see it started soon.

The northern region of Malaita is being earmarked for the project which PITIC believes will generate huge income to the people there with the injection of much needed foreign currency into the economy.

The plan was put on hold because of the recent problems in the country and PITIC is waiting patiently for the government’s response.

Ms Choulai said the project was initiated after Solomon Islanders exported life dolphins to Mexico. The export had attracted world wide condemnation especially from animal rights movements.

Ms Choulai said instead of sending the dolphins abroad Solomon Islanders could attract tourists to actually see dolphins-which are called then released back into the wild.

“I believe that Westerners would like to see animals in the wild and be able to see them being called is awesome,” she said.

In doing that, Ms Choulai said they will be able to add value to the dollar, as money will get out to the community, stops rural to urban migration and helps to keep the practice alive.

The northern and southern parts of Malaita are traditionally known for dolphin hunting which is part of their traditional and religious belief.

Source: Solomon Star

Solomons government launches rural development awareness programme

The Solomon Islands government has launched a radio awareness programme on it "Bottom-up Approach" or rural development policy.

The 15 minutes radio programme is broadcasted twice a week over the national radio, the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation (SIBC).

Chief of Staff of the Office of the Prime Minister, Dr Judson Leafasia in the first programme on Saturday last weekend explains some of the things that the programme will be covering.

"These include legal instruments that are in place, such as the national Constitution, rules and regulations that regulates how the government operations. Others are the infrastructures and logistics involved in delivering services. We must understand that government is not an end in itself, government is a means to an end. The end is what we like the people of Solomon Island to improve their livelihood."

Dr Leafasia says the awareness program on the Government "Bottom-up Approach" policy will be aired on Saturday and Monday evenings over the next three months.

Source: SIBC

New Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands prioritises resolving Solomon Airlines service to Brisbane

Australia's High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, Peter Hooton who was received yesterday in Honiara by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, says he will make it a priority to look into the issue of Solomon Airlines services between Honiara and Brisbane via Santo in Vanuatu.

Australia is said to have refused to grant Solomon Airlines clearance to fly in and out of Brisbane via Santo.

The decision has been attributed to the continuing strained diplomatic relations between Australia and Solomon Islands.

It is believed to have the potential of crippling Solomon Airlines, which has been dependent on its international sector.

But after presenting his letter of introduction to Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, High Commissioner Hooton said he would look into the matter.

"I'm very conscious of the importance which Solomon Islands and Solomon Airlines attribute to that particular route, and I will certainly make it a priority to look into that issue and see what might be done."

Source: SIBC

Monday, March 19, 2007

TARD holds first 2007 meeting to welcome new members

The To'abaita Authority for Research and Development (TARD) student volunteer group has successfully convened its first meeting for 2007 at the University of the South Pacific's Laucala Campus yesterday afternoon.

The primary objective of the meeting was to celebrate several milestones and contributions that TARD has managed to achieve and implement in the rural communities in North Malaita, Solomon Islands since its establishment in late 2005. In addition, the gathering was also used to welcome new and returning TARD students to different tertiary institutions in Fiji.
TARD members discussing a point during the meeting (L-R): Enly Saeni, Wilton Laufiu & Peter Fairamoa

The meeting commenced after 4pm (FJ time) and closed around 7.30pm at the USP Student Association Conference room with an overall attendance of more than fifty members including families, staff, and visitors. The meeting was closed with a relatively heavy refreshment prepared by TARD executive and other families in Suva.
Joyce Konofilia-Maetoloa and Mercy Soemomole-Samani preparing food for the refreshment

Agendas that were discussed during the meeting include reporting of implemented community projects from November 2006 to January 2007; updates of new upcoming projects; and other important matters.

A summary of the major initiatives already implemented by TARD inlcude:
1). Participation in a 2-day North Malaita Leaders Consultative Workshop at Malu'u from Nov 27-28 2006 in partnership with Hon Enele Kwanairara.

2). Coordination of the successful distribution of forty boxes of medical supplies to four community health centres in North Malaita including Fo'ondo, Gwaiau, Bita'ama and Malu'u. The supplies were kindly donated by the Medical Aid Abroad in New Zealand.

3). Coordination of the first ever free-of-charge North Malaita Christmas Games from Dec 20-23 2006 at Malu'u with a record participation of 59 soccer and 18 netball teams. This initiative was funded by the Australian High Commission office in Honiara.

4). Financial support of SBD$350 and active participation in the first ever Malu'u Health Show from Jan 10-12 2007 attracting widespread support and interest from all over the North Malaita region.

5). Several other minor community donations and awareness programs.
Other TARD members at the meeting (L-R): Trevor Maeda, John Buata, George Ganiau, Robert Iromalefo & another new TARD member

The meeting was also attended by a prominent To'abaita leader, Mr Swanson Konofilia and his wife, who are visiting family members in Suva from New Zealand before travelling to the Solomons this coming weekend.

Two new SI Court of Appeal Judges sworn in by Sir Nathaniel Waena today

The Solomon Islands Court of Appeal has two more judges. Justice Peter Salmon from New Zealand and Justice Michael Adams from New South Wales, Australia, took their oaths before the Governor-General, Sir Nathaniel Waena today at the Government House.

In a brief statement at the end of the swearing in ceremony, Sir Nathaniel Waena said he was pleased that the Solomon Islands Court of Appeal could have two more judges.

He appealed to the two judges to discharge their duties fairly while serving in the Solomon Islands Court of Appeal.

Chief Justice, Sir Albert Palmer, Solomon Islands High Courts Judges and other legal officers were present during the ceremony.

Source: GCU

Solomon's place in the O'League at stake after Marist was tamed by Tahitian champs

Solomon Islands place in the O'league Club competition maybe at stake following Marist FC's downfall to Tahitian champions AS Temanava at the weekend.

Joe Luwi cancelled out AS Temanava's opening goal in the 28th minute of play but a second half goal from Maheanu Arapani in the 58th minute separated the two teams. AS Temanava beat Marist 2-1.

Speaking on the result, SIFF General Secretary Eddie Ngava says Marist needs to pick up a point in its final fixture match on Thursday at Lawson to save Solomon Islands' place in the O'League competition.

New Caledonia's Mont Dore and Marist are at the bottom of their respective pools but the Solomon Islands champion club is in a better position to secure the fifth spot.

Ngava says Tahiti has a semi professional league which saw football clubs like AS Temanava very competitive. However, he took some solace that despite of the loss, Marist was able to score against AS Temanava in that match.

Meanwhile, soccer fans and supporters in Honiara are being urged to come out in numbers this Thursday to cheer Marist on. The match expects to showcase different styles of football as Tahiti with strong French influence adopts their European style of football.

Source: SIFF

Australian High Commissioner designate to be received by Sogavare today

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare will today receive the Australian High Commissioner designate to Solomon islands, Peter Hooton.

Mr Hooton will formally present his credentials to the Prime Minister at the office of the Prime Minister today afternoon.

Since arriving in the country in early January, government had deferred an appointment for Mr Hooton to present his credentials because of the ongoing rift in diplomatic relations between Canberra and Honiara.

Prime Minister Sogavare stated earlier that he was prepared to facilitate the ceremony for Mr Hooton to present his credentials.

Mr Sogavare says he had nothing personal against Mr Hooton as an individual, and looks on Australia as a close ally and friend of Solomon Islands as had been for the last 100 years or more.

He says differences in opinions held by political leaders of the two sovereign nations are different matters.

Source: SIBC

President of To'abaita Council of Chiefs critical of compo demand

Chiefs of To'abaita in North Malaita have been reminded not to demand compensation without establishing the facts behind the demand.

President of the six Houses of Chiefs in To'abaita, David Dauta, makes the reminder in relation to a demand by some chiefs from North Malaita Constituency for SBD$100,000 compensation over alleged death threats and swearing against the member of Parliament for North Malaita Constituency.

The MP for North Malaita was among four Malaita MPs in the Opposition that were threatened and sworn at for supporting the recent motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister.

Mr Dauta says any chief from To'abaita that wants to demand compensation must seek the approval of his House of Chiefs which will decide on whether a compensation is warranted.

"I know that swearing is a bad thing that warrants compensation, but we must look at factors that relate to swearing. Who did the swearing, for what reasons, so that we can demand compensation and also look at the value, so that we don't ask something like 100-thousand dollars. I think it is far beyond compensation."

Source: SIBC

Friday, March 16, 2007

USP farewells out-going Vice Chancellor Professor Tarr today

Outgoing Vice-Chancellor Professor Anthony Tarr was today farewelled by the University of the South Pacific's Laucala Campus community. Professor Tarr was accompanied by his wife Julie-Ann and two sons.

In a thank you speech for the Professor Tarr, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Dr Esther Williams pointed out that although the Vice-Chancellor was with USP for two years; his contribution to the development of the University was tremendous.

“When he arrived in January 2005, he was clear of the vision he wanted to take the University - USP to be a centre of excellence in higher education, not only in the region but internationally. He was a man with a mission.’’

Dr Williams added that he always had the welfare of staff and students at heart and had in his time at USP, lifted individual capacities and morale.

In response Professor Tarr said that his time at the University will always be cherished.

“Not many people appreciate that USP, in boxing terms’ punches well above its weight. When you consider its budget and student load compared to other institutions in Australia and New Zealand, it does a remarkable job.

“Occasionally this is recognised and the recent UGC report was welcomed by staff as recognition of its significant achievements and performance.’’

On the students, Professor Tarr pointed out that the USP Open Day is one of the greatest experiences anyone can have.

“The remarkable talent, energy and diversity of our students are a great strength for the university and something to celebrate. Our students are definitely the friendliest and most engaging you will find anywhere in the world.’’

The farewell was attended by USP staff and students.

Source: USP

Solomon Islands withdraw from oceania U17 soccer championship due to airfare hike to Tahiti

The Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) has withdrawn from the OFC U17 Championship - Tahiti 2007 today. The decision to withdraw was announced at lunchtime today despite SIFF securing a sponsorship deal with Solomon Telekom worth SBD$1.4 million.

SIFF General Secretary Eddie Ngava said the decision to withdraw was a heartbreaking one but his federation was left with no choice following a recent hike in the price of airfares between Solomon Islands and Tahiti.

"This decision was not taken lightly and I realise many people will be wondering why we have had to withdraw around the same time we have announced the Solomon Telekom deal.

When we planned our budget for this year we submitted it to the Solomon Islands Government and Solomon Telekom taking into account the price of airfare at that particular time.

Solomon Telekom have committed to assisting our senior men's team at the South Pacific Games/World Cup qualifiers and to supporting our two domestic competitions.

The cost of attending the OFC U17 Championship - Tahiti 2007 falls outside the terms of the Solomon Telekom agreement," Ngava said.

Solomon Islands U17 team will be sorely missed at the tournament with players such as Tony Otini, Lenson Bisili and Victor Fenehia all missing out on the chance to showcase their talents.

"I will be holding a meeting with the squad this afternoon to break the bad news. They are currently in training camp and the sad aspect is they are a very strong group of players. Fortunately Tony Otini and Lenson Bisili have had experience at the OFC U20 Championship - New Zealand 2007...for the others, sadly, they will have to wait for their chance," Ngava said.

The Solomon Island budget for travel to Tahiti was set at SBD$300,000 at the start of the financial year but according to Ngava had now escalated to just over SBD$642,000, a figure SIFF simply could not afford.

Source: OFC

UPNG Open College boss visits SICHE to explore the possibility of offering UPNG courses in Honiara

The Executive Director of the Open College of the University of Papua New Guinea, Abdul Mannan paid a visit to the Solomon Islands College of Higher Education this week, where he held discussions with the College Director.

Mr Manna's visit was to explore the feasibility of SICHE becoming the Centre through which UPNG Courses can be made available to Solomon Islanders.

The discussions confirmed that Solomon Islands Governments policies encouraged the growth and development of an in-country University.

A statement says the vision of the two institutions coming together to make it possible for Solomon Islanders to do university courses from UPNG at SICHE is consistent with Government's intentions.

It is hoped that SICHE's Distance Education Centre will be the main focus as it has the physical infrastructure and staff capacity already available.

A feasibility study is being prepared following the visit. The statement said if it is possible then the inaugural courses would be available as from the second semester of this year.

Source: SIBC

Regional Aviation Safety body convenes in Vanuatu for its AGM today

The Pacific Aviation Safety Office (PASO) Council convenes today for its annual general meeting (AGM) at the PASO headquarters in Port Vila, Vanuatu.

The PASO Council is made up of government representatives from member countries including Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.

The Association of the South Pacific Airlines (ASPA), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat are also represented on the Council.

PASO is responsible for regional aviation safety oversight for its members, including that of airport and airline operational safety and security standards.

“The work undertaken by PASO is an excellent example of the region steering its own way forward in a collaborative, member-driven way,” says Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General, Greg Urwin.

Mr Urwin notes that while there is much work to be done to develop regional aviation capacity in the area of safety oversight, he is confident that a combined effort and thoughtful approach will pave the way to tangible benefits.

He adds that the potentially far-reaching benefits of aviation development are vital for the successful implementation of the Pacific Plan, the region’s development strategy to enhance and stimulate economic growth, sustainable development, good governance and security.

“The PASO Council is made up of some of the most senior aviation officials in the region, and I am confident that they will guide PASO into a positive future,” says Mr Urwin. “I wish the Chair and all Council Members a productive and successful meeting.”

The PASO AGM will discuss, among other issues, technical assistance projects to members, budget and financial reports. The meeting was preceded by a PASO Technical Committee meeting yesterday morning, also held at the PASO headquarters in Port Vila.

The Forum Secretariat provides on-going administrative, technical and advisory support to PASO, a non-profit international organisation, set up under the Pacific Islands Civil Aviation Safety and Security Treaty (PICASST).

Source: PIFS

Slash in budget allocation plus member country arrears force USP to rethink its budget

The University of the South Pacific has embarked on measures to contain its finances following the military takeover and the cut in its budget allocation, coupled with arrears from member countries.

Measures taken range from a delay in appointment of academic staff, a freeze on non-academic staff, reduction in corporate credit card limits and delay in capital and repair and maintenance works, a paper from director finance Kevin Davis, dated March 7, said.

This follows concerns that the USP is owed about $4.5million from member countries since December last year. Fiji owes 58 per cent of the arrears, Mr Davis said.

In a move to reorganise its resources and focus on key priority areas, Mr Davis said it could be achieved through across the board budget cuts, and closure of courses and programs.

Source: Fiji Times

Solomons Governor General challenges youth to make a difference in advancing human affairs and to promote peace

Solomon Islands Governor General Sir Nathaniel Waena has said the Prime Minister's presence at yesterday's Commonwealth day celebration signifies the respect that government attaches to the day and its respect to Commonwealth youths.

Sir Nathaniel said Prime Minister Sogavare's presence also represents the importance that government attaches to the Commonwealth Countries of the South Pacific whose interests are represented by the Commonwealth Youth Program - Pacific Centre.

Speaking on the theme of the Commonwealth Day, Sir Nathaniel question if countries in the pacific are prepared to accept respecting each others differences in human society.

He said promoting understanding alone would be the most appropriate tool to effectively advance harmony and foster human co-existence.

Sir Nathaniel urged the Commonwealth Youth Program - Pacific Centre in Honiara to ensure that Commonwealth Youths of the region are appropriately directed and developed.

He challenged young people how they can make a difference in advancing human affairs and to promote peace and national harmony.

"The youths of the Commonwealth countries in the South Pacific region must be appropriately directed and developed. We need to appreciate the need to readily accept, that there are given human differences, which we cannot easily change, and thus we have to respect them for what they are."

Source: SIBC

Distance Learning Centres to bring huge benefit to rural areas in Solomon Islands

By George Siapu

Minister of Education, Dr. Derek Sikua on Wednesday received $2.2 million worth of solar power and IT equipment for the nine Distance Learning Centres from the European Union’s Charge de Affaires, Henry Prankerd at a hand over ceremony in the Education Office in Honiara.

In accepting the equipment, Dr. Sikua said that although the main intended application in these Distance Learning Centres would be for education, the multipurpose nature of the centres would expand this possibility to the health sector, agriculture, fisheries, forestry and other areas.

“It has the potential to unlock the economic potential in the rural areas that can only be talked about now,” he added.

Dr. Sikua said that the establishment of Distance Learning Centres in the provinces would certainly revolutionize the delivery of education to remote parts of the country where currently this capability does not exist.

The Education Minister explained that these centres are equipped with broadband Internet using VSAT technology. “VSAT refers to small satellite ground stations connecting remote sites to a wide area network, adding that: “These VSAT units have facilities for Internet, video, audio, and even land line phones and faxes where permissible,”

“So they bring to any rural school and surrounding community the full spectrum of tools for communication and access to distance learning,” Dr. Sikua said.

He said the important responsibility now is how to better utilize these equipment at the centres for the delivery of education services and training for the people in the rural areas.

The hand over of the equipment now paves the way for the other remaining eight centres to be operational soon thus joining the first centre at St. Stephen School in Makira that has been operational and online since September 2006.

The $2.2 million assistance by the European Union had catered for the acquisition of 88 solar panels(10 kilo-watts), 96 deep-cycle gel solar batteries, 8 quality sine-wave inverters, 8 sets digital solar controllers with peripherals, 8 battery chargers, 8 sets solar panel mounting frames and other miscellaneous items including cables, fuses and lights.

The other major component of equipment supplied includes 65 Toshiba A8 laptops, 65 advanced port replicators, 65 external keyboards and optical mice, 9 dot matrix printers, 18 laser printers and 9 scanners.

The Distance Learning Centre Project is implemented and managed by the Rural Development Volunteers Association’s People First Network and the Ministry of Education respectively.

The Distance Learning Centre Project will now be deploying the equipment to rural centres.

“I am told that in the following few weeks, centres at Guguha in Isabel, Vuranimala in Central Province, Bekabeka in Western Province, Arnon Atomea in North Malaita and Avuavu on the Guadalcanal Weathercoast will be made fully operational,” Dr. Sikua said.

Meanwhile, the other three remaining sites at Henua in Rennell, Kati in Temotu and Sasamunga in Choiseul would be completed a little later.

Source: GCU

Thursday, March 15, 2007

University of the South Pacific introduces Internet Quota system

The University of the South Pacific has introduced an Internet Quota System to curb the widespread abuse of internet privileges by students, Communications manager Bernadette Hussain said yesterday.

Previously, students had free unlimited internet access due to a special internet package from the Australian Academic Research Network (AARNet) facilitated by a high bandwidth link through FINTEL and TFL.

The University will continue to provide free internet access but this time it will be controlled, Ms Hussain said in response to concerns over limited access to the use of internet services.

''In controlling use, students will be given a quota which is based on average student usage for academic requirements gained from historical internet usage data with different quota for Postgraduates (130Mb) and Undergraduates (80Mb) per month,'' Ms Hussain said.

Another USP official said this measure has been put in place after the discovery last year that a ''couple of million dollars'' were wasted for the use of unlimited use of internet services.

''Last year, we didnt monitor the use of internet. Its free and the fastest in this part of the world. Last years free and unkept access resulted in a lot of abuse where we found students had logged onto porn sites, downloaded videos and music. It was illegal and very expensive,'' the official said.

Students are reported to have supported the decision to put a cap on the use of internet services, the official said.

Source: Fiji Times

PM Sogavare criticises Australian travel advisory to Solomon Islands

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare describes Australia's travel advisory warning against travels to Solomon Islands as a politically motivated campaign to discredit the government.

Mr Sogavare says the wording of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade travel advisory statement had grossly misrepresented and exaggerated the situation in Honiara. He describes the statement as having used language more appropriate to war torn countries like Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Prime Minister's office says the statement had advised Australian nationals to stay clear of protests and large gatherings warning they could turn violent and directed at Australian interests.

The Prime Minister was quoted by his office as saying such campaign was designed to paint a picture of unrest in the country even to the extend of violence breaking out as result of dissatisfaction in the democratically elected government.

Mr Sogavare says the statement linking violence to the recent proposed motion of no confidence against government as false and misleading.

Meanwhile, the Australian High Commission in Honiara yesterday said media story about the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's Travel Advisory for Solomon Islands appears to suggest the change of some significance.

An official from the High Commission says this is not the case. The official says the Department's Travel Advisories are re-issued routinely, whenever, often in this case, quite small changes are made to the text.

The official says the level of the advisory has not changed. The official adds Travel Advisories are not used to convey political messages, nor are they influenced by political considerations.

Source: SIBC

Acting Special Coordinator says RAMSI is working in partnership with Solomon Islanders towards peace and prosperity

by Anne McCaig

RAMSI Acting Special Coordinator Paul Ash has welcomed Solomon Islanders efforts to make their country a better place to live, grow and prosper.

Speaking on Tuesday to the Honiara Rotary Club, Mr Ash said that most people agree the Solomon Islands is a better place to live now than it was four years ago, although he cautioned that peace is fragile as demonstrated by the level of concern expressed during the recent re-arming debate.

“Consider how far Solomon Islands has come since July 2003. Children can safely go to school, women can go to market to buy and sell goods without fear, health clinics are open for business, the streets are safe, the economy works, people are investing in the future, justice is being done and being seen to be done,” Mr Ash said.

The senior New Zealand diplomat, whose two year post as RAMSI’s Deputy Special Coordinator ends in two weeks time, said it had been a special privilege to be able to serve Solomon Islanders. He said the experience had included inspirational moments. He noted in particular a soccer tournament at Kolina on the Weathercoast and a public meeting at Malu’u in North Malaita, which he said showed both how fragile peace can be and the power of reconciliation.

“Kolina soccer tournament on Easter Monday 2005 brought together teams from 24 villages that had been in conflict during the tensions. It was two years after RAMSI arrived but one team was still too afraid to approach the field until it was their turn to play.

“They hid in the forest, away from the soccer field. In the end, the weather intervened when a thunderstorm brought people together to shelter in a tent.

“In May the same year I accompanied the Pacific Islands Forum Eminent Persons Group to Malu’u. Six-hundred people were there to greet them, many holding banners urging RAMSI to stay in Solomon Islands; they were concerned that RAMSI was going to be sent home.”

“These kinds of experiences have given me and others the motivation and inspiration to keep working with Solomon Islanders to help create a peaceful and prosperous nation.”

The New Zealand diplomat said that attacks on RAMSI are particularly disappointing and perplexing given how much Solomon Islanders have achieved for their country with RAMSI’s support.

“We are not sure why these attacks are being made and how they contribute to a better relationship between Solomon Islands Government and RAMSI. They are not supported by the majority of Solomon Islanders as far as I can tell,” Mr Ash said.

“RAMSI has always said that we are willing to talk through any issues people may have with our work and seek constructive ways to move forward”.

“If warring communities on the Weathercoast can take shelter together, if villagers who once fought can join hands in reconciliation, and if people in Malu’u can join together to welcome our assistance, so can we all continue our efforts, and our partnerships to make Solomon Islands a better place for Solomon Islanders to live, grow and prosper”, Mr Ash said.

Source: RAMSI

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Sogavare agrees to receive credentials from Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands

By Deli Oso/PM Press Secretary

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare will invite Australian High Commissioner Peter Hooton to present his letters of credentials at his earliest convenience, despite the Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer’s refusal to apologise for his unprecedented open letter and television broadcasts to the people of Solomon Islands last month.

“Obviously the Australian Foreign Minister is not man enough to apologise for his deplorable and disrespectful action, which I personally find very disappointing. Especially when some of his senior former diplomats have gone public in their condemnation of his action, which I believe is tantamount to sedition.

“If Mr Downer still believes he was right in conducting that campaign against my democratically elected government, I must question whether he is a proper person to hold that high position in the Australian government.

“However, I am prepared to move on in the interests of repairing the relationship between our two countries, which I still believe can be achieved provided there is an atmosphere of goodwill and understanding of our sovereign rights – and how those rights should apply to the Australian-led RAMSI exercise.

“To that end, I will invite the Australian High Commissioner to present his credentials to me at his earliest convenience,” Mr Sogavare said.

The Prime Minister said, however, that would leave Mr Hooton in no doubt about his expected role as Australia’s chief diplomatic representative during his term of duty in Solomon Islands.

“I intend to convey my uncompromising view to Mr Hooton that neither I, nor my government, will tolerate any form of interference or unreasonable demands which violate or impinge on the policies or workings of the Solomon Islands government, for whatever reason.

“If Mr Hooton intends echoing the words and actions of his Foreign Minister of late, we obviously have a problem.

“We have been through this exercise before with Mr Hooton’s predecessor and while we don’t want to see a repeat of that situation, I reinforce my message to the present incumbent of zero tolerance against any undue interference or peddling of unwarranted Australian influence on the people of Solomon Island,” Mr Sogavare said.

Source: GCU

Australian DFAT reactivates its warning against travel to Solomon Islands

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has reviewed and reissued its travel advice to the Solomon Islands effective on Monday this week.

The travel warning from Canberra suggests that Australians could become victims of violence in the Solomon Islands.

In its latest travel advisory, the Department of Foreign Affairs advises Australians to reconsider their need to travel to the Solomons at this time because of the uncertain security situation and ongoing political tensions.

The advisory adds that if Australians do decide to travel to the Solomon Islands, they should exercise extreme caution. Australians in the Solomon Islands, particularly in Honiara, should maintain a high level of personal security awareness and closely monitor the media and other local information sources for information about possible new safety or security risks.

In addition, staff of the Australian High Commission and the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) have also been advised to take additional practical security measures, including exercising a high degree of personal security in their residences and to avoid walking, running or cycling after dark or in the early hours of the morning in Honiara.

Canberra's travel advice also reiterated the presence of certain criminal elements within the community, some of whom have access to firearms. Information that reached Canberra suggests that some of these criminals may be encouraging criminal activity and acts of violence targeting RAMSI and the expatriate civilian community for political purposes. There have also been threats of violence in recent months directed at the Australian High Commission coupled with a significant rise in criminal activity in recent months in and around East Honiara, particularly the BurnsCreek area and the nearby Ranadi industrial centre.

Source: DFAT

Malu'u VIASAT commissioned by Solomon Telekom enabling phone contact to the outside world

The push to increase rural connectivity and communication received a major boost when Solomon Telekom installed and commissioned a VIASAT Satellite Communication System at Malu'u Station in North Malaita on the 26th of February 2007.

Prefabricated equipment being unloaded at Malu'u, North Malaita, Malaita Province [pic by Solomon Telekom]

Initial groundwork for the project began in mid 2006 and the commissioning of this service coincided with other major provincial projects including the soft launch of a new GSM system and wireless broadband internet access for Gizo in the Western Province.

Amazing skill and precision was required for a task of this size and magnitude [pic by Solomon Telekom]

Martyn Robinson, Solomon Telekom CEO, in his 2006 New Year message identified the Malu'u VIASAT project as one of the three projects Solomon Telekom would deploy in the company's ambitious plans to bring communications infrastructure to rural areas in 2006. With Yandina and Malu'u now in operation, the company is slowly but surely making significant progress in its plans.

With this service in operation, access to telephone services in Malu'u and its surrounding communities will provide residents with an opportunity to connect to the rest of the world. This will hopefully be the needed impetus to development. In many ways, initiatives such as this provide the means through which the government can deliver its much anticipated 'bottom up' development strategy.

The completed and commissioned VIASAT station at Malu'u, North Malaita, Malaita Province [pic by Solomon Telekom]

Wilson Leguvaka, Senior Engineer Projects, remarked that, "this was a historical achievement. The people of Malu'u and its surrounding areas are already in awe of this latest development". "They have expressed deep appreciation because this is a service they had been looking forward to for such a long time."

The Malu'u VIASAT Satellite Communication System has cost Solomon Telekom SBD$1.5 million and is part of Solomon Telekom's nationwide rural telecommunications rollout initiative. This service will be officially launched at a later date.

With its new slogan "Our Telekom", the company is certainly making a case to justify that claim. Two public phones were installed providing telephone services to the Malu'u & surrounding communities. The telephone numbers are 41302 & 41303.

Source: Solomon Telekom

RAMSI clarifies the purpose and intention of its community outreach programme to provinces

The Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands RAMSI confirms that the office of the Special Coordinator had received a letter from Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare on its Community Outreach Program.

The Spokesperson however says RAMSI would be pleased to have government take part in its provincial visits, as had occurred in past visits.

The person says it is not new that RAMSI is making these visits, which in the past had included Solomon Islands government officials.

The RAMSI spokesperson says the mission has been visiting provinces since its arrival.

The person says when the Pacific Islands Forum endorsed the mission in 2003, RAMSI was given the task to ensure it conducts consultations with Solomon Islanders, most of whom live in the provinces.

The person says the Community Outreach Program is designed to raise awareness about the work of RAMSI, and it gives the mission an opportunity to listen to the concerns of the people.

Source: SIBC

North Malaita Anthropologist comments on using custom as excuse for compo demand

A North Malaita leader who is the Director of the Solomon Islands National Museum expresses concern over the way people are using custom as an excuse to demand compensation.

Lawrence Foanaota of Manakwai Village in North Malaita was referring to the recent incident in which some North Malaita chiefs demand the government to pay compensation for alleged threats and swearing made on their member of Parliament.

Mr Foanaota says whilst it's true that compensation should be paid to damages and embarrassment caused, it must be looked at in today's context.

He says when things happen, parties concerned should come together and discuss how they will deal with the situation.

Mr Foanaota says such things as demanding compensation without establishing the fact of what happenned is not right both in custom and law.

"I am thinking of holding public talks, organising different groups of people to come together and discuss these areas, because it's that isolation, that leads to one group dominating over the other. We are in a multi-cultural situation, we have different languages, different cultures and different ways of doing things."

Source: SIBC

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Sogavare directs RAMSI to stop community outreach programme to provinces

Solomon Islands Prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare, has stopped an outreach programme being run by the regional assistance mission, RAMSI.

RAMSI started its programme last week by speaking with communities in Malaita about its work.

But Mr Sogavare has written to RAMSI raising concerns about the manner in which the visits are being conducted. He says as genuine as RAMSI’s intentions may be, conducting an independent public relations campaign implies that the mission is not answerable to the government.

Mr Sogavare says the government will not accept interference that undermines its sovereign authority.

He has directed RAMSI to stop the visits until there have been discussions with the government and a more cooperative effort is developed.

Source: SIBC

Report finds HIV/AIDS a major threat for Melanesian states neighbouring PNG, particularly Solomon Islands

A new report on HIV/AIDS titled "HIV/AIDS: The Looming Asia Pacific Pandemic" says the Melanesian countries neighbouring Papua New Guinea should be extremely concerned about the spread of the virus among their populations.

The report from Australia's Lowy Institute for International Policy, says PNG could lose a generation due to HIV/AIDS. Author Bill Bowtell, who is the Director of the HIV/AIDS Project says more needs to be done to address the sexual behaviour of young people in PNG and its neighbouring states Melanesian states.

The Lowy Institute for International Policy is an independent international policy think tank based in Sydney, Australia. Its mandate ranges across all the dimensions of international policy debate in Australia - economic, political and strategic - and is not limited to a particular geographic region.

Mr Bowtell adds half of Solomon Islands' population is under 15 years of age.

"You could envisage how quickly it could spread in that country which is undergoing a lot of stress and tension, a lot of dislocation internally. If the virus gets in there it might become very problematic very quickly. All of these countries must take it very seriously, particularly too on the Papua side and Indonesia."

Mr Bowtell proposes that strategies that have failed to cap and reduce the growth in the global and regional HIV caseload should be abandoned. He also suggests that Australia should join with like minded countries to reform international HIV/AIDS strategies and redirect funding priorities to support practical prevention and harm reduction policies, especially in low HIV prevalence countries.

The full report can be downloaded here Click to download the full report

National Training Unit grants amnesty to another 33 students needing extension at USP

The Solomon Islands National Training Unit (NTU) under the Ministry of Education and Human Resources has made a final decision on the list of University of the South Pacific students seeking extension semesters and re-appealing against their scholarship termination late yesterday evening at 7pm Solomon time.

The final decision has given the all clear for about 33 students to fly over to Fiji today. Two flights will be coming from Honiara to Nadi today including Air Pacific and Solomon Airlines both arriving in Nadi in the evening.

It is understood the remaining students who are not part of that 33 coming to Fiji today are highly likely to come in semester two or early next year.

This now implies that this group of students will arrive at the university in the third week of lectures after the commencement of semester one on February 26.

SIG finally pays student allowances at USP Suva after two weeks of classes

The government has finally paid through allowances for its sponsored students at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji.

Director of the National Training Unit, Selu Maezama, says the allowances were being paid through the Central Bank of Solomon Islands.

"The allowances for students at USP Laucala Campus was paid through the Central Bank of Solomon Islands yesterday. The amount is FJD$ 2,061,675 for 495 students. The Central Bank has advised that the payment should go through yesterday."

Mr Maezama says the amount is for the first semester at USP. He acknowledges that USP had informed Solomon Islands government about the changes in payment for students allowances and other costs.

However, Mr Maezama says the delay in paying the allowances were due to the slow administrative process in getting the allowances ready and determining when the students were leaving for the institution.

Since the students' arrival in mid to late February, they have not received any maintenance or book allowances as the University of the South Pacific that usually pays the allowance upfront before being billed to the government has changed the payment of student allowances to be footed directly by their own governments.

As a result, students have not received any textbooks despite going into the third week of classes.

Source: SIBC

Monday, March 12, 2007

Live updates of the Ba vs Marist match at Govind Park in western Fiji (Final Score)

93 min - Vanuatu referee now points to the centre spot for full time ending the match at full time with Ba 3 Marist 2.

91 min - Marist putting a late surge as heavy rain starts pouring at Govind Park in Ba.

88 min - An own goal by Ba as Marist puts extra pressure on the Ba defenders resulting in another defender kicking the ball onto another Ba player deflecting it into the net for a Marist goal to make it 3-2 in favour of Ba. Rain is now falling and Marist pressurising Ba.

87 min - Joe Lui scores a goal for Marist as Ba lost concentration to make it 3-1 in favour of Ba.

86 min - Marist still fail to show any real threat in the game as Ba still maintains pressure on the Marist territory.

84 min - Ba still leading Marist by 3 nil and a Marist player down injured.

81 min - Ba gets another corner kick.

78 min - Fiji's national coach Carlos Buzzetti comes into the media control box praising Ba performance but also concerned about the ground conditions.

75 min - A throw in for the Marist side. Ba counter attacking towards the corner side through Josaia Bukalidi. Marist come back into attack and ball collected by Ba keeper.

73 min - Ba made another replacement as Malakai Kanihewe comes into the field to replace another Ba player.

72 min - Ba brings ball again into Marist territory as Ba show confidence infront of a 4,000 home crowd with their 3-0 lead. A cross by Ba hits the post and taken away by Marist defenders.

65 min - Ba made a change as Ronald Lawrence comes in to replace another Ba player.

63 min - a Lui shot deflected by Ba defender for a corner kick for Marist. Mela's kick not utilised by Marist forwards so cleared safely by Ba defenders.

59 min - a sure hat trick by Keni Doidoi luckily touches the fingertip of Sikwa'ae for a corner for Ba. Corner collected and cleared by Sikwa'ae.

58 min - Free kick to Marist 5 minutes from corner after Misiga being fouled. Benjamin Mela kick nodded by Ba and Jerry Sam over run the ball for a goal kick for Ba.

56 min - James Naka to take corner for Marist but not agood one and a goal kick for Ba.

54 min - the crowd now exceeds 4,000 plus spectators as Ba 3 Marist 0 and a Ba defender down. Play now resumes.

53 min - a cross from Avinesh Swamy connected with a powerful header by Keni Doidoi into the right hand side of Marist goal passed a hapless Sikwa'ae to make it 3-0 for Ba.

51 min - A Manuca Tuimasi shot tapped over the bar by Sikawa'e but linesman says goal kick for Marist.

49 min - Marist made a change as Timothy Joe comes in at centre back with Martin Ruhasia going off and Gideon Omokirio goes to the right back side.

2nd half about to start as both teams return to the field.

48 min - Lusian Sika'ae dives at the foot of Bukalidi to save a sure goal....It's half time and Ba leading Marist by 2 goals to nil.....updates for second half to continue in a while.

46 min - a counter attack by Marist see a shot sail over the bar to the delight of a confident Ba keeper.

45 min - officials signalled 3 minutes of added time. Ground is slippery but held firm despite rain.

44 min - Lui's shot on Ba goal has no direction as we draw closer to half time. Misiga's shot hit the crossbar and go out of play for Ba goal kick.

42 min - Lusian Sikwa'ae now comes into the field to replace Francis Aruwafu.

40 min - Vanuatu ref Lency Fred atttends to Marist keeper Francis Aruwafu after being injured. Marist reserve keeper Lusian Sikwa'ae warming up on the side.

38 min - Marist on attack at in Ba territory but Mela offside. Still Ba 2 Marist 0. Crowd exceeds 3,500 nearing 4,000 spectators.

35 min - a corner kick for Marist to be taken by Benjamin Mela but collected safely by Laisenia Tuba. Ba now on counter attack.

34 min - a rare attack by Marist on Ba goal resulting in a Ba goal kick.

31 min - Keni Doidoi puts Ba up by 2 goals to nil with a flick into the net as Francis Aruwafu dives in an effort to save the onslaught by Ba FC.

29 min - Bukalidi nearly scores again from a loss of possession by Gideon Omokirio but luckily the ball was bogged in the mud again resulting in a corner kick to Ba. Bukalidi's corner not a good one and a goal kick for Marist.

27 min - crowd has grown in numbers passing 3,500 with Ba still in control of the match and nearly scored another goal in a while ago from a Bukalidi cross which was blasted wide at the Marist goal mouth by Avinesh Swamy.

25 min - Ba 1 Marist 0 and Ba still pressurising the Marist defenders and playing in Marist's territory most of the time.

23 min - Bukalidi races away one on one towards the Marist goalmouth but ball stuck in water and eventually cleared by Takayama.

21 min - rain started drizzling on the Govind Park as Ba still leading Marist 1-0.

19 min - Benjamin Mela corner kick safely cleared by Ba.

17 min - corner kick for Marist as a shot on goal by Sebastine Misiga deflected by Ba defender.

14 min - Ba keeper Laisenia Tuba converts penalty to put Ba 1-0 infront of Marist

14 min - a penalty for Ba as Marist sweeper Samson Takayama fouled Josaia Bukalidi in the box. Penalty to be taken by goal keeper Laisenia Tuba.

11 min - Ba still nil and Marist nil and crowd drawing in numbers to about 2,500 -3,000 now to support their home team Ba.

Return OFC O'League Game has started a while ago in wet and slippery conditions at Govind Park in western Fiji and Ba already putting pressure on Marist goal.

Solomons national workshop to support community based management of coastal fisheries concluded in Honiara

The government, non government organisation (NGO) and community participants were urged by Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Hon. Nollen Leni, to work together closely so that the people of Solomon Islands can receive maximum benefits from a sustainably managed fishery.

Minister Leni was speaking at the National Fisheries workshop which highlighted the importance of coastal fisheries for semi-commercial and subsistence use by the bulk of Solomon Islanders. The workshop was convened in Honiara from Tuesday to Friday last week.

Until last year experiences in Community Based Coastal Resources Management have been largely supported by NGOs such as TNC, WWF, FSPI, SIDT, ECANSI, Worldfish, TDA, Tiola, but the Fisheries Department, with support from the SPC, is now committed to greatly increase support for community based fisheries management programmes including the creation of a new Community Based Fisheries Management unit and requests to government for increased funding support.

Participants at the meeting shared the experiences communities around Solomon Islands have had in managing their own coastal resources. A number of these communities are finding increased catches of marine species owing to the management carried out by the communities themselves using traditional tools such as taboos or marine protected areas (MPAs).

Wide ranging agreements have been made in the workshop on meeting national and community objectives through improved collaboration and commitment of government and NGO partners in working together.

The workshop has been organized jointly by the Ministry of Fisheries and the Foundation of the peoples of the South Pacific International (FSPI) with funding from the Packard Foundation.

Airton optimistic about Marist chances in avenging loss against Fiji Champions Ba FC

Solomons Marist FC coach Airton Andrioli has expressed his optimism that his boys will deliver in their away match with Ba FC this afternoon at 5pm Fiji time(4pm Solo time) at Govind Park in Ba west of Fiji.

Speaking prior to their departure on Saturday, he says he came up with a strategy to counter Ba's offensive and hopes his boys will stick to his game plan in the must-win match.

"A win for us is very crucial and I can only tell them what to do but at the end of the day it is the players who will decide the outcome," he adds.

Meanwhile, Ba's ace midfieder Roneel Kumar is in doubt for this crucial O' League match with Marist.

Roneel Kumar who migrated to New Zealand last week, is expeccted to arrive in Fiji at 4pm (Fiji time) to bolster Ba's chances of reaching the Oceania Champions club league final. Kumar who was named Fiji FA Popular Footballer of the year has been a piller of strength for the Men In Black.

"Roneel is an important member of our team and we are trying to fly him over in time for the game,'' Ba team manager Sabrina Khan said.

She said exciting young utility Avineshwaran Swamy would takeover the important role if the Fiji FA 2006 personality of the year award winner failed to join camp. Lethal left footer Swamy, a former Fiji U20 rep has constantly struggled for a place in the starting lineup since joining the University of the South Pacific last year.

"He passed a fitness test after joining camp on Thursday so we expecting him to be at his best because after being on the bench for most of last year Avinesh is also keen to prove himself to get back into the starting lineup.''

"We also have the likes of Malakai Tiwa and Ronald Lawrence to play in central midfield,'' she said.

Also ruled out of the must-win encounter are key forwards Osea Vakatalesau, Kiniviliame Naika and Shalen Lal. Khan said Vakatalesau and Naika are nursing ankle and knees injuries sustained in the 1-1 tie against AS Temanava in Tahiti last month. Shalen is serving a one-match suspension after he was red carded against AS Temanava.

The Ba Manageress added that Ba respects Marist FC but infront of home fans the side would not settle for anything less than full match points.

"We know what to expect from Marist since they have nothing to lose but we have done our homework and the side is ready. The boys are confident and determined to please the home fans,'' Khan said.

Source: SIFF

Government is determined to improve services to the people: PM Sogavare

The Solomon Islands Government is determined to succeed in the delivery of services to the people in terms of economic development with its new development policies based on the bottom up approach concept.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare says past governments have failed to deliver services promised to the people.

The Prime Minister says with the establishment of a monitoring and working committee to oversee delivery of services, government can quickly address problems and setbacks.

He says this will help ensure a smooth, prompt and efficient delivery of services to the people.

Meanwhile, the Malaita Provincial Executive is this week looking through the provincial draft budget.

Premier Richard Irosaea says an Accounts Committee finalised the draft budget over the weekend. He says the full Provincial Assembly will meet on the week starting March 26 to deliberate on the budget and pass it.

Premier Irosaea added his government supports the national government's rural development approach, saying it will help improve the lives of people in the villages. He says it will also help Solomon Islanders participate in the economic development of the country.

Source: SIBC

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