To'abaita Authority for Research & Development (TARD)

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

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

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sogavare considers defamation charges against Transparency SI head

By Office of the PM and Cabinet

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare is seriously considering pressing charges of defamation of character against the Executive Officer of Transparency Solomon Islands, Joses Tuhanuku for making false corruption allegations against the Prime Minister.

Mr Tuhanuku claimed that Mr Sogavare succumbed to corruption in his decision to support the Snyder Rini camp when he was elected Prime Minister and later supported the Opposition’s Motion of no confidence.

Responding to the allegations this morning, Prime Minister Sogavare said whilst the government of Solomon Islands believed and supported freedom of expression, there was a limit to one’s entitlement to express his or her opinion about the way other people conduct themselves in the community.

“Being the head of an organization that claims to believe in transparency and accountability does not give Mr Tuhanuku the right to make baseless, gaping statements of opinion that he cannot support with evidence,” Mr Sogavare said.

The Prime Minister said he took the allegations seriously because they were totally contradictory to the principles and values he believed in and lived by.

“I share the values and principles advanced by good governance institutions in the country and would never compromise public trust for personal gains,” he said.

Mr Sogavare said he has officially lodged a complaint to the Commissioner of Police to have the matter investigated.

North Malaita Women learn how to make communities better places to live

THE Assemblies of God (AOG) last week held a Women’s Conference for the women of North Malaita.

The two day conference was held at Nazareth Village. More than 200 women from across Malaita attended the conference which focused mainly on roles women can play in building our communities to become better places.

Guest speaker and programme organiser Beverly Komasi said the programme has indeed been a real blessing to those attended.“Through the conference, we have been able to discuss ways in which we as women can learn to stand against the many hardships and trails we face in our communities,” she said.

“We learn that we can also contribute as mothers to resolving issues relating to alcohol and drugs.” Ms Komasi said mothers had a lot of influence on their children and played a big role in shaping their children to become who they are in future.

She said she hoped that more of such conferences will be organised in future. “I believe that through more of such conferences, we can help our women shine out as good leaders in our communities,” she said.

Meanwhile Ms Komasi also highlighted that preparations are now underway for the church’s upcoming 2007 Solomon Islands Youth Rally to be held at Auki early December. “We are expecting many youths around the country to come that is why we are preparing everything this early - the sooner the better,” Ms Komasi said.

Source Solomon star

Education Watch Report revealed education crisis in Solomon Islands

An education watch report in two locations in Solomon Islands has revealed areas that the country needs to address.

Coordinator of the Coalition on Education Solomon Islands and the Asian South Pacific Bureau of Adult Education, Rose Wale, says the survey provides new education data and reveals that the country is facing three crisis.

Ms Wale says the first is a crisis in literacy, as evidenced by low literacy rates in the community, much lower than the grossly misleading officially reported rates.

"The second one is that the quality of our education is very low because out there in rural communities we went to results show that even people who have completed primary schools and even some who have received secondary education are still not able to read and write. So our quality of education is very low."

Ms Wale says the third is a crisis in youth engagement in learning, as evidenced by low school participation rates for 15 to 19 year olds.

She says these are significant challenges, requiring urgent and determined action from Solomon Islands government and its international development partners.

The survey was carried out in Honiara and 23 villages in Malaita Province.

A summary of the Survey report, containing details of the findings of the urgent action to address these challenges will be available at a launch in Honiara today (30/10/07).

Source: SIBC

Monday, October 29, 2007

Pacific's biggest conservation conference ended in Alotau last Friday

The 8th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas, which was convened in Alotau, Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea from October 22-26 with the overarching theme "conservation serving communities in a rapidly changing world" has ended on Friday last week.

During the closing ceremony which was officially closed by Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare with words of encouragement and a challenge to appreciate the real value of oceans, it was also announced that the Republic of Marshall Islands will be hosting the 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas. Fiji is the secondary choice in the event that the Marshall Islands will not be able to host the conference in 5-years time.

The 5 days of deliberation to carve a way forward that will help save our biodiversity, livelihoods and communities have led to 4 main objectives in the 2008–2012 action strategy; to identify, conserve and sustainably manage priority sites, habitats and ecosystems; protect and recover threatened species or species of ecological, cultural and economic significance; manage threats to biodiversity, especially climate change impacts and invasives species; livelihoods and community development are ecologically and economically sustainable and achieve community needs and aspirations.

According to Sir Somare, Pacific Island Nations have worked well together in the past and the cooperation on environmental issues has been critical for the sustenance of Pacific communities.

"We can, together again, take a bold step in changing the ways in which we use and manage our oceans and its natural resources to grow our economies,” said Sir Michael.

The closing of the regions biggest conservation conference also saw over 350 participants advised to ‘act now’ by Taholo Kami the Chair of the Roundtable of Nature Conservation. In his speech during the closing ceremony he acknowledged the lesson learnt from this conference is the Pacific must recognise conservation is not just about biodiversity if it is to move forward.

“It is all about how we choose to live and the kind of world we want our children and grand children to enjoy. If we choose a path of sustainability, to live in peace with each other and in harmony with our environment – conservation will be an achievable outcome and long term prosperity is likely in spite of the undeserved threats of climate change.”

The 8th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas is coordinated by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) with assistance from the host nation, Papua New Guinea as well as numerous other partners. Director Asterio Takesy has committed the SPREP staff to continue working with the Roundtable for Nature Conservation and countries and territories to assist with the effective implementation of the action strategy.

“The main message from this conference is that all of us working in conservation in this region must focus on empowering our pacific island people and communities to drive the conservation agenda across the region. In this region more than any other conservation objectives cannot be achieved without recognizing the intimate connection between biodiversity and livelihoods.”

The next conference will be held in 2012.

Source: SPREP

Solomons government appoints first ever woman to become Secretary to Cabinet

By Deli Oso, Press Secretary to the PM

The Solomon Islands government has appointed the first female in the nation's history to become the Secretary to Cabinet.

Ms Ruth Liloqula, a Solomon Islander with impressive academic and professional achievements in agriculture and administration was appointed to the top public service post and will soon take her Oath of Secrecy before the Chief Justice.

Ms Liloqula first graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Tropical Agriculture from the University of Papua New Guinea in 1977 and later in 1984 with a Masters in Science in the Biotechnology of Crop Protection majoring in Nematology from Britain’s Redding University.

Ms Liloqula was also the first Solomon Islander to hold the posts of Government Plant Pathologist and Director of Research in the Ministry of Agriculture.

Ms Liloqula’s on-the-job performance won her a scholarship of merit to study Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering at the Colorado State University in the United States of America.

After the completion of her study in USA, she returned to Solomon Islands and held the post of Officer-in Charge of Research and later promoted to localize the Director of Research Post. In 1998 Ms Liloqula was promoted to the Under Secretary post in Ministry of National Planning and Development and in various government ministries up until 2004 when she was promoted to the post of Permanent Secretary Ministry of Police, and National Security.

She also served in various Ministries as Permanent Secretary prior to her appointment to the top public service post.

Speaking after last week’s swearing in of four newly appointed Permanent Secretaries including herself, Ms Liloqula said her appointment manifested the Grand Coalition for Change Government’s recognition of the talents and value that Solomon Islands women add to decision-making.

She said the Sogavare-led government was the first government in the history of Solomon Islands to have more female permanent secretaries and therefore ought to be commended.

Ms Liloqula meanwhile encourages all Solomon Islands women to work together to improve their status.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Solomon Islanders invited to apply for ROC-Pacific Islands Forum Scholarships for 2008

By PIFS, Suva, Fiji

Citizens of SOlomon Islands are invited to apply for scholarships under the Taiwan/ROC-Pacific Islands Forum Scholarship Scheme 2008.

Scholarships will be awarded for Full or Part time studies at certificate, diploma undergraduate or postgraduate levels within the specified priority fields. Awards are tenable at accredited tertiary institutions in Forum Island Countriess. However, special cases will be considered for the University of Hawaii, University of Guam and at Taiwan/ROC.

The Scholarship:
Covers tuition fees, text book, living and accommodation allowances (*special conditions apply for the accommodation allowance), medical insurance, and one return economy airfare to the country of study. Note: There are no allowances for dependants.

Eligibility Requirements – Applicants must:
• be a citizen of Solomon Islands and a resident in Solomon Islands for five years prior to application, excluding years of study overseas
• not hold or have held another scholarship at tertiary level in the preceding 24 months
• be applying to commence a new programme of study and not be seeking support for study already commenced
• have been accepted into a programme of study and institution, or should show proof of application when requested
• be under 35 years old for undergraduate courses or under 40 years old for postgraduate courses
• be in good health, and not hold a criminal record
• be able to take up the award within the scholarship year
• not be under any bonding requirements at the commencement of this award

Priority Fields for Solomon Islands:
1. Marine Studies
2. Computer Science/ Technology
3. Agriculture

Selction Criteria:
Selection will be on the basis of fulfillment of the eligibility requirements and merit within the priority fields of each country. Gender equity will also be considered.

Procedure - Applicants should:
• obtain forms from your National Scholarship Office; download forms off the Secretariat’s website or collect forms from the Scholarship Assistant, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Suva, Fiji
• ensure that all sections of the application form is completed with certified supporting documents attached
• ensure that the completed application is endorsed by the National Training Unit (NTU) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs prior to submission to the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

Closing Date:
Applications must reach the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Private Mail Bag, Suva, FIJI by 4pm, Monday 26 November 2007. Late applications will not be accepted.

Direct Enquiries to: The Scholarship Assistant, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Private Mail Bag, Suva, Fiji Islands; tel: (679) 3312 600 / 3220 333; fax (679) 3305880; email:; website:

Solomons Kossa FC only managed a 1-all draw with Vanuatu's Tafea FC in first O'League encounter at Lawson Tama

Solomon Islands champions Kossa FC drew 10,000 fans to their match with Vanuatu champions Tafea FC, yesterday afternoon only to settle for a 1-1 draw at Lawson Tama in Honiara.

Former Auckland City FC striker Reginald Davani now starring for Kossa FC set up the opening goal for his new club after 61 minutes when he beat two defenders before setting up Joe Luwi who smashed an unstoppable shot past Tafea FC’s Vanuatu international goalkeeper David Chilia.

But Tafea FC were not out of the match and struck back through substitute Alphonse Welin Qorig on 71 minutes after Kossa FC defender Tome Faisi failed to cut out a through ball that allowed Qorig to round goalkeeper John Morgan to score the equaliser and shock the home crowd into stunned silence.

Tafea FC will be satisfied with the point achieved away from home at one of Oceania’s most difficult venues but must now repeat the achievement on Wednesday 31st October when Michel Kalo’s team travel to Govind Park, Ba, to face Yogendra Dutt’s all conquering Ba in Fiji.

Kossa FC coach Jacob Moli was disappointed with a draw in front of an excellent sized crowd on home turf in a match the Solomon Islands champions always had the upper-hand in.

But Moli will have to wait until February 24, 2008, to make amends when Ba visits Lawson Tama Stadium, Honiara, as Kossa FC go into O-League cold storage.

Source: OFC

Friday, October 26, 2007

Australian Navy divers help clear Solomons WWII left over bombs

Over 400 explosive projectiles and bombs left over from World War Two have been disposed of by a combined team of Royal Australian Navy divers and an Explosive Ordnance Disposal element of the Solomon Islands Police Force.

Over the past three weeks, divers from Australian Clearance Diving Team Four (AUSCDT4) have been training Solomon Islands Police Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians in the underwater methods used to dispose of unexploded ordnance found in the area.

Their efforts have been noteworthy in safely removing a variety of dangerous ordnance. The largest item destroyed was a 45 kilogram bomb that had been exposed on a local road near a village in the Western Province. Other items disposed by the team have ranged from discarded gas cylinders to white-phosphorous mortar rounds left over from World War Two.
Members of the Royal Australian Navy Australian Clearance Diving Team Four and Solomon Island Police Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians [photo: Australian Defence Department].

The training and disposal was conducted as part of the Defence Cooperation Program between Australia and the Solomon Islands.

Five members of the Solomon Islands Police Force received diving training from AUSCDT4 which included a variety of skills and techniques used in underwater explosive disposal.

Source: Pacific Magazine

Pacific to work on saving our Coral Reefs next year

By SPREP, Samoa

The 2008 Pacific Year of the Reef Campaign (PYOR) plan was announced during a free form session of the 8th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas.

Next year, the Pacific people will be encouraged to work towards reversing the current degradation of coral reefs this will help build their resilience to natural factors such as climate change. Since 1980 to 1995 the Pacific region has been losing its coral reef at the rate of 1% per year. From 1995 until now the rate of this loss has doubled.

SPREP’s Coral Reef Management Officer, Caroline Vieux, is leading the SPREP team working on the 2008 Pacific Year of the Reef.

“We observe that some reefs were more resilient to disturbance than other coral reefs. They could resist, recover or adapt better to disturbances, especially when it came to coral bleaching. What we’re trying to do now is to identify these coral reefs and focus our conservation effort on them as they will be more likely to cope with climate change and its affects. That’s what this campaign will be about.”

‘Strong reefs, strong islands’ is the slogan that will encompass the 2008 Pacific Year of the Reef. The year will see SPREP launch a number of different activities, several of which include school competitions, posters, stickers, fact sheets, DVD, postcards, information booklets as well as World Environment Day activities. SPREP understands the importance of working in partnership with Pacific people at all levels; regional, national and communities for a successful campaign.

“Reefs are important as protectors of the islands and community against storm surges and providers of food and income for the communities. We’re really hoping that the communities will get behind us in this and work with us in saving our coral reefs, as it will take a regional effort to save our reefs.”

Vieux has been approached to make a presentation to the students of Education Milne Bay, while in Alotau, Papua New Guinea (PNG). Work has already begun to make sure the 2008 Pacific Year of the Reef reaches as many Pacific people as possible. – SPREP, Alotau.

"Building on this regional commitment, the consultation aims to aid MPs in their aspirations to meet global human rights standards and norms in the Pacific through signing up to, and implementing, core international and regional human rights conventions and agreements, as well as through the application of human rights standards in the development of national policy, practice and laws," Bernklau said.

She said it would also serve as a forum for parliamentarians to share experiences, issues and dilemmas encountered in their use of human rights standards to address human rights concerns in legislation and parliamentary debates, as well as to explore how human rights had been applied locally and regionally in a positive way to enhance the development of Pacific peoples.

The Pacific Plan of Action for Strengthening Regional Cooperation and Integration (the Pacific Plan), consistently refers to human rights, particularly under its goal of good governance. The Plan envisions, step-by-step, a region that is "respected for the quality of its governance, the sustainable management of its resources, the full observance of democratic values, and for its defence and promotion of human rights".

In particular, the Plan instructs Pacific Island Forum member states to, where appropriate, sign up to and implement international and regional human rights conventions and agreements. This initiative is not listed for agreement in principle or for further analysis, but for immediate implementation as a regional priority (2006-2008).

Guadalcanal launches breaking ceremony in pursuit of its own township in Doma

Guadalcanal Province heralds the first part of development of its very own township.

Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony yesterday, the Premier for Guadalcanal Province, Hon. Joash Salani (pictured), said the occasion marks an end to a long wait for "a separate identity, a place that is distinctly for the people of this Province".

Mr. Salani said the development of Doma, east Guadalcanal, not only brings the provincial government together, but it has created a place that can represent the aspiration of the Guadalcanal people.

"... it hasn't been easy getting to where we are today, and there is much work to do in the future to obtain our dream," the Guadalcanal Premier stated.

Mr. Salani said the present national government has played a huge part in supporting Guadalcanal's own township.

He acknowledged the Republic of China (Taiwan) government as "a major player" in bringing the province to this day, to commemorate the "historic occasion".

Mr. Salani said being at the "very first turn in a long and challenging road", the people of Guadalcanal will require further funding to work side by side to achieve the Guadalcanal Township.

"... we will be seeking genuine investors to be partners with us," he said.

"The Guadalcanal government will work hard to seek out the best partnerships to ensure maximum benefits for our people, and in turn to ensure our investors are well supported," Mr. Salani added.

He called on the national government for continued support in the development of their township, and for donors and stakeholders to consider the project in their planning and "... to support us both financially and with expertise".

He said the vision is to build Guadalcanal Township into a "model township" where all factors have been considered.

This includes a solid base for the Provincial Government Headquarters, a commercial base for the Province, high quality residential housing and services that are all tied together with strong community values.

The Guadalcanal Premier urged original landowners and the surrounding communities to work alongside the provincial government to ensure that decisions are made with the landowners and communities' best interests in mind.

Mr. Salani pledged his government's commitment to work hard to seek out the best partnerships to ensure maximum benefits for the Guadalcanal people.

Source: Solomon Times

Solomon Islands need sound decisions: RAMSI's outgoing Development Coordinator

RAMSI's outgoing Development Coordinator has called on Solomon Islands leaders to make sound decisions that will take the country down the path to prosperity, good governance, stability and security.

Stuart Schaefer, who worked as Development Coordinator for the last two years made the call during his farewell in Honiara Wednesday night.

Mr Schaefer encouraged everyone to find ways to enable Solomon Islands maximise the advantages expected to be gained from the human and financial resources RAMSI has brought to the country.

He emphasised the need for everyone to work together more closely on medium and longer term issues facing the country.

He said anyone making decisions especially at national level need the best possible advice.

He pointed out that while Solomon Islands is developing the capacity of the public service to provide such advice, Government on the other hand needs to make good policy decisions, citing the logging industry as an example.

Source: SIBC

Solomon Government appreciates Forum position on RAMSI review

By Deli Oso, Press secretary to the PM

The Pacific Islands forum has taken note of the intention of the Solomon Islands government to review the Facilitation of the International Assistance Act which legalises the operation of the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands and New Zealand has offered to assist in the review task.

Foreign Affairs Minister Patterson Oti who led the Solomon Islands delegation to the recent 30th summit of the forum leaders in the Kingdom of Tonga revealed this in a Press Conference on Wednesday afternoon.

Mr Oti said the forum leaders took note of the intention of the review as the power to do so fell within the prerogative of the Solomon Islands parliament and government.

“The Solomon Islands government appreciates the position of the forum on the review and that for Solomon Islands is a way forward that the forum had taken note of its intention to review that Act.”

The Foreign Minister said he had a constructive dialogue with the New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark on the RAMSI review in which she promised her country’s assistance should it be needed.

“I am glad to say that in my dialogue with Prime Minister Helen Clark, she was supportive and has pledged that should the government (of Solomon Islands) need assistance for the review of the FIAA New Zealand would be able to assist and this has been conveyed to Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.”

Mr Oti said the rationale for the review was to ensure that the operation and assistance of RAMSI were supportive of the Solomon Islands government’s development agendas which were designed to address the root causes of the ethnic tension and that RAMSI officials abide by the laws of Solomon Islands.

He said RAMSI officials were currently enjoying the same privileges and immunities prescribed for diplomats and the provision for that diplomatic treatment should be reviewed as they were only appropriate in the early days of the intervention.

The Foreign Affairs Minister said the review which should commence on the 28th of the month would be inline with the resolutions passed by parliament during its recent sitting and the Special Coordinator of RAMSI, Tim George had been informed of the review process which would include a joint workshop for all the parliamentarians.

Mr Oti said the review agenda would be fully explained to the people of Solomon Islands through an extensive nationwide awareness programme through appropriate avenues.

He said as the Minister for Foreign Affairs he would be engaged in a comprehensive consultation with his counterparts of the RAMSI participating countries informing them on the provisions of the FIAA that the Solomon Islands government and people wanted reviewed.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

New Zealand’s Defence minister concerned over RAMSI review in Solomon Islands

The New Zealand Defence Minister, Phil Goff, says altering rules for the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI)could put its future in doubt.

The Solomon Islands prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare, wants to review the law which governs the Australian-led mission.

The Facilitation of International Assistance Act gives immunity to RAMSI personnel, but the Solomon Islands’ Attorney General, Julian Moti, wants that removed.

Mr Goff says it would be impossible for the mission to continue in those circumstances.

He says RAMSI is in Solomon Islands by invitation, and the vast majority of people support its work.

Source: RNZI

Sir Kemakeza has a "no case to answer" in regard to Sol-Law robbery charge

BY Joy Basi

The Honiara Magistrates Court has dismissed a robbery charge against former Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Sir Allan Kemakeza.

Sir Allan was prosecuted on the charge of demanding money with menace, intimidation and larceny in relation to an attack on law firm, Sol-Law, in 2002.

Speaking before the Magistrates, the last defense witness, Mr Leonard Kwai said there was no mentioning of the Sol-Law firm in a meeting between former militants and Sir Allan at his residence.

Mr Kwai, who was a police sergeant at that time, has known Sir Allan for four years and was his personal bodyguard at the time.

Defense Attorney Presley Watts requested that the court be adjourned so he could give a written submission on the other three cases, which are still on hold.

Mr Watts said prosecution witnesses are believed to have been spoon fed by those behind the Sol-Law matter "because it is simply not true".

In his ruling, Magistrates Court's judge, Mr Graig McConaghy said charge has been dismissed on the grounds that there was "No Case to Answer".

The evidence provided by the prosecution did not disclose any prima facie case against the defendant.

"Robbery charges against Sir Allan have been dropped because those accused to have been involved were not at all charged with robbery when they were sentenced," Mr McConaghy said.

The case was adjourned for further hearing of defense witnesses on the other three cases today.

Source: Solomon Times

Our Telekom donates goodwill support for Solomons Pink Ribbon Day

Our Telekom donated SBD$2500 and two Prepaid Breeze mobile phones on Friday 19th October in support of Pink Ribbon Day.

Pink Ribbon Day was organized by the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) to raise funds in support of women affected by cancer.

The donation was made in response to an appeal for donations from individuals, groups and organizations for Pink Ribbon Day.

Our Telekom responded to this appeal as it felt that women in the country will get great support through this Pink Ribbon Day initiative.

Mr Rice received the donation and conveyed his thanks to the company for its generous support.

Source: Solomon Times

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Pacific Nature Conservation conference opens with "tru" PNG welcome

The 8th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas opened yesterday showcasing the heart of Papua New Guinea (PNG) culture and its people.

This week, Alotau in the Milne Bay province is home to the biggest Biodiversity conference for the Pacific region. The conference is coordinated by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), the PNG Government and the Roundtable for Nature Conservation.

It was in 1975 that participants first gathered to consider the regions conservation issues. In his opening speech SPREP Director Asterio Takesy celebrated the huge achievements that have been made since then.

“In terms of general awareness and political commitment to the interlinked concepts of conservation, environmental management and sustainable development we have achieved a great deal, both regionally and globally.”

Recent key milestones across the Pacific region have included the launch of the Micronesia Challenge to place 30% of nearshore marine and 20% of forest resource across Micronesia under effective conservation by 2020; Fiji has committed to protecting and effectively managing at least 30% of its oceans and coastal waters and Kiribati has declared the Phoenix Islands a protected area, covering a huge area of almost 185,000 square kilometers.

Achievements are not only felt at the National level, but also within the communities of our Pacific countries and territories. It is the growing awareness of governments and communities of the need to conserve our Pacific heritage that is also being celebrated during the conference this week. ‘Conservation serving communities in a rapidly changing world’ is the theme.

“Outstanding examples include Tetepare Island in the Solomon Islands, the largest uninhabited island in the Pacific, conserved and managed by the Tetepare Dependents Association; the Bouma Heritage Park in Fiji conserved and managed by the people of Vanua Bouma, and the reintroduction of the Rimatara Lorikeet to Atiu in the Cook Islands with the cooperation of both the Atiu people and the Rimatara people in French Polynesia. Globally there is growing acknowledgement of the role of communities in driving the conservation agenda.”

The opening ceremony of the 8th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas was opened by the Governor General of PNG, Sir Paulias Matane.

The Conference ends on the 26th of October, it is then that the next host of the Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas will be announced.

Source: SPREP

Research shows wide digital divide in Pacific Island Countries

Research into the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in education in the countries of the South Pacific shows that up to 17 per cent of the Pacific population enjoys Internet access, although access to ICT in primary schools averages one percent, with tertiary-level urban access rates as high as 70 percent.

Rural students and rural teachers have far lower ICT access that urban students and teachers, the survey showed, putting rural Pacific Islanders at a social and economic disadvantage.

The Pacific eLearning Observatory at the University of the South Pacific surveyed 60 ICT and education experts – including members of the Pacific Internet Society, PICISOC - across the region to assess their opinions on ICT in education, its current status in the Pacific, the perceived challenges to development, and recent developments.

The survey showed that training and capacity building, curriculum development, infrastructure, policy planning and top-down government support are perceived as the most important factors in ICT development. Current initiatives in the region range from early-stage policy formulation and the construction of ‘ICT centres’ for rural communities, to the construction of databases and online portals to support educational administration and the delivery of learning materials.

Monitoring ICT development is important to USP because 42 per cent of its 22,000 students are distance-based learners, and access to ICT impacts directly on the design of learning delivery modes. USP provides extensive ICT access to students via USPNet, and conducts long-term planning to help provide students with a better service.

The research concludes that in spite of the challenges to improving ICT access in education in the Pacific, the importance of the Internet in education is widely acknowledged as a priority by learners and policy decision-makers alike, and education institutions can use the kind of information gathered in this survey as part of a strategy for providing improved education services in the region.

Source: USP

SIPPA establishes Network to help rural Health in Solomon Islands

BY Joanna Siriheti
The Solomon Islands Planned Parenthood Association (SIPPA) has established an effective network to help rural health.

Community Health Education Officer, Mr Ben Angoa said network has been established with other stakeholders in the country.

He said progress has been successful, with "almost all" of their aims and objectives achieved.

Mr Angoa said SIPPA clinic is now helping many provinces throughout Solomon Islands, which goes as far as Rennell Bellona, Ulawa province among other provinces.

He said renovations of the SIPPA office in Gizo is among their many achievements.

Mr Angoa said that currently, SIPPA is working together with other NGOs to help in the country's on-going fight against HIV/AIDS and other related issues common in the Solomons.

Source: SIBC

North Malaita's Jimmy Lusibaea out on bail for time being awaiting other charges

By Robert Iroga
Former Malaita Eagle Force commander Jimmy Rasta Lusibaea was bailed yesterday after spending four years in jail.

Lusibaea’s supporters crammed the high court area, hugging and shaking the hands of one of the most feared Malaitan ex-militants.

Lusibaea only snapped his hand with the top sign when asked about his first taste of freedom after many years in jail.

“I’m okay,” he replied when asked by the Solomon Star outside the High Court.

Justice Sekove Naqiolevu bailed Lusibaea after the crown and Lusibaea’s lawyer Gabriel Brown consented to have him out on bail.

Lusibaea is facing one count of demanding money with menace from the QQQ Shop.
He is released on bail until his trial on November 5.

Justice Sekove ordered that Lusibaea pays $500 with three sureties, report to Naha Police Station every Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 7am –9pm.

He was also ordered to reside with his wife Vika Koto, remain within the area of Honiara (being from Balasuna Village to Tambea) and not to travel beyond the area without permission of the High Court.

Lusibaea is also required to be at his home between 9pm to 7am each day, and not to approach or contact prosecution witnesses listed on the information of the three High Court matters.

The bail came only a week after the Court of Appeal ruled Lusibaea’s five-year jail term be back-dated to the time he was arrested and remanded in custody. The ruling effectively means Lusibaea had already served his full five-year jail term.

He was sentenced in July 2004 for robbery by the Central Magistrate Court.

Lusibaea was arrested on 16 October 2003 – three months after the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) arrived.

Source: Solomon Star

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Special Tribute to late Lucky Dube whose reggae music makes a huge influence in the Solomon Islands

By Joseph Batte

The sad news of Lucky Dube’s death has hit the entire music world like a lightening bolt. His fans are in shock. The local music promoters are speechless. Local artists are mourning too because they have lost somebody they would look up at.

According to Joseph Batte of Uganda, he covered three of Dube's four concerts in Uganda. "We grew up on his music since his first reggae album ‘Rastas Never Die’ in 1985. The reasons fans in Africa, especially Uganda, got attracted to him was both to do with his music and his electrifying shows.

Although critics dismissed his music as simplistic, his brand of reggae appealed to many because it was easy to assimilate. Most of the songs he wrote were not the ‘boy-meets-girl’ type that assails our ears these days. We identified with his music not because it was sweet, but because his songs were often loaded with a lot of common sense lyrics. He called it ‘music with a message.’ It did not only reach reggae audience but appealed to a large and varied audience worldwide.

Lucky Dube was the most talented African Reggae artist, and arguably one of the best live performers in the world. His concerts were electrifying. Every performance swept fans off their feet. He is one of the few artists who could transfer the live feel of his music onto the stage.

His backing band, called the Slaves, made up of various talented and disciplined musicians. If one of them dared come late for a show, Lucky Dube would kick him out.

His shows were very tight. It explains why we seemed not to get enough of him, despite the fact that the hits seemed to have somewhat dried up. For that very reason, singer and promoter Geoffrey Lutaaya of the Eagles Production was planning to bring Lucky Dube for the fifth time to Uganda on Easter 2008.

Lucky Dube was born on August 3, 1964 in Ermelo, Eastern Transvaal, South Africa. At the age of 9, he was chosen as library assistant at his school. His desire to learn about the rest of the world and South Africa’s controversial history had him immediately immersed into the world of literature. It was here that he became acquainted with the Rastafarian religion, discovering it in an Encyclopedia. He also read about the music which is synonymous with Rastafarianism - REGGAE. His interest grew the more he read and found out, and soon he was working and earning enough money to buy Peter Tosh albums, which were the only Reggae albums available in South Africa at the time.

Whilst he was at school he founded his first band - the Skyway Band - and raised enough money to buy his first guitar from a stage play he produced. His talents soon came to the attention of Richard Siluma, who was a distant relative and a record producer.

In 1979 Lucky launched his career as a mbaqanga singer. Along with future Slave members Thutukani Cele and Chris Dlamini he recorded an album in 1982, entitled Mbaqanga. In the next three years Lucky went on to release his debut solo album, entitled Lengane Ngeyetha, which spawned his first hit. His next album, Kukuwe, also went gold. He subsequently released another two Zulu traditional albums.

During 1985 and without the knowledge of his record company, Lucky and Richard went into the studio and recorded “Rastas Never Die” - the first ever reggae album to be recorded in South Africa. Because of the political situation and censorship in the government-controlled media, it was banned immediately. The album gained awareness but did not sell well. Record company executives demanded a return back to traditional Zulu pop music. Lucky featured in his first movie - Getting Lucky - and was involved in producing the soundtrack. In 1986, his second reggae album, entitled Think about the Children.

Richard and Lucky also recorded an album under the name of ‘Oom Hansie’ which was an Afrikaans/Zulu rap album and entitled ‘Help My Krap’.

The beginning of the Slaves Band was also now being formed. In 1987 Lucky’s third reggae album was released, entitled Slave, and he had huge hits with “I’ve Got You Babe”, “Slave”, and “Back To My Roots”. With his band, he pulled crowds of over 50,000 in Johannesburg.

Lucky embarked on his first international trip to promote the album SLAVE, which was now released on the Celluloid label in France. In 1988, Together as One was released, in which he asked all South Africans, black and white, to unite.

Lucky hit the road again and performed to crowds in excess of 65,000.

In 1989 sixty of South Africa’s top musicians, including Lucky, embarked on a series of shows in France under the banner of Franchment Zoulou tour. Lucky established himself as a truly international artist, and got rave reviews at every show. He continued on to tour the US.

This year also gave Lucky the chance to act in his first full length feature film entitled ‘Voice In The Dark’, in which he co-starred with John Savage.

1989 also saw the release of PRISONER and within 5 days it had hit double platinum. 1990 was a year to take stock and perform mainly in Africa, performing in venues ranging from small township halls to Ellis Park, at which 80,000 people went to see Lucky perform.

In 1991 Lucky toured the United States again and then made an historical appearance at the world famous reggae Sunsplash Festival in Jamaica - the first time ever for a South African artist and his long awaited dream was realised. He was the first and only artist to be invited back for a 25 minute encore. The tour carried on to Australia, Japan and Ghana.

PRISONER became his biggest selling album, with in excess of 1,000,000 copies sold worldwide.

The electrifying double live album CAPTURED LIVE was released featuring some of his best known songs with live arrangements. The album quickly reached platinum status and outsold any international music release sales on a live album. Lucky won BEST MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR at the annual OKTV awards in South Africa. HOUSE OF EXILE was released and Lucky headlined the first ever reggae festival in South Africa - REGGAE STRONG FOR PEACE - and the proceeds of the live album, with the title track written by him, went to a crisis line in Soweto. The REGGAE STRONG FOR PEACE album went gold and a live video was released.

In 1992 Lucky signed an endorsement sponsorship with a leading local product company - ACE MAIZE MEAL - and CAPTURED LIVE and HOUSE OF EXILE registered worldwide sales in excess of 1,000,000. 1992 saw Lucky faced with his most hectic touring schedule yet. It took him to Europe twice, the United States, Japan, The Caribbean, New Caledonia, Australia, South Pacific and a return visit to the Sunsplash Festival in Jamaica where he received top billing this time. In between all this touring Lucky joined Peter Gabriel for the Real World Recording Week in England, and Peter joined Lucky on stage at the 10th Anniversary Womad festival to perform IT’S NOT EASY. Lucky won best video of the year and best sleeve design for the album HOUSE OF EXILE. LUCKY DUBE LIVE IN CONCERT video was released.

1993 Kicks off with more heavy touring to the Caribbean, Ivory Coast and South America. VICTIMS is released worldwide and Lucky embarked on a United States tour to promote it. The Ace sponsorship is resigned and the second leg of promoting the album starts with tours of Europe, Japan, and Australia. Lucky performed at the AFRICA AGAINST AIDS concert in Sun City, and Gallo released the video documentary ‘THE MAN THE MUSIC’

The Ace sponsorship is renewed for the third time. Lucky embarked on a world tour with PETER GABRIEL, performing across Europe and the US to crowds of 60,000. Peter performed IT’S NOT EASY with Lucky every night as the encore to the show.

Lucky finishes a hectic year with a highly successful tour of Kenya where teargas was needed to calm the crowds, and a show at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg with STING and MIDNIGHT OIL. 1994 heralds a new record label in the form of the world famous MOWTOWN/TABU. In 1995 TRINITY is released on Mowtown worldwide in March. FEEL IRIE was released as the first single in South Africa in February, and TRINITY was released as the single every where else. Lucky embarked on a promotional tour in early April starting in Europe, which took him right through to the end of the year, spending 2 months in Europe, 2 months in the United States, and visiting Australia, New Zealand for the first time, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Fiji. This was also the first tour with the new band, no longer called THE SLAVES.

By 1996 Lucky’s stage show had the reputation of being one of the most exciting shows on the road. He embarked on his first major tour of South America, performing on THE RUFFLES REGGAE CONCERTS with BIG MOUNTAIN, INNER CIRCLE and ZIGGY MARLEY in Brazil to crowds of over 60,000. He broke his tour to fly to Monte Carlo to receive the WORLD MUSIC AWARD for BEST SELLING AFRICAN RECORDING ARTIST and then flew straight back to finish the tour in Surinam and Belize. Lucky performed to 60,000 people in Uganda, toured Europe for the second time this year, and was the first South African artist to perform in Rwanda, where he witnessed first hand the terrible suffering of the people. SERIOUS REGGAE BUSINESS was released at the end of the year to mark his tenth anniversary as a reggae artist. It is also the first album from Africa to include an interactive CD track. January of 1997 saw the first legitimate sales registered from West Africa, with 20,000 copies sold in Ghana. In February Lucky was nominated for INTERNATIONAL ARTIST OF THE YEAR. In April Gallo released TAXMAN and Lucky flew to Ghana to receive his award.

A promotional tour started in May, with 6 weeks of shows in the United States, shows in Tanzania, Ghana, Uganda, Namibia, South Africa and Europe. In Novenber a long cherished dream comes true when Lucky performed with the 48 piece National Chamber Orchestra in a classical reggae concert at the Standard Bank Arena in South Africa. The show was filmed. February 1998 saw Lucky in Tahiti for the first time and a return visit to New Caledonia. March takes him back to Brazil and earns critical praise. In April he triumphed at the annual South African Music awards, scooping BEST POP PERFORMANCE and BEST PRODUCER and BEST REGGAE for TAXMAN. June and July were spent in Europe for an extensive tour and in August Lucky embarked on a six week tour of the United States with SHAGGY, BUJU BANTON, STEEL PULSE and BERES HAMMOND on the SPIRIT OF UNITY tour. In October Lucky performed at Midem Miami for the music industry. In November TAKE IT TO JAH was released as a single in South Africa with a live recording with the orchestra and two previously unreleased tracks. Later that month he flew to Kenya and performed the headline spot at Nairobi Racecourse to an estimated 80,000 people. January 1999 and it was back into the studio to start work on a new album. Lucky recorded a track with Sinead O’Conner using innovative computer technology. In June THE WAY IT IS was released.

The last trip to the South Pacific was in 2005 when he performed live at the National Stadium in Suva (Fiji) and other Pacific Island countries.

Source: Newvision online

Trial of former Solomons PM Sir Kemakeza continues with possible ruling tomorrow

BY Joy Basia

The trial of former Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Sir Allan Kemakeza, on allegations made against him by a local law firm Sol-Law, continued this morning at the magistrates' court.

Two high profile witnesses brought in by the crown prosecution took to the stand today. Former Malaita eagles force deputy spokesperson Leslie Kwaiga and John Fogau, who both recently had their cases acquitted, were alleged to have been present at the time Kemakeza gave the orders to ransack the Sol-Law office.

Surprisingly both witnesses gave conflicting version of events when asked by the prosecutor in court today.

"I am a neighbors with Kemakeza's sister and Sir Allan Kemakeza is a good close friend of mine and I often visit him at his residence, he never mentioned anything concerning Sol-Law to me", say Mr. Fogau.

Mr Fogau also mentioned that in his written statement to the police, he was told what to write by those involved in the sol-law break in and it was not from him.

Mr Kwaiga also said that he never heard of the plan to raid Sol-Law at any time during his conversations with Sir Allan. "All we talked about was a way to get to the Isatabu freedom fighter leader, Harold Keke, for the peace agreement" said Kwaiga.

Kwaiga also stated that during the alleged meeting that took place between Sir Allan and other former militants, no orders were given to raid Sol-Law. "When we meet with Sir Allen I never heard him mention Sol-Law during the meeting which was held at his residence, we met with him because his government wanted our point of view on how best to go about the peace process" Kwaiga said.

The court adjourned with a possible court ruling tomorrow.

Source: Solomon Times

Solomons Police Set to Lead the Pacific in Law Enforcement

The Solomon Islands Police Force (SIPF) is aiming to lead the way in law enforcement in the Pacific following a special joint planning day with RAMSI’s Participating Police Force (PPF).

The leadership of both the Solomon Islands Police Force (SIPF) and the PPF met last Friday to plan the future of the partnership between the two organizations.

Both the SIPF Commissioner Mohammed Jahir Kahn and the Commander of the PPF, Denis McDermott participated in the meeting.

Issues discussed at the planning day included new counterpart relationships between the SIPF and PPF, increasing the sustainability of policing, financial management, ethics and integrity, as well as increasing corporate support and a review of training needs.

Dr Tony Murney from the Australian Federal Police, who facilitated the meeting, told the SIPF executive that they were one of the most important organisations in the Solomon Islands.

“The future of the Solomon Islands rests heavily in your hands,” he said.

PPF Commander McDermott said there was clear evidence of strong support from the SIPF executive for the work of the PPF in the Solomon Islands.

The participation and support of Commissioner Kahn in the meeting had also been greatly appreciated he said.

“The executive of the SIPF performed impressively throughout the planning day.

Commander McDermott said he had been very encouraged by the level of trust demonstrated at the meeting between the two organizations.

“It is pretty good when that trust has grown to a point where everyone felt able to talk openly and honestly about the future of policing in the Solomon Islands.”

PPF Commander McDermott said Solomon Islands should aspire to nothing less than the best democratic police service in the world.

“The PPF stands squarely behind the SIPF police executive and behind every man woman and child in the diverse community that makes up Solomon Islands,” he said.

The information collected at the meeting will now be further assessed and used to hold further discussions with all parties involved, he said.

“This will set the platform for further reforms and approaches to be taken to ensure the SIPF becomes an efficient and effective community based policing service,” Commander McDermott said.

Source: RAMSI

Friday, October 19, 2007

Popular South African Reggae Star "Lucky Dube" shot dead in street car jacking

South African regae star and popular reggae idol for a lot of Solomon Islanders, Lucky Dube, was shot dead in a Johannesburg street attack late Thursday, police said.

The 43-year-old singer was attacked in an apparent car-jacking in the Rosettenville district as he had just dropped his son off in the area.

South Africa's Sapa news agency quoted police Captain Cheryl Engelbrecht as saying: "His son was already out of the car. When he saw what was happening, he ran to ask for help."

The hijackers were still at large and the son was too traumatised to provide police with any information, Engelbrecht added.

Dube, born in Johannesburg in 1964, survived poor health in infancy and became a top and well-loved reggae performer who recorded over 20 albums, including Rastas Never Die, Think About The Children, Soul Taker, Trinity and his latest, Respect.

Source: EarthTimes

Fisheries Minister Leni says no law is broken in lifting ban on live dolphin trade

The Solomon Islands government has defended the decision to lift the ban on live dolphin exports to overseas markets in light of wild accusations from animal welfare groups.

Minister of Fisheries Nollen Leni yesterday said the Solomon Islands Government has never broken any laws to export dolphins.

Mr Leni said the exporting company has followed the investment regulations of Solomon Islands when it set up its dolphin training facilities at Gavutu Island.

He said the courts have ruled in favour of the company twice when animal welfare groups pressured the government to block the lucrative trade.

Mr Leni said arguments expressed by animal activists based on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species on endangered species (CITES) were completely baseless.

“Nobody, especially the hopeless NGOs’ has told us what laws we have broken to allow the export of dolphins,” he said. “We will never be convinced by any arguments that based merely on unproven data”.

The Minister said a recent survey of the dolphin population in several provinces in the country revealed that there are more dolphins in the country’s waters.

Mr Leni said the CITES is not a body of law, arguing that it is just a set of agreed principles by countries to put in place measures to manage their resources.

Solomon Islands ratified the CITES early this year.

The Minister said the CITES Secretariat wrote to him this year putting in place clear guidelines to be followed if Solomon Islands wants to export live dolphins.

He said the dolphin exporting company, Solomon Islands Marine Mammal Education Center and Exporters (SIMMECE) has developed internationally required standard pens to train dolphins captured from the wild.

“The company has met all the required international standards similar to the ones in the US,” he said. “I am surprised that some groups fail to acknowledge this”.

Mr Leni said activists have failed to rally international criticism against other bigger countries in Central America that involved largely in dolphin trade for many years.

“It is crazy that they pick on a small country that has just started venturing into dolphin trade,” he said. Perhaps they’ve just woken up”.

He further said that activists never provided data on the number of dolphins killed by activities of bigger fishing companies overseas.

The Solomon Islands government has imposed a 25 percent export tax on each dolphin.

The Minister said each dolphin is priced approximately at US$200,000 in the Dubai market.

Source: GCU

PM Sogavare happy with Summit and Taiwan visit as he flies into Honiara this afternoon

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare arrives back in Honiara this afternoon after attending the 2nd Taiwan-Pacific Allies Summit in the Marshall Islands and a brief visit in the Taiwanese capital of Taipei.

Mr Sogavare who is currently transiting in Singapore for Honiara said he was deeply pleased with the outcome of the summit and the Taipei visit.

He said the Taiwan-Pacific Islands annual summit was a valuable forum to the development of Solomon Islands.

The summit held last weekend concluded successfully with the signing of a declaration by the Taiwanese President, Chen Shui-bian and the leaders of his six island ally countries including Mr Sogavare.

Taiwan in the declaration reaffirmed its deep commitment to assist its developing island allies to achieve a quality living standard whilst the island allies reiterated their continued unwavering support for Taiwan’s bid for admission to the United Nations and other international organizations.

The summit included one-on-one bilateral discussions between President Chan and the leaders of each island ally.

Prime Minister Sogavare used the opportunity of the bilateral meeting to discuss Taiwan’s current development programmes for Solomon Islands and propose new development projects.

One of the proposed projects was the free basic education programme whereby Solomon Islands students would be provided free education from Grade one to Form Three if the request was approved by the Taiwanese government.

In Taipei the Prime Minister’s delegation was taken on a look- and- learn tour of Taiwan’s giant power giant, MOTECH and a thriving tourist resort called the Ocean Leo Resort.

Owners of both MOTECH and the Ocean Leo Resort have indicated their willingness to invest in Solomon Islands upon an official request from the Solomon Islands government.

Source: GCU

European Union launches new development strategies with 13 PICs including the Solomons

The European Union signed Country Strategy Papers with 13 Pacific States in the margins of the 38th Pacific Island Forum in Tonga today. These Pacific States are the first to sign the country strategy papers in the framework of the 10th European Development Fund allocating them €276 (US$394) million for the period 2008-2013.

Three priorities have been set: good governance, sustainable management of natural resources and regional integration.

Louis Michel, the European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, said: "With this signing, the Pacific Islands will be closer to Europe – perhaps out of sight but always on our minds. I am delighted to see that agreed strategies are on the way now for concrete projects for the benefit of the peoples of the Pacific Region".

The country strategy papers signed today set out the Commission’s aid programmes for 13 Pacific States and earmark € 276 (US$394) million for development projects in the fields of sustainable management of natural resources (renewable energy in particular), economic growth and good governance. The European Union’s strategy for the Pacific adopted in 2006 is now on its way thanks to the adoption of the country strategy papers.

Mr Michel also affirmed that the European Union strives to be a 'genuine useful partner' by adopting a more focused development action to address current dominant issues such as governance and regionalism within this region.

The 13 Pacific States in question are: Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Work on the, Fiji and Timor Leste Strategy Papers are under way.

A Special Consultative Session European Union-Pacific Islands Forum is planned for tomorrow with a view to launching an enhanced political dialogue between the two regions. Now the European Union and the States of the Pacific Region can regularly discuss on subject of common interest: political and security issues, trade, climate change as well as social and economic development.

Source: Pacific Magazine

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Pacific Islands Forum leaders endorse work of RAMSI despite boycott from Solomon government

Pacific Islands Forum leaders have endorsed the work of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) as an outstanding example of regionalism.

This comes despite the Solomons Government boycotting this week’s summit in Tonga because it is upset with a review of the mission agreed to at last year’s Forum.

The leaders have endorsed the review saying it would create a more effective RAMSI mission.

The chairman of the Forum, Tonga’s Prime Minister, Dr Feleti Sevele, says he has a commitment that the Solomons will not make changes to the Facilitation Act, which authorises RAMSI’s presence, without consulting the Forum.

“They have given the undertaking to me - a letter from the Prime Minister of the Solomons’ - an undertaking that before any amendments are made to the FIA act [Facilitation of International Assistance Act] and the rest of the legal framework under which RAMSI operates, they will be consulting all the stakeholders.”

It is also understood the Pacific Islands leaders have decided to put in place a process to heal a rift with Solomon Islands Government over the Regional Assistance Mission.

The Forum chairman, Dr Feleti Sevele, says he believes the Solomon Islands boycott of the summit is the result of a misunderstanding or a lack of trust over a review of RAMSI. A Forum Ministerial Standing Committee is to work with the Solomons’ Government to clarify issues surrounding the review, which the leaders believe would make for a more effective mission.

Source: RNZI

New Zealand government to collaborate with Australian counterpart on possible protest against Solomons' export of live dolphins

The New Zealand government says it’s gravely concerned over the resumption of live dolphin exports from Solomon Islands.

Around thirty live dolphins were flown from the Solomons to Dubai yesterday, after a last ditch effort to get a court injunction to stop their export failed.

New Zealand’s Conservation Minister, Chris Carter, says locking dolphins in small pens and transporting them by plane over a long distance is incredibly cruel.

And he says he’s asked the Solomon Island authorities to consider the impact this will have on the Solomons’ dolphin population.

Mr Carter says New Zealand is working with the Australian government to coordinate their protest to the live export programme.

Source: RNZI

North Malaita Constituency MP rep rubbishes peoples' call for him to step down

Member of North Malaita Constituency, Daniel Enele Kwanairara, has brushed aside suggestions from his people to step down from his parliamentary seat.

A group of people from his constituency have requested the government to engage a specialist medical doctor to certify the health of their member of Parliament,

Mr Kwanairara has had a stroke early this year and had been unable to attend the last meeting of Parliament

But in response to those concerns an officer of the Parliamentary Independent Group Office, Wilson Mamae, says Mr Kwanairara missed only on Parliament and not two meetings as stated by the people.

Mr Mamae says the National Parliament Presiding officer was also fully aware that the MP's absence was due to the member being ill.

He says regarding the suggestion for the government to engage a medical doctor to certify the health of the MP, Mr Mamae says the M-P had been checked by doctors.

Mr Mamae says so far there is no medical report to suggest the MP is medically unfit to perform his Parliamentary work.

He says instead the MP has asked his people to be patient and wait for the 2010 national general election to chose a new leader for North Malaita Constituency.

Source: SIBC

Lady Waena helps to publicise Charity Dinner in aid of women's cancers in Solomon Islands

Lady Alice Waena took to the skies of Honiara yesterday in support of Solomon Islands inaugural Pink Ribbon Day which aims to raise funds for fighting women's cancers in Solomon Islands.

The Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) is hosting a gala charity dinner next Monday in support of Pink Ribbon Day where it will auction a helicopter ride as the main fundraising event.

As Patron of Pink Ribbon Day, the Governor General's wife accompanied by her Lady-in-Waiting yesterday took her first trip ever in a helicopter to help publicise the event.

"I am very happy that we are getting such strong support from RAMSI and the community," Lady Waena told local media after the trip.

"Breast and cervical cancer and cancer of the uterus are some of the biggest killers of our women in Solomon Islands so there is a lot of work to be done in this area."

The First Lady's Charity has started to look at how it could raise the funds to purchase expensive equipment needed for the basic diagnosis of such diseases, Lady Waena said.

"Now that we are getting such wonderful support through the Pink Ribbon Day activities, we have a chance to get started on this new initiative."

The Commander of RAMSI's Participating Police Force, Denis McDermott, said he was happy that Solomon Islands was now going to have its own Pink Ribbon Day devoted to raising funds in support of fighting cancer in women.

"It's a great opportunity for everyone to get together have some fun and support a good cause," the commander said.

While enjoying a night of good food and entertainment, ticket-purchasers are also helping to increase awareness of women's cancer and to raise money to fight this terrible disease he said.

"We hope the event can be run at this time every year with all the money raised going to help Solomon Islands women combat cancer."

Traditionally, Pink Ribbon Day has helped to raise money for breast cancer research, but the Solomon Islands event will also include other forms of cancer affecting women.

Guests at the Dinner will be entertained by the Australian Navy Band, a professional didgeridoo player, and a magician from Australia. In addition, guests will be able to bid for several grand prizes, including a helicopter ride for two over Guadalcanal, a pink laptop computer, a bicycle, and various other sporting equipment items.

All tables for the dinner have now been sold but individual donations to Pink Ribbon Day are still welcome. Please contact Louisa Bush on +677 94182 or Jenny Bridle on +677 37804 for details.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Solomons' live dolphin export to Dubai proceeds after court refuses attempt to stop the export

The High Court in Solomon Islands has refused attempts by the environmental organisation Earth Island Institute to file a court injunction to stop the Marine Mammal Education Centre from exporting 30 live dolphins to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

Lawyer acting for the dolphin exporter, Andrew Radclyffe says the court refused an injunctive application, and there is no order preventing the export.

He says the application appears to have been filed in court in the recent past, but the plaintiff had not served his client with notice of the application.

Mr Radclyffe says his client has the right to be represented.

Meanwhile, the 30 live dolphins will be flown out of the country by this afternoon to a marine park in Dubai, onboard two United Arab Emirates DC-10 aircraft.

The two planes touched down at Honiara International airport at Henderson field last night, and loading has commenced since.

The Pacific Director of Earth Island Institute, Lawrence Makili however said the fight to prevent further exports will continue.

Mr Makili says he has a civil suit hearing at the High Court next week.

Source: SIBC

Government's decision to boycott Tonga Forum Leaders Meeting not reached by Cabinet: Insider

The Solomon Star newspaper has reported that the government's decision to boycott the Pacific Forum Leaders meeting in Tonga might backfire on the Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare.

The Solomon Star today quoted a senior cabinet insider as saying that ministers and backbenchers plan to demand a leadership change.

He said the decision to boycott the meetings, now underway in Tonga, was not endorsed by cabinet as claimed earlier.

The cabinet insider said the decision was driven by few individuals including the prime minister.

Deputy Prime Minister Toswell Kaua was quoted as having declined to comment on the issue.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare was in Taipei in the past few days, on the invitation of the Taiwanese government.

Government representatives at the Tonga meeting are the Foreign Minister Patteson Oti and National Planning Minister Steve Abana.

But reports from Tonga say the two men did not attend the Forum Plenary session yesterday, and are also boycotting today's leaders' retreat.

Source: SIBC

Solomons Opposition deplores government decision to skip Forum Meetings in Tonga

The Solomons' Parliamentary Opposition deplores government's decision to boycott the Pacific Islands Forum leaders meeting now underway in Tonga.

Opposition Leader Fred Fono says the boycott proves that Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and his cabinet are not prepared to answer questions from forum islands leaders over the government's attitude towards RAMSI.

Mr Fono says the government's decision is not only shameful, but also disgraceful and disrespectful to forum leaders attempting to strengthen regional co-operation.

He says Solomon Islands cannot afford to isolate itself from Pacific Islands regional organisations who are recognized by international financial and aid institutions.

The opposition leader says Foreign minister Patteson Oti and National Planning Minister Steve Abana should return home because they are not attending the forum meeting yesterday and leaders retreat today.

He says attending the post forum dialogue tomorrow would not mean much because their boycott of the main forum sessions would likely impact badly on their meetings with dialogue partners who have a lot of respect for the forum.

Reports from Nuku'alofa say the Foreign Affairs Minister Mr Oti has confirmed he will not attend the Plenary Session and the Leaders Retreat of the 38th Pacific Forum Leaders meeting yesterday and today.

Mr Oti, told Government Communications Unit that the country's non-attendance follows a Cabinet decision.

It however reports Mr Oti attended several side meetings during his stay in Tonga, including Monday's Pacific A-C-P Leaders Meeting and the M-S-G Breakfast Meeting yesterday.

The Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare boycotted the meeting and over the weekend travelled to Taiwan instead.

Source: SIBC

North Malaita Constituents write to government seeking by-election if medical report suggest MP is unwell for duties

Rural constituents of North Malaita Constituency, on Malaita have requested the government to engage a specialist medical doctor to certify the health of their member of Parliament, Daniel Enele Kwanairara.

Mr Kwanairara had a stroke early this year and was unable to attend the last two Parliament sittings.

In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister, a group of North Malaita people says they want the government to engage a doctor to determine the health of their MP.

The letter says if the MP is medically unfit to perform his Parliamentary roles, then he should vacate his seat so that a by-election would be held for the North Malaita Constituency.

It says it's important for the people of the constituency to have a voice or representative in Parliament.

The letter says the people have been respectful of their MP for the last two consecutive Parliament sittings, hoping that he would recover to perform his duties.

It says only a medical doctor can certify the health status of the North Malaita MP and whether he is fit to perform his duties.

The letter was also copied to the Governor General, Speaker of the National Parliament, Electoral Commission and the Attorney General.

Source: SIBC

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Situations in Solomon Islands and Fiji to top Forum Leaders Meeting agenda today

by Linny Folau, in Nukualofa, Tonga

The situations in Solomon Islands and Fiji are two of the main issues that will be discussed in the Forum Island Leaders Meeting which opens this morning in Nuku'alofa.

Greg Urwin, the Secretary General of the Forum Secretariat, told Pacific journalists last week that there has been a good deal of interest around the region concerning Solomon Islands and Fiji.

He said the Forum has been quite critically involved in supporting the return to democracy in Fiji by working jointly with them for a timeline for the conduct of elections.

"The other main country issue concerns the Solomon Islands and the Regional Assistance Mission RAMSI. Last year the leaders directed us to conduct a review of RAMSI, this has been done and we will report on that to the leaders and seek guidance on what needs to be done," he added.

He clarified that Tonga on the other hand is not an issue in the Forum meeting.

"The fact is Tonga has not been brought to the Forum as an issue. Solomon Islands and Fiji are different because in both cases they came to the Forum asking for support."

Source: Matangi Tonga Online

Environmental group files court injuction against dolphin export in Solomon Islands

The environmental organisation, Earth Island Institute will know by today whether it can halt the export of 30 live dolphins from Solomon Islands to Dubai.

The Pacific Director of the organisation, Lawrence Makili says their lawyer is working on filing a court injunction to stop any dolphin export.

Mr Makili says Solomon Islands will be condemned heavily once it allows the export to proceed which is expected to happen tomorrow.

He says the country has the choice of saving the country’s tuna industry and its two-thousand force or the interest of one individual.

Solomon Islands Marine Mammal Education Centre and exporters confirm that the loading of the dolphins will commence this afternoon and continue tomorrow.

Source: RNZI

Awareness on the invisible work by Rural Women celebrated globally yesterday

A global awareness and information campaign to bring rural women - the world's invisible workers - into the limelight has been celebrated yesterday (15 October) with the theme, "The right to food: rural women produce and provide".

Gender-specific statistics gathered in recent years has confirmed that the majority of poor people in the world are women, and these women are overwhelmingly responsible for feeding hungry men and children, as well as themselves.

They grow, gather and catch the family meals, bring home water and wood, and prepare and cook the food. Where the rural poor get enough to eat, it is most often largely through the efforts, skills and knowledge of mothers, wives, sisters and daughters. Despite this, these women are often the last to gain access to resources, training and financial loans.

In many countries, the plight of rural women is worsening, as young and able-bodied men leave for the cities in search of work. The women left behind struggling to raise families and manage farms alone.

Yesterday provides rural women and their organizations with a focal point to raise the profile of rural women; sensitize both government and public to their crucial, yet largely unrecognized roles; and promote action in their support. Initiatives on how to celebrate this day are left to individual organizations and communities, according to their own traditions and requirements. However, activities or events should be concrete and visible.

It is expceted that this action undertaken by rural and farming women in all parts of the world on the very same day, in a spirit of solidarity and cooperation, would strengthen the impact of the day.

According to a cost-benefit analysis carried out by the World Bank, investment in educating women and girls has the highest rate of return of any possible type of investment in developing nations. Its results include higher productivity, slower population growth, reduced child mortality rates and increased awareness and use of environmental protection measures.

Therefore, unrecognised work undertaken by women in rural areas as agents of change in eradicating poverty must be commended.

Pacific Islands Roundtable Conference on nature conservation and protected areas set for PNG next week

The 8th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas, with the over-arching theme "Conservation serving Communities in a rapidly changing world" will start on Monday next week and run until 26 October in Alotau, Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea.

The conference theme highlights the inextricable link between Pacific Islanders and the natural environment; people and the sustainable use of natural resources to conserve the unique Pacific environment.

It is understood the Conference is a key regional meeting of government agencies, NGOs, community based organizations, and donor bodies to discuss and develop a joint vision for conservation in the Pacific islands.

The regional conference occurs every five years after its inception in 1977 by SPREP(then a programme within the South Pacific Commission) with the support of partner organizations including the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and IUCN, organized the first region-wide forum for discussing nature conservation issues of interest to the Pacific Islands.

The 6th of this series of conferences was held in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia in 1997. It was organized around the theme “Tools for Conservation” and it brought together more than 150 delegates from all levels of civil society including regional and international organisations. Community leaders, scientists, policy makers, donor representatives, NGOs and government representatives interacted and shared experiences, lessons learnt and best practices for achieving nature conservation objectives.

The 7th conference was held in Rarotonga, Cook Islands in 2002. More than 330 people attended and the conference theme of “Mainstreaming Nature Conservation” reflected a desire by the conservation community to work with a broader group of stakeholders to achieve conservation outcomes. This was envisioned as the private sector, churches and the tourism industry to name a few. This conference led to the current iteration of the regional Action Strategy for Nature Conservation 2003 – 2007.

During the 7th conference, Papua New Guinea volunteered and was unanimously supported to host the 8th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas in 2007.

This conference is coordinated by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

Pacific ACP Leaders express need to intensify negotiations of EPA with European Union

Pacific ACP Leaders have expressed the need to intensify the region’s exchanges with the European Union to sort out outstanding issues in the negotiation of an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

The Pacific ACP Leaders from the 14 Forum Island Countries and Timor Leste met in Nuku’alofa, Tonga, yesterday. The Prime Minister of Tonga, Hon. Feleti Sevele chaired the meeting.

The PACP Leaders considered the status of implementation of the Pacific Regional Indicative Programme and progress on the regional programming of the 10th European Development Fund covering the period 2008 – 2012.

They also discussed the progress of the negotiations for the EPA between the ACP States and the European Commission. This included the substantive issues to be considered by the Pacific ACP States in the negotiation and the way forward as recommended by the Pacific ACP Trade Ministers for the successful conclusion of the EPA negotiations.

They noted that a lot of progress has been made but there is a need to intensify the region’s exchange with the EU to sort out issues that still remain to be negotiated.

Of importance to the region was that both parties have agreed that it is not possible to conclude negotiations by December 2007, as initially perceived, and that an Interim Arrangement would be in place until a more comprehensive EPA comes into force. The Pacific ACP Leaders released a Statement on the EPA negotiations and endorsed PACP-EC Declaration on Development Cooperation which will be submitted during the dialogue with the EU on Friday 19th October in Nuku’alofa.

The meeting also noted the good performance of the region in the implementation of the Pacific Regional Indicative Programme (PRIP) under the 8th and 9th EDF. There are currently 17 projects that are in various stages of implementation worth a total of 75.4 million Euros.

The PACP Leaders acknowledged that while there has been some progress, the programming of the 10th EDF is very much linked to the EPA negotiations.

Mr Stefano Manservisi, Director General for Development of the European Commission addressed the meeting.

Source: PIFS

Transparency SI says the government's boycott of Tonga Forum Leaders Summit unwise

Transparency International Solomon Islands says the government’s decision to boycott today’s Pacific Island Forum leaders’ summit in Tonga is irresponsible.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare says his entire government has decided not to take part in the summit proper because it doesn’t want controversy over the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission (RAMSI) to overshadow other important matters on the agenda.

He has also accused Canberra of running a misleading and insulting media campaign against his government.

The Executive Officer of Transparency Solomon Islands, Joses Tuhanuku, says the boycott is unwise.

He said the action of the Prime Minister is both irresponsible and immature.

Mr Tuhanuku said while there may be some disagreement between him and some leaders, it would have been better for him to go and present his position to the leaders of the region.

Mr Sogavare is currently in Taiwan and unavailable for comment.

Solomon Islands is sending its foreign minister and its planning minister to the post-forum dialogue which starts tomorrow.

Source: SIBC

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sogavare explains why he missed the Pacific Forum Leaders meeting in Tonga

Solomons' Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare says his government decided not to attend the Forum Leaders meeting in Tonga because discrepancies emerging from the Forum Review of RAMSI needs to be sorted out first.

The Prime Minister raised these sentiments to this year's Forum Chairman and Prime Minister of Tonga, Dr Feleti Sevele. Mr Sogavare said that Solomon Islands does not want the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) issue to over shadow and deprive the full attention of leaders from other equally important matters of the Forum.

The Prime Minister also stated that his government is insulted by Canberra's ongoing pressure on Forum member countries to oppose Solomon Islands position and intention to review the Facilitation of International Assistance Act 2003 (FIAA) that allows RAMSI into the country.

"We categorically condemn as totally misleading and grossly insulting the ongoing media campaign by Canberra and other foreign agents that Solomons Government is out to destroy RAMSI in defiance of the claim that the majority of Solomon Islanders support their continual presence in the country."

"This is a non-issue as far as the people and government of Solomon Islands are concerned and we are quite surprised that Canberra continues to make an issue out of it," Mr. Sogavare said.

The Prime Minister challenged the Forum to independently take a clear position in its understanding of the partnership between the democratic government of Solomon Islands and the Australian led Regional Assistance Mission.

However, the Prime Minister maintains that the Solomon Islands Government does not need the endorsement of the Forum to pursue the review of RAMSI because the FIAA 2003 empowers Solomon Islands Parliament to do that.

"This is where our commitment and willingness to work with the Forum is taken for granted and we feel insulted," the Prime Minister said.

Source: Solomon Times

Solomons company to export 30 live dolphins to Dubai after ban relaxation by government

It has been revealed that the Solomon Islands will once again engage in the controversial dolphin trade.

Unconfirmed reports have stated that at least 30 live dolphins will be exported to the Middle East as early as this week.

The exportation of these dolphins comes four years after the last of such shipment to Mexico caused international outrage. The then Kemakeza government slapped a ban on the export of dolphins and sought to cancel the license of the company that engaged in the trade.

The dolphin trade picked up again when the current Sogavare government gave the trade its blessing. It is expected that a high-level delegation will be in Dubai to mark the arrival of the dolphins this week.

The Solomon Islands Marine Mammal Education Centre and Exporters Limited said on Friday that the dolphins would be collected from the company's pens on the island of Gavutu and flown to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

Company director, Robert Satu, was quoted in the IOL website as saying that "the dolphins will be flown on two DC-10s that are scheduled to arrive on Tuesday." Satu also revealed that the company has hired a Dubai firm to provide extra security for the animals' arrival, in a bid to deter conservationists from staging any protests or trying to block the shipments.

Although Satu refused to say how much the sale was worth, he said both his company and the government would reap massive rewards. "It's big - bigger than gold or logging," said Satu.

Several international conservation groups, including the San Francisco-based Earth Islands Institute, have continuously urged the government in Honiara to stop the resumption of the live dolphin trade.

Local environmentalist, Lawrence Makili, said that the government should expect some "serious repercussions spearheaded by international environmental groups". Makili also said that the trade may affect the tourism industry which would be very unfortunate "given the fact that it is still re-building its image abroad".

Such threats of international sanctions has not deterred Satu as he is adamant that the dolphin trade could help promote economic development, with local communities establishing their own dolphin farms.

"We've already created the market - they could just follow," he said.

Source: Solomon Times

SI and Taiwan leaders held fruitful talks in Marshall Islands

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and the Taiwanese President, Chen Shui-bian had a fruitful bilateral talk on Saturday in Majuro, Marshall Islands.

Prime Minister's Press Secretary, Deli Oso reports from Majuro that during the talks both leaders re-affirmed their commitment to both existing and proposed cooperation programmes between their two countries including a free trade agreement.

Ms Oso says the existing cooperation programmes are on health, education agriculture, security, environment and culture.

The proposed programmes will be on trade investment and labour mobility and a volunteer service scheme.

A framework agreement was signed earlier this year and one of the terms was for a joint consultative meeting between the two foreign ministers of Solomon Islands and Taiwan to review the cooperation programmes.

Speaking after the bilateral talk, Prime Minister Sogavare said he was happy with the outcome of his meeting with President Chen.

Mr Sogavare said Solomon Islands embassy would follow up on the issues they discussed.

He said Taipei had already agreed in principle to the proposal and the next step was for both parties to set a time frame for negotiation of the terms and conditions for an agreement.

Source: SIBC

Solomon government seeks support from Taiwan for free basic education programme

The Solomon Islands government is planning for the introduction of free basic education in the country.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare says the government had requested Taiwan to fund the free basic education programme at an annual rate of three-million dollars until such time when the government was financially capable to take on that responsibility.

Mr Sogavare says the Taiwan had taken aboard the request for consideration and the responsible Solomon Islands officials will follow up that proposal with Taipei through the Taiwanese Embassy in Honiara.

He says the volunteer service scheme would see the deployment of Taiwanese volunteer service personnel in Solomon Islands hopefully next year.

Mr Sogavare says the agreement on the labour scheme would be signed before the end of this year.

He says once the agreement was signed, the government would proceed into negotiating for employment for Solomon Islanders in skilled jobs with potential Taiwanese employers.

The Prime Minister says it was important that the labour agreement cover health insurance for the welfare of Solomon Islanders employed under the scheme.

Meanwhile, Mr Sogavare and his delegation departed for Taipei yesterday with the Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian for a two day visit before returning to Solomon Islands.

Source: SIBC

Huni'ehu criticises SI Government's flagship BUA Policy

Solomon Islands Opposition spokesman for Finance Edward Huni'ehu reiterates the government's Bottom Up Approach (BUA) concept lacks a well defined policy base.

In a statement, Mr Huni'ehu says only a well defined policy base can be used to attract donor partners to provide collateral financing with the government.

However, he says because there is no well defined policy, the B-U-A concept is only a tool to make the rich become richer and the poor to remain poor.

The East Are'Are M-P says it was regrettable that such a flagship policy concept was announced and introduced to the people of Solomon Islands before developing a policy and structural base for its implementation.

Mr Huni'ehu made the comments in response to the new minister for Rural Development Clement Kengava, who, upon his appointment, said the B-U-A concept is the government's core policy for rural development.

But Mr Huni'ehu says the new ministry of Rural Development is a duplication because other government ministries are already and adequately dealing with rural development issues.

The Opposition M-P says the new ministry has no budgetary allocation, and therefore could be sourcing the much needed funds for rural development from contingency warrants.

He says instead of benefiting from the concept, rural people have received nothing but propaganda, and government abusing the status of the rural people for its political survival.

Source: SIBC

Friday, October 12, 2007

Oti briefed on Solomon Islands High Commission Chancery project in Moresby

Solomon Islands Minister for Foreign Affairs, External Trade and Immigration, Hon Patteson Oti, arrived in Port Moresby yesterday for a brief stopover, enroute to Honiara, after attending the United Nations General Assembly Meeting in New York.

He was met on arrival at Port Moresby Jackson’s International Airport by Solomon Islands High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, HE Mr Bernard Bata’anisia.

While in Port Moresby, the Foreign Minister had a first hand briefing on the progress work of the new SI High Commission Chancery Office Complex in Port Moresby by SI High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, HE Mr Bernard Bata’anisia.

The Solomon Islands High Commissioner informed the Hon Minister that the Government has already engaged a PNG Architecture Firm, the Archiscape Group, to work on the design of the new Chancery Building, in close consultation with the Ministry of Infrastructure & Development in Honiara.

Currently work has started on the design of the High Commission Chancery Building and soon a senior officer from Ministry of Infrastructure and Development will be traveling to Port Moresby to consult further with the Architecture Firm on the design work, says High Commissioner Bata’anisia.

The Company is expected to complete the design proposal by the end of the year, ready for submission to the Papua New Guinea Building Board for approval.

Hon Minister Oti later viewed the preliminary designs of the Chancery Building and noted this is a priority project for the Ministry and the Government and is committed to seeing it constructed by first quarter of 2008.

The Foreign Minister later met with the Korean Ambassador to Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, HE Mr Sang Yoon Park where both leaders pledged to work together to strengthen their bilateral relations.

Foreign Minister Oti arrived in Honiara from Port Moresby today.

Source: GCU

PNG's Somare meets SI Acting Prime Minister in Honiara enroute to Forum Leaders Summit in Tonga

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister the Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare today held informal discussions with Solomon Islands Acting Prime Minister Toswell Kaua at Honiara International Airport.

Sir Michael was transiting through Honiara on his way to the 38th Pacific Islands Forum Summit in the Kingdom of Tonga.

Solomon Island Foreign Affairs Minister Patterson Oti accompanied Sir Michael and top officials of the two countries.

The two leaders will transit through Fiji where they will meet other leaders of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) for talks on important issues affecting Melanesian countries.

From Fiji, the leaders will then travel to Tonga for the Forum Leaders Summit which starts on October 16.

Mr Oti joined Sir Michael this morning in Port Moresby after talks with other ACP leaders in Brussels.

Mr Oti and Planning Minister, Steve Abana will represent Solomon Islands at the Forum to replace Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare was currently attending the Taiwan-Pacific Allies Summit in Majuro, Marshall Islands.

Source: GCU

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