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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

We will walk out from jobs on Friday: Public servants

THE telecommunication crisis is yet to be resolved, but another potential strike action is looming.

This time it is the public servants who are planning a nationwide strike this week.

The Solomon Islands Public Employees Union general secretary Paul Belande had confirmed to the Solomon Star that all public servants across the country will walk off their jobs on Friday.

Already word is circulating like wild fire among public employees in Honiara about the upcoming strike.

Mr Belande refused to go into detail about the proposed strike but said there are some issues which are unresolved between workers and the Government.

However, sources within the Government said SIPEU is unhappy with the current Government’s performance and its failure to meet some of its members’ greviences. “One of SIPEU's unresolved claim is on the salary increase,” a source said.

"On top of that the current government miserably failed to fulfill some of its planned obligations which we, the workers, will feel and know if a certain government is not actively driving things forward.”

Sources said even ministers are not performing to the standard expected of them. "Such action would result in officers receiving no directives as to what to do,” a source said.

Sources said workers are expected to walk off their jobs on Thursday. “If the government failed to respond appropriately, then a strike will eventually follow suit on Friday,” a source said.

Solomon Star understands SIPEU had issued a 14-day strike notice to the government a couple of weeks ago to address their demand for salary increase which should lapse some this week.

Source: Solomonstar

Sogavare urge government to use reserve power to end telekom strike

The Parliamentary Opposition has called on the Prime Minister, Dr Derek Sikua to use his reserved powers under the country’s Telecommunication Act to end the telecommunication crisis besetting the country.

Leader of the Opposition Group, Manasseh Sogavare said the crisis has now entered another week and this only goes to demonstrate that the government is not taking a bold stand to resolve the dispute between the striking employees of the Our Telekom Company and the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Martyn Robinson.

Mr Sogavare said the Prime Minister, under the Solomon Islands Telecommunication Act is vested with the power to end the crisis by temporarily taking over Our Telekom Company in the occasion of any public emergency or in the interest of public safety.

The Leader of Opposition suggested that a practical step that must be taken by the Government is to immediately launch a Commission of Inquiry to investigate and establish why it has taken the board of NPF, the major shareholder in Our Telekom Company so long to resolve the industrial dispute.

He said, in the meantime the Government should issue an order for the temporary removal of Mr Robinson and another order for the return of the striking workers so as to restore normal telecommunication services to the nation.

Mr Manasseh Sogavare said the situation warranted a bold decision and action by the Government but it now appeared the CNURA Government has drastically failed in this regard.

Source: SIBC

Friday, June 20, 2008

Increase our wages by forty-nine percent or we will strike: SIPEU

PUBLIC servants are planning a nation-wide strike, a Solomon Islands Public Employees Union (SIPEU) source said.

The source said they were not happy with the Sikua Government’s leadership. He said Public Service minister Milner Tozaka on Tuesday summoned SIPEU General Secretary Paul Belande over the planned strike action.

Mr Belande confirmed meeting Mr Tozaka but declined to disclose the contents of their discussions. He could not confirm, nor deny, the planned strike action his Union was proposing. But the source said SIPEU was unhappy with Government ministers’ performance.

“They are performing below par,” the source said. He said SIPEU had given the Government a 14-day notice to perform and address their demand for a 49 per cent wage increase. The source said the notice will expire next week.

Source: Solomon Star

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Family seek compensation of death cause by RAMSI personel

The Solomon Islands and the Samoan Governments are expected to start discussing soon compensation claims over the death the late 26-year old Hilda Ilibae, a trainee nurse, killed in a tragic road accident last Friday night.

The Police are investigating the fatal accident on the Ngossi road and the involvement of a Ramsi vehicle, believed to have been driven by a Samoan member of the PPF.

Interviews with various sources say that the office of the Director of the Public Prosecution (DPP) will lay charges against the Samoan-Ramsi officer, if the investigating police find enough evidence against him.

It is also understood that there are no provisions, in the Facilitation Act governing RAMSI's operations in Solomon Islands, which prevents the DPP from exercising his power in law to lay charges against the Samoan-Ramsi police officer. The only question in relation to the Facilitation Act will be whether the Samoan police officer will be tried here in the Solomon Islands or in Samoa.

Reliable sources have stated that since last Friday's fatal accident the Samoan Government has so far, not requested its officer to be repatriated back to Samoa to await the outcome of the police investigation into the accident.

The Commander of the RAMSI PPF Dennis McDermott and Acting Police Commissioner Peter Marshall met the family of the late Hilda last Saturday and the question of compensation was raised by the family.

McDermott said in a press conference yesterday that he gave an assurance to the family that he would facilitate discussions on the issue of compensation after the funeral, but that it was really a matter between the Solomon Islands and the Samoan Governments to address.

Source: Solomontimes

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Solomon Islands to host first ever Wantok Cup

Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) yesterday named a training squad for the upcoming Wan Tok Cup from July 1 to 7 in Honiara.

This is a tournament between Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.

SIFF General Secretary Eddie Ngava said he is hopeful the first Wantok Cup will become an annual event. "I'm hoping this is the start of regular competition between Melanesian soccer teams.

"We hope this will be the inaugural start of the Wantok Cup when each of the three countries will be having a competition on each of their countries independence days," he told Radio Australia Sport.

"We are hosting the first one here and then at the end of July hopefully going to Vanuatu to help with their celebrations, and then in September, to Papua New Guinea for their independence celebrations."

The three national teams will compete for The Wantok Cup on Jul 3, 5 and 7. Players for the training squad were selected from the Honiara Football Association DJ League, Top 8 and the recent National Club championship.

Those in the squad are asked to attend a meeting at the SIFF Academy 4.30pm today.
This is to explain the strategic plans for training the squad. Besides the players, SIFF also identified four coaches. They are: Luke Eroi, Masuaku Valere, Jacob Moli and Moses Toata.

Source: Solomon star

Parents and fans welcome OFC Futsal champions in delight

Hundreds of fans, supporters and families of the young Kurukuru futsal kings jam-packed the Honiara International airport terminal yesterday morning to welcome home the champions.

It was very emotional and parents were seen crying in delight as they hugged their sons.

The sound of pan-pipe music complemented the cheers from the crowd as the marched the heroes to be met by parents and friends.

SIFF President Martin Alufurai described the boys’ performance as simply awesome and thanked the coaches for a great show in Fiji.

Pastor Seru concluded the brief gathering outside the Honiara International terminal before the motorcade rolled into town to show appreciation to the hundreds of fans who lined the street to welcome the little heroes.

The motorcade terminated at Lawson Tama before the members of the team are picked up by their parents.

Meanwhile, the SIFF and its partners organized a thanksgiving and welcome ceremony for the Kurukurus and Bilikiki beach teams today at Lawson Tama.

A parade by the members of the two teams marched from the Art Gallery to Lawson Tama where dignitaries, families and friends gathered.

The SIFF President Martin Alufurai and the Minister of Home Affairs were among those who were present at the welcome event.

Source: Pipolfirst Network

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Economist challenge Pacific Islands to look towards China rising market

A senior Australian economist has challenged Fiji, and other Pacific Island countries, to work towards 'grabbing' a large portion of the tourist market in China as it is growing dramatically.

Andrew Hanlan of Westpac in Sydney said this was one country with strong rising income and an increasing trend of Chinese tourists travelling abroad, who could very well be potential tourists to Fiji and other countries in the region.

Hanlan said Chinese tourists to Australia had continuously increased over the years recording a market share of 15 per cent.

On the other hand, he said the number of Australians traveling abroad had increased sharply with expectations of the Aussie dollar to stay high over the next year or more.

"Certainly, even though I think Australian consumer spending will be a little more subdued, I will still expect to see a lot of Australians travelling abroad," Hanlan told close to 300 delegates at the 36th Fiji Institute of Accountants annual congress, held at the Shangri-La's Fijian Resort.

He said a lot of Australian tourists travelled largely to Fiji and Oceania countries in the region, and the market shares by these Pacific countries had been fairly stable.

"There are more Australians travelling abroad, so there are certainly opportunities. I think the challenge for Oceania and Fiji in the region is to try and capture a bigger share of that as well," Hanlan said.

He also highlighted the rising income in China.

"There is a massive change in the mix of people coming to Australia. And if we look at arrivals of our tourists to Australia from abroad, we see that China has risen. The number of arrivals has increased by 15 per cent last year," Hanlan said.

"So, arrivals overall, fairly sluggish in Australia, no big surprise but China, it's a massive growth market so you really need to be doing business with China not just in terms of exports, but they have got rising incomes," he explained.

"You can also see the market share of (Chinese) people coming into Australia as tourists has increased quite dramatically and that will continue to grow. Whereas Japan, you can actually see a downward movement.

"So the rising income in most developing economies is really changing the pace for growth," Hanlan said.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Pacific Crime Center moves from Fiji to Samoa

PAPEÉTE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, June 9, 2008) - The Pacific Transnational Crime Coordination Center has been moved from Fiji to Samoa due to what Internet news sources described as "political instability" and "political uncertainty" in Fiji.

The new center has opened in Apia, Samoa, after having been based in Suva, Fiji for the past four years, reported on its Web site on Sunday (Saturday Tahiti time).

Fiji’s geographical location in the Pacific made it an ideal location and the decision to move out was premature, Ema Mua, public relations officer for the Fiji Police Force, told Fiji Times Online. "They should have known better because Fiji is the hub of the Pacific. We have an international airport and they will always fall back on Fiji."

The center’s board of management decided it had to be moved because of the ongoing instability surrounding Fiji, Tim Morris, assistant commissioner with the Australian Federal Police told ABC Radio, according to

But when contacted Fiji’s interim government defense minister, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, he said he was unaware of the move and would comment once he had been briefed.

According to Fiji Times Online, the center coordinates the efforts of Pacific Island nations in fighting such transnational crimes as money laundering, human trafficking, drug trafficking and customs laws violations.


Solomon Kurukuru strike eleven against Fiji as they dominate the OFC Futsal qualifiers in Suva

The Solomon Island reasserted their dominance on the OFC Futsal Tournament in Suva last night with a comprehensive 11-6 win over tournament hosts Fiji.

It was a match of two contrasting styles, Solomon’s preferring the silky smooth passing and dribbling while Fiji looked for the direct route and tried to out muscle their opponents.

It was the most exhilarating match of the tournament and the packed crowd of 2,500 were witness to a match fuelled on adrenaline that saw both teams heading into the halftime break locked at 4-4.

The Solomon Islands regained their lead twenty seconds into the second half when fan favourite Elliot Ragomo found the back of the net after a skilful run.

The Solomon’s quickly piled on another three goals before Fiji could reply and the score quickly escalated to 11-6 and sent the crowd into overdrive.

Goals for Solomon were scored by Micah Lea’alafa (4), James Egata (2), Francis Lafai, Elliot Ragomo (2); Jack Wetney and Jenan Kapu.

Kamal Hassan scored a hatrick for Fiji alongside two goals from Mira Sahib and one from Alvin Avinesh.

Solomon Island Coach Victor Wai’ia was elated with the result and was happy with the discipline his side showed.

“We sticked to the game plan today and everyone was very committed. The crowd support gives our players such a boost and helps them out so much.”

“I encourage them to entertain the crowd but also remind them that they have to concerntarte for the full duration of the match.

“There are some defensive areas we still need to work on, but tonight I am happy, so far so good.”

Source: OFC

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Club Championship final between Makuru and Koloale ends in dispute

The Our Telekom National Club Championship grand final between Makuru and Koloale ended in dispute last night after a nail biting penalty shoot-out.

Referee Andrew Moli's controversial decision on one of the penalty shots sparked the argument.

Neither of the teams scored in the 90 minutes or the extra 30 minutes. Koloale's Jeffery Bule's penalty shot was the subject of controversy. His shot hit the inner post before rebounding. While the kicker and those standing by saw the ball went in, referee Moli ruled otherwise. But later, he changed his decision and declared that a goal to Koloale. This angered Makuru players who argued the referee had already made his ruling and that should be final. The penalty shoot out ended with Koloale scoring 5 to Makuru's 4.

Police and match officials had to intervene to calm the tense situation. Because of the dispute, there was no presentation of prizes yesterday. Instead the issue will be brought before the SIFF disciplinary committee today to decide on the winner.

The winner should receive $20,000 and the right to represent the country in the regional O'League.

Source: Solomon Star

Monday, June 09, 2008

Solomon Islands' National Futsal record second win over New Caledonia

The Solomon Islands survived an early scare to establish themselves as both the crowd pleasers and tournament favourites of the OFC Futsal Championships in Suva after a resounding 8-5 win over New Caledonia.

New Caledonia got off to the best possible start scoring two goals in the opening eight minutes through Alexandre Rosso and Edouard Muraccioli. But it was the Solo boys who dominated the possession, shots on goal and the crowd support and the 1000-strong crowd was brought to life as they equalised and then went ahead just before halftime with two goals from Moffat Sikwa’ae and a converted penalty kick from Elliot Ragomo.

Solomon goalkeeper Alick Lioka was shown a straight red card for his foul play on New Caledonia’s Jerry Iaruel but reserve goalkeeper Stanley Puairana saved spectacularly from the resulting penalty.

The Solomon’s came out of the second half buzzing and three minutes into the second half they made it 4-2 with a great strike from Jenan Kapu. Jack Wetney added to the tally two minutes later and New Caledonia pulled one back through Marcias Gino Rene in the 32nd minute.

The last two minutes produced a flurry of goals as both sides decided to go for all out attack. Ragomo got his second with two minutes remaining before a late Micah Lea’lalafa double in the last minute.

Then it was New Caledonias turn and two goals to Yvan Pourouoro in the last 50 seconds created an entertaining end to the match.

Solomon Island coach Voctor Wai’ia was expecting a hard game and was impressed with the approach his side adopted. “The boys didn’t settle down very quickly and I feel that we fell into their way of playing in the opening half.

“But the second half was different and we found our rhythm. We will try to find that rhythm quicker as we take Fiji tommorrow.”

New Caledonia coach Eric Michalak was in admiration of the way the Solomon team played. “They play with speed and great movement. We were well organised in defence but they were too quick at times.” “There was so much time left on the clock when we went up 2-0 that I knew it would be difficult.”

Source: Oceania Football

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Rural Constituency Development Fund (RCDF) is politicised: Roughan

The Rural Constituency Development Fund is being misused by politicians now campaigning to retain their seat in Parliament at the 2010 national elections.

Roughan said that the sole purpose of the RCDF when the late Solomon Mamaloni introduced it was to act as an initiator for the RCDF to provide support for the people living in rural areas to help them trigger any business activities they want to venture into in Agriculture, Fisheries and other economic activities to stimulate their rural economy.

In an interview with Dr Roughan he said that any idea for the CNURA Government to change the purpose of this funding so that politicians can be directly involved in the decision making process on how this funding must be utilize is a broad day light robbery because politicians will use this funding for campaigning purposes.

Roughan said it’s a common knowledge and cannot be denied by the people of this nation that the RCDF has been used by politicians as free hand outs for things like school fees, buying of coffins and other personal needs for the people and this is total political scoring of points to gain massive support in their constituencies for the national elections.

He said that politicians want to stoop deep their hands into the RCDF because they will use it for their own purpose rather than to allow rural people to take control of the RCDF. One of the classic examples of how politicians have misused funding for the rural people was when the Development Bank of Solomon Islands was emptied by politicians in the early 90’s

In the 90’s when people arrived in Honiara to apply for projects through the Development Bank of Solomon Islands for the funding allocated for rural people, they were unable to get help because politicians had already used up available funds for loans with the DBSI. He said that it is obvious today that some leaders in the government become Million airs because of this RCDF.

There is an increase of funding for rural people and if politicians continue to involving in this RCDF after their four years term in government some politicians will become Millionaires. It is common that since the establishment of RCDF for each constituency receives SBD$1000, 0000, 00 and yet some people still complain because there is no tangible economic development found in their constituencies.

Source: Peoplefirst network

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Earthquake strikes near Makira this morning but no reported damage

Reports from HF radios nearest to the epicenter of a 6.2 earthquake at 0320am today near west Makira say there are no damages, landslides or high waves.

The reports were received from Ngarigohu clinic on Anuta Island and Tarainua clinic at Rumahui village as well as Tawaraha clinic and Tetere in the west Makira constituency.

The National Disaster Management Council says the reports were received through relays from the Kira Kira hospital.

Waimapuru school in Central Makira and west Rawo have also earlier reported feeling the quake but there were no damages.

Despite the above reports the NDMO is still on standby through HF radio to monitor and receive further information, if there are any.

Source: SIBC

Club Championship semi-finalists to be determined after today's final pool matches

Four clubs will advance for the semi-finals in the Telekom Club Championships currently held in Honiara after the final pool matches today.

Today's fixtures will see FK Kokohale FC taking on Uncles in Pool A, Makuru against Fasi Roos of Malaita Province in Pool B and Koloale against Banika Bulls of Central Province, also in Pool B.

In pool A Kossa has already secured its semi-final berth after its 4-1 victory over FK Kokohale yesterday. Marist will wait for the result between Kokohale and Uncles today to know its fate. A win by Kokohale with a small margin will give Marist a chance, while Uncles only need a draw to advance to the semi-finals from pool A. Kokohale must beat Uncles 4-0 if they are to have any chances.

In pool B Makuru are in a better position to top the pool after defeating Vatu FC of Guadalcanal 7-1 yesterday. A win against Fasi Roos today at 12midday will put them at the top of pool B while Fasi Roos also need a win to go through. Koloale also needs to beat Banika Bulls to secure a semi-final berth.

In another fixture yesterday, Uncles thumped Landowners FC 8-1.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Former politician fear lawlessness as price jump high

Former M-P for East Kwaio Alfred Sasako warns of a possible public disorder in the not too distant future if ever increasing prices of goods are not controlled.

Mr Sasako says the possibility of theft, robbery and other offenses related to high costs of goods will increase.

He suggests that the government establish an independent body to receive, analyse, approve or reject any increase of prices on goods and services.

Mr Sasako says this body should be given powers to investigate and prosecute companies that increase their prices without the approval of the body.

He says companies should apply through this body for any increase of goods and services they provide.

Mr Sasako says the body should absorb the functions of the Price Control unit because the Unit seems not to be working to the best interest of the public.

He says many people in urban and rural areas are being affected by continuing increases of prices.

Mr Sasako says workers don't normally get salary increases while goods prices are increasing on a daily basis.

He says people in Honiara are even finding it harder now after bus fares were increased to five dollars.

Source: SIBC

Opposition leader suggest intiatives to deal with price rise in the country

Opposition Leader Manasseh Sogavare calls on the government to address the continuing increase in the price of rice head on.

Mr Sogavare says although the World Bank has initiated actions to address the global increase of food commodities, the government should initiate and put in motion domestic actions to stabilise the price of rice.

He says many people living in urban centres who cannot make gardens depend heavily on rice.

Mr Sogavare says the government has been very silent on the issue.

He suggests that government should take alternatives such as the nationalisation of the importation of certain important commodities, resort to building large scale rice farming, seek other rice buyers from Asian countries instead of Australia.

"A quick solution to this would be to look for an alternative source of rice. Right now we are importing the bulk of rice from Australia. The exchange rate is very killing, we cannot stuck with one supplier of rice. You need to look at alternative sources. In our view, infact our knowledge that there are cheaper in Asia. We can immediately stop importing rice from Australia and switch to Asia."

Source: SIBC

Skyairworld Plans daily flight Brisbane-Honiara-Brisbane to boost tourism

SKYAIRWORLD plans to launch daily Brisbane-Honiara-Brisbane flights in a boost for tourism and added competition for national carrier Solomon Airlines.

Brisbane-based SkyAirWorld is also introducing Solomon Islander cabin crew on its flights as the airline wars heat up. Chief executive David Charlton said: “We will shortly be announcing a revised timetable with daily services to Honiara – which will make SkyAirWorld the only airline offering departures direct to Brisbane seven days a week."

“Our weekend services are performing very well and schedules are constantly under review.” SkyAirWorld switched to evening flights Fridays and Sundays. This included tapping into the market of people wanting to spend weekends in Australia or Honiara.

The daily service is expected to start once newly recruited cabin crew complete training. “Our locally-recruited Solomon Islands cabin crew are … expected to be flying in the coming weeks,” Mr Charlton said. “We also plan to recruit additional Solomon Islands staff in a few months.”

SkyAirWorld has been operating five flights a week Brisbane-Honiara-Brisbane using a 76-passenger Embraer 170 jet. It also has a 94-passenger Embraer 190 which it has used on some Honiara flights.

Solomon Airlines flies Brisbane-Honiara-Brisbane four times a week using bigger Boeing 737 planes. It earlier reintroduced Solomon Islander cabin crew.

If Nauru’s Our Airline maintains its twice-weekly services it will mean three airlines and 13 Brisbane-Honiara-Brisbane flights a week. That makes this the competitive route in the islands.

Mr Charlton’s disclosure of planned daily flights comes after two other announcements. These, the airline said, underscore its long-term commitment to the Solomon Islands and boosting tourism here.

NUMBER ONE: SkyAirWorld has applied for a certificate to operate domestic services.
Mr Charlton confirmed this is now much more than the earlier plans for services on to Munda from Honiara using the E170 jet.

It would involve SkyAirWorld having its own turboprop planes here and flying from Honiara to such possible destinations as Gizo, Munda, Seghe, and Auki.

“Subject to approvals and aircraft availability, we plan to commence operations in the second half of 2008,” he said.

NUMBER TWO: Mr Charlton said SkyAirWorld now seeks to develop one or more 50 to 100-room resorts.

“We have an active dialogue with a number of parties, including the government, to secure land for this purpose. Once access to land is confirmed, further plans will be announced,” he said.

“The creation of large-scale tourism infrastructure will mean the creation of potentially hundreds of local jobs, community involvement as well as access to hospitality training.”

Source: Solomonstar

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