To'abaita Authority for Research & Development (TARD)

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Thursday, July 31, 2008

RAMSI presence in Solomon Islands cannot end soon due to social conditions there: new study

By Michael Field

A leading American political philosopher and economist is warning that the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) which includes nearly 100 New Zealand soldiers and police cannot end any time in the foreseeable future because of social conditions there.

The alert came in a paper by Professor Francis Fukuyama of John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

I a World Bank study, Professor Fukuyama says an exit strategy is not possible because RAMSI had made short term progress.

"The militias responsible for the violence earlier in the decade have been disarmed and disbanded, and the formal criminal justice system has been functioning to identify and punish those responsible for serious crimes," he wrote.

"On the other hand, the social conditions that led to the violence persist in ways that make it impossible to consider ending RAMSI's presence any time in the foreseeable future."

A very large Malaitan population remained on Guadalcanal and there was a significant population of jobless and disaffected young people in the settlements around the capital Honiara.

Professor Fukuyama said the most troubling indicator of potential future problems was the Solomon's police which, in the short term was RAMSI's chief success.

The militias had grown out of the Solomon's Police as they were more loyal to their ethnic group or wantok (extended family) than to the Solomons as a whole.

"It is not clear that any progress has been made in changing this mindset," he wrote, adding there were still many officers in the police who were involved in the conflict and have not yet been purged.

Professor Fukuyama said one of the striking gaps was "the absence of any sense of national identity" in the Solomons.

"In the absence of a long-term nation-building project owned and promoted by the country's political leadership, I am at a loss to understand how the country will ever overcome the divisions that led to the 1999-2003 violence.

"Ethnic and wantok loyalties will never disappear, but they can be held in check by a national elite that is loyal to a larger concept of nation. At the moment, I don't see any dynamic that would lead the country in this direction."

Few people were willing to admit to actively thinking about an exit strategy or are able to contemplate even a rough date for termination of the mission and handing back the currently shared state functions.

"RAMSI is thus operating under rather fictional premises, namely that at some point the country's capacity will improve across the board to the point that RAMSI can be withdrawn."

Professor Fukuyama argues that the region needed to give up the idea that RAMSI was a crisis response and should move to sharing sovereignty over the state and keeping the current monopoly it has on lethal use of force.

While RAMSI had dealt with the immediate issues, "there is no dynamic process that that will permit RAMSI to wind down at least a residual security role any time in the foreseeable future".

Source: Manawatu Evening Standard

Police Ward Off Attack With Warning Shots

Members of the RAMSI Participating Police Force P-P-F advisers were forced to fire two warning shots on the Weathercoast on Tuesday.

Police Media office says the PPF advisers were assisting local Police officers in the arrest of Robert Tatave from Veravolia Village who is wanted in connection with a series of murders, abductions and arson attacks in 2003.

The S-I-P-F officers with assistance from the P-P-F arrested Tatave and were waiting for the arrival of a RAMSI helicopter to transport him to Honiara.

But the media office says that whilst waiting for the helicopter, a group of people surrounded the police and began to throw rocks at them.

It says the police officers were outnumbered and were being hit by the rocks and in danger of suffering serious injury.

In order to preserve the safety of the officers and of the man in their custody, each of the P-P-F advisers fired one warning shot from their service firearms.

The warning shots dispersed the group and stopped the rocks being thrown at police.

Acting Commissioner of Police, Peter Marshall, said he is disappointed members of the community acted aggressively towards the police.

Meanwhile, during the attack on police, Tatave escaped from custody.

He was still handcuffed at the time. The police media office says a warrant remains in force for Robert Tatave’s arrest.

Source: SIBC

Parliment Pass Correctional Services Act

An amendment to the Correctional Services Act has been passed, which enables foreigners serving prison terms in Solomon Islands to apply to serve or complete their terms in their home country.

The Bill seeking the amendment was tabled by the Minister for Police, National Security and Correctional Services, Samuel Manetoali today, and was passed in its Third reading.

It seeks changes to section 74 of the Correctional Services Act.Under the change, a foreigner serving a term of over three months may apply in writing to the minister to be transferred to his country of citizenship to complete the term.

It also requires a written consent from the relevant government of his country of residence.The Amendment also include that if the minister is satisfied with the application, an agreement must be signed with the prisoners relevant authority and the Minister responsible for Correctional Services.

It also states that after an agreement is signed, the Commissioner of prison shall apply to a judge for an order to effect the transfer.Under the changes, the cost of transfer would be paid by the prisoner.

Source: SIBC

Fiji presents reguregu to Solomon's delegation at the Arts Festival as a show of respect for our dead

The Fijian delegation participating in the Festival of Pacific Arts presented their i reguregu to the Solomon Islands delegation for the passing of one of the members on Sunday.

The reguregu was led by the Deputy Secretary for Education Filipe Jitoko, the Director for Heritage, Culture and the Arts Peni Cavuilagi and the Tui Macuata Ratu Aisea Katonivere (High Chief of Macuata Province).

"Reguregu" is a Fijian traditional ceremony whereby people visit the family of the deceased to pay their respects. They also present gifts. The delegation presented mats and a tabua on behalf of the people and the government of Fiji.

According to the Fiji Arts Council chair, Michael Denis, the Kabu ni Vanua meke group moved the ceremony with their singing.

"The ceremony was very short, we presented our reguregu, the mata ni vanua spoke to the Solomon Islands delegation and the Director of Education spoke on behalf of the government," Mr Denis said.

He added that the Solomon Islanders did not expect the visit from the Fiji delegation and that they were very grateful.

George Garry 47, died on Sunday morning from what is believed to be cerebral malaria. Mr Garry was one of two wood carvers in the Solomon Islands delegation.

His body will be flown back with his contingent on Friday.

Source: Fiji Times

Solomons magistrate based at Auki charged with corruption

An Auki (Malaita's main twon) based Magistrate in Solomon Islands has been charged with corruption.

A statement from Chief Magistrate Leonard Maina confirmed that David Wale has been suspended from performing official duties as a magistrate since the allegation were raised in January.

The charge relates to a case of selling liquor without license case which went before Magistrate Wale on the 28th of December last year.

It has been alleged Magistrate Wale heard the case and convicted the accused, Yan Jian, before ordering the sale of sixteen cartons by auction and the other sixteen to be returned to the accused.

It was alleged that during the time, Wale obtained two hundred dollars and two ten kilo bags of rice from the shop owned by the accused.

Magistrate Wale has been charged and the case is before the Central Magistrates Court.

In his official statement, Chief magistrate Leonard Maena said every citizen of the country is subject to the law and when charged for committing an offence, will have to face the law or go to court like everybody else.

Source: RNZI

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

RAMSI congratulates Vanuatu on their National Day

The Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands Acting Special Coordinator, Dr Jonathan Austin, today congratulated the people and government of Vanuatu on the occasion of their National Day.

Dr Austin wished the Vanuatu officers serving with RAMSI well on their National Day and thanked them on behalf of the other 14 contributing countries of RAMSI for their valuable work to help rebuild the Solomon Islands.

Dr Austin said that the experience and cultural background of police members from Vanuatu enhanced the work of RAMSI’s Participating Police Force capacity building role.

“We are all under one Pacific umbrella. As a member of the Pacific Islands Forum, Vanuatu is sharing its experience and ideas to help strengthen the Solomon Islands and build a peaceful, well-governed and prosperous country”, Dr Austin said.

The head of the current group of Vanuatu police officers serving with the RAMSI Participating Police Force, Terry Tulang, said that Solomon Islands culture and customs are quite similar to Vanuatu.

“At our pre-deployment training in Australia, Solomon Police officers told us about the culture and custom of Solomon Islands, the history. They told us about the importance of respect, how the community works and things like that. For me, coming from Vanuatu, a lot of these things are very similar to home.”

With over 27 years policing experience in his home country and as part of the 1998 Bougainville peace monitoring mission, Mr Tulang is committed to helping police establish good working relationship with communities. In Solomon Islands he has been working together with the Solomon Islands police community relations team in all aspects of community policing.

“What we want is Solomon police to go out more to establish good relationships with communities”, he says.

“We sit down and talk with the community, about the role of the police, about the law and encourage them to set up crime prevention units. This can help the community deal with problems when they come up”, Mr Tulang says.

There are currently five police officers from Vanuatu serving with the mission.

The countries that make up the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands are Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

Source: RAMSI

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Strong earthquake hits Solomon Islands near Makira

An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.1 has struck off Solomon Islands at around 8:40am this morning, but there have been no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The undersea quake struck about 135 kilometres east of Kira Kira on San Cristobal Island, 295 kilometres west of Lata, Santa Cruz Islands and 370 kilometres east-southeast of the capital Honiara at a depth of 52.8 kilometres. The eartquake location was 10.582°S, 163.146°E.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii did not issue an alert.

Last year, an 8.0-magnitude earthquake in the western Solomons triggered a tsunami which killed more than 50 people and displaced thousands.

Sources: USGS & RNZI

Breaking News: Solomon Islander dies at Pacific Arts Festival in Pago Pago

A member of the Solomon Islands delegation to the 10th Festival of Pacific Arts in American Samoa died this morning from a cerebral malarial infection.

Festival co-chairman Fagafaga Danny Langkilde said George Garry, a 47-year-old carver, was pronounced dead at 5:10am today.

Dr Ivan Tuliau of the LBJ Medical Center in American Samoa said the head of the Solomons delegation, Dr. Robert Au, was informed that Garry had severe back pain at 4:05am. Garry then began having seizures, and emergency medical personnel were called to Tafuna Elementary School, where the Solomons delegation is housed.

Tuliau said EMS personnel declared Garry dead.

Tuliau said the disease is not contagious, and Garry likely contracted the malaria before arriving last week with the Solomons delegation on a charter flight from Honiara. Tuliau said the mosquito that transmits malaria is not found in American Samoa. He said Garry's death was an isolated case, though all members of the Solomons delegation are being checked for symptons of malaria.

Garry exhibited no symptoms of the disease before this morning, Fagafaga said.

The American Samoan government, led by Governor Togiola Tulafono and First Lady Mary Tulafono, festival officials and members of the Solomon Islands delegation held a small service for Garry at the LBJ Medical Center chapel at 10 am today.

The Solomons delegation has withdrawn from events today at the festival, which ends on Wednesday. Fagafaga said the festival organizing committee, in conjunction with the Solomons delegation, was determining today how active the group would be for the remainder of the event.

The Solomon Islands will host the next Festival of Pacific Arts in 2012.

Tuliau said Garry's body was being held at the LBJ Medical Center morgue.

Fagafaga said the American Samoan government has provided a casket and appropriate clothing for Garry's body. He also said a member of the American Samoan Cabinet, and a festival official, will accompany Garry's body back to Honiara.

The Solomons delegation is scheduled to return home on Monday, August 4, by a charter flight. Fagafaga said the schedule is being reviewed.

Source: Pacific Magazine

Parliment Meeting Adjourns Again

Solomon Islands Parliament has been adjourned yet again following a brief meeting.

This follows what is understood to have been typing errors in two government bills for tabling in the current Parliament session.

The bills were sent back to the printers for correction.Parliament meeting will resume again on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition, Manasseh Sogavare described the adjournment as "pathetic and bad show for the so-called action-oriented C-NURA Government

".In a statement, Mr. Sogavare said that Prime Minister Dr. Derek Sikua's adjournment of Parliament second time in a row yesterday was a concern.

He said that the Parliament had resumed after being adjourned last Thursday only to be adjourned again yesterday until Wednesday.

Mr. Sogavare said that following the first adjournment, "... the Opposition Group was expecting Parliament to go into serious business this week.

"The Opposition Leader said the adjournments were "a slap in the face" adding "it is a lousy excuse to blame the adjournment on typing errors."Mr. Sogavare said such actions raised the question as to whether the CNURA Government is serious about managing the welfare of this nation.

"It is the responsibility of Ministers to ensure bills under their respective ministerial portfolios are ready in time for presentation in Parliament and this really boils down to the coordinating ability of the Prime Minister," the Parliamentary Opposition stated in his statement.

Mr. Sogavare said that prolonging the meeting is also costly for the government to keep ordinary MPs in Honiara for Parliament sessions.Any ruling government must make good use of the time the House is in session, the Parliamentary Opposition said.

Source: Solomon Times

Monday, July 28, 2008

Solomon duo shine in Nelson College FC victory in New Zealand

Solomon Island students at the Nelson College in New Zealand, Joachim Rande and Andrew Abba (pictured in blue), scored a brace of goals each to help their school club beat Redwood Pirates in a "top of the South" match at A&P Park on Saturday.

Nelson College proved too fleet of foot for Redwood Pirates, running out 5-2 winners.

Nelson's high speed attack consistently had Redwood on the back foot as they struggled to keep pace with run-away striker Andrew Abba and equally impressive midfielder, Joachim Rande.

The Solomon Island duo were a consistent threat throughout the match, accounting for two goals apiece.

Abba put College ahead in the 12th minute after a period of sustained pressure while Rande caught the Pirates defence flat-footed in the 26th to race away for College's second.

In the 10 minutes after halftime both Abba and Rande registered their second goals. Rande's effort a viciously slicing shot from 40 yards.

Brendan Lang's 30 yard speculator got Pirates back within 4-2 with 27 minutes remaining but College added a fifth goal soon after to seal the win.

Source: Marlborough Express

Ba remains the Giant

MALAKAI Kainihewe had a special reason to smile last night as Vodafone Ba beat Labasa 2-1 to win the FMF/Blue Gas Battle of the Giants at the National Stadium.

The solid defender turns 31 years old today and the win was an early birthday gift for him. He dedicated the win to his last son, Malakai Junior.

"It's a perfect gift," Kainihewe said.
"I want to dedicate this win to my son, who passed away in May."
It hasn't been a good time for the rugged man, who has had to endure much in the past few months.

He lost his son just before the Fiji FACT. And there were questions raised about his fitness and playing ability in the last month.

However, he put all questions about his playing ability to rest, with a man-of-the-match performance against Vodafone Labasa.
He admitted it was hard for him building up for the tournament, but through the help of the Lord, his team mates and officials, he was able to show what his capabilities are.
"I have had to work, train and also deal with other issues," he said.

"Those were troubling times, but now I can say that I am satisfied with the win."
Kainihewe, who is the younger brother of former Fiji skipper Esala Masi, said those who doubted Ba should know the side was a close unit.

"We are like a family," Kainihewe said.
"The team has a strong bond and that helped us a lot."

Ba skipper Jone Vesikula said the side endured a lot.
"We had a lot of people say things about us, but we knew we could do it," Vesikula said.
"I thank our players for the wonderful effort."

Ba goalkeeper Nicholas Lawrence, who made the switch to the district this year from Lautoka, said there was a special reason for the win.

"Everyone came to the tournament to beat Ba," Lawrence said.

"Ba came here to successfully defend the tournament, and that we have done."
Ba soccer coach Yogen Datt said the side never thought about anyone else, but how they could better with each match.

"When we lost the first match, all thought that Ba was out, but we knew we had it to win the tournament," Datt said.

The side will return back home today, with major celebrations planned for the town.
"We will host a civic reception for the team, as they deserve it, and they have proven alot of people wrong," Ba mayor Pravin Bala said.

Source: Fiji Times

Solomon Islands sworn in new Ombudsman

Solomon Islands now has a new ombudsman after the post was left vacant for nearly two years because of legal complications.

Joe Poraiwai has been sworn into office by the Governor General Sir Nathaniel Waena at Government House.

Mr Poraiwai was recommended for the position in 2006 by a committee comprising the Speaker of Parliament, the Chief Justice and the Chairman of the Public Service Commission.

But the then Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare objected on the grounds that the committee’s decision was biased.

This resulted in the case being taken to court, and the Court of Appeal has finally given its verdict upholding the decision of the Committee.

The appointment of Mr Poraiwai will go some way to solving more than one hundred complaints lodged to the office for investigations by the Ombudsman's Commission.

Source: SIBC

Friday, July 25, 2008

Menapi and Waita triple helped Navua FC to dump Rewa in BOG clash

Solomon Islanders Stanley Waita and Commins Menapi made the difference for the Southern Forest Navua side as it romped to a 3-0 win over Rewa at the National Stadium in Suva last night.

It took only three minutes for Waita to score the first goal while Menapi scored two goals in the second spell

“It’s hard to score goals,” Menapi said.

“Rewa has been physical but I feel great to score twice and as a striker it is very important to score goals. It is through my team mates that I was able to score twice.”

The New Zealand based- player said this is his third year to play in Fiji and I feel great about it.

“My first year I played for Nasinu and in my second year I played for Nadi,” he added.

Source: Fiji Sun

Solomon's Aldrine Kilua stars for Nasinu FC in upset win over Lautoka in BOG Championships

Nasinu’s best moments can be described as a touch of magic by their star striker in Solomon Islander Aldrine Kilua.

Kilua scored the winning goal to upset a star studded Shop and Save Lautoka outfit 1-0 in front of a packed National Stadium in Suva yesterday.

Speaking to SUNsports after the game Kilua said after seeing Nathan Kumar’s cross coming his way the only thing on his mind at that point in time was to score that goal.

“As soon I saw the ball coming my way nothing else was in my mind but to score the goal and I am more than happy for that magic touch that led to the goal,” he said.

“I was confident I will score the goal and since it was the winning goal the memories of it will live in me for a long time.”

The University of the South Pacific’s final student has promised to score goals in the tournament and he is confident that Nasinu would do wonders.

“I will do better than this and hopefully I will score more goals in the tournament.”

It was only 10 minutes into the second half, a Lautoka defender failed to clear the ball from inside their half that saw young striker Kumar capitalised on that blunder before sending a cross kick to Kilua to tap the ball over goalkeeper Sikeli Seva.

Source: Fiji Sun

Totori to be sent home due to knee injuries

The U-S football team, Portland Timbers announced today that forward Benjamin Totori will miss the remainder of the 2008 season due to season-ending knee injuries suffered last week.

Totori ruptured his right medial collateral ligament, M-C-L during training on July 16 – the same knee he injured earlier in the season.

Totori will return to Solomon Islands on Saturday to begin his rehabilitation.

Totori, 22, appeared in three regular-season matches for the Timbers this season. He joined the Timbers in May following the 2007-08 New Zealand Football Championship season with Waitakere United and played in his first two matches with the club before straining his right M-C-L against the Montreal Impact on May 30.

He missed six league games while recovering from his injury, and last played against the Puerto Rico Islanders on July 10.

Source: SIBC

Keep ex-militants off your argument: Fioga said.

A FORMER militant warns leaders against using ex-militants for their own gain.

Andrew Fioga from Malaita sounded the warning in light of claims Opposition leader Manasseh Sogavare is using ex-militants to overthrow the Government.

"I urge both the Government and the Opposition to keep ex-militants off their arguments,” Mr Fioga said.“They have no right to use these young men for their political gain,”

the former Malaita Eagle Force member said.He also called on former militants not to give in to selfish politicians.Mr Fioga said the current political arguments between the Government and the Opposition are taking us nowhere.

"It is not even helping in the peace and rehabilitation process that they talked so much about,”
he said.

He said former militants should never believe or accept what the politicians are promising."From what I am told, various leaders have promised ex-militants $20,000 each as a rehabilitation package.

"How can that be true? There were more than 4000 men involved in the ethnic tension. Where would you get the money to pay us? Such promises are unrealistic and simply not true,”

Mr Fioga said. He said true peace does not come from how much money we spent.“True peace comes only from the heart. Lasting peace can be achieved in our nation when each individual has lasting peace in his heart. Time for fighting and war is over. It’s now time to learn to love and forgive each other,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Fioga said he is finalising a reconciliation ceremony between his family and Guadalcanal Province.

Mr Fioga grew up with his family on Guadalcanal after his father migrated from Malaita.His father was killed during the ethnic tension and the family lost all their properties on the island.He said he got involved with MEF after his father was killed.

Source: Solomon Star

Thursday, July 24, 2008

SIG clears SIEA power utility debt inorder for electricity to be restored in Honiara

The Solomon Islands Government this week stepped in to rescue the Solomon Islands Electricity Authority (SIEA) after its fuel supplier, Markwarth Oil, refused to provide diesel because of outstanding debts.

Markwarth had refused to supply the Authority since Tuesday forcing it to load shed.

A spokesperson for the Authority says there was no power supply throughout the whole of Honiara City yesterday until after 4:30 in the afternoon.

The power was only restored after the Minister of Energy, Edward Hunuehu, and the Authority Board Chairman, Walton Naezon, delivered a cheque for more than a quarter of million US dollars to Markwarth.

Source: RNZI

Solomon's Opposition withdrews motion of no confidence in Prime Minister Sikua

The National Parliament of Solomon Islands says the motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister, Dr Derek Sikua has been withdrawn.

Parliament says the mover of the motion withdrew the motion yesterday. The West Honiara MP, Issac Inoke Tosika, was to have move the motion in the Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, Parliament says the the second meeting for the year which starts today will deal with the main item of business for the first sitting day on Thursday 24 July 2008.

This will be the tabling of the Facilitation of International Assistance Notice 2003 and the subsequent motion by the Prime Minister Derek Sikua to refer the Facilitation of International Assistance Notice to the Foreign Relations Committee for inquiry, review and report.

The Government has also indicated that it plans to bring a total of seven bills to Parliament for enactment in the upcoming sitting.

However, Parliament has yet to formally receive any of the proposed bills.

Parliament says it is anticipated that amongst the proposed bills is the Secured Transactions Bill, the Correctional Services Amendment Bill and the Telecommunication Amendment Bill.

Source: SIBC

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

RAMSI celebrates 5 years of partnership with Solomon Islands

The RAMSI this year is celebrating its anniversary with sausages and sack races, coconut husking and traditional feasts; after five years on the ground, the Regional Assistance Mission is taking its birthday party to the provinces of Solomon Islands.

RAMSI Special Coordinator, Tim George, said that as 80 per cent of Solomon Islanders live in rural areas the mission had decided to mark the fifth anniversary of its deployment to Solomon Islands on July 24, 2003 by hosting 13 RAMSI Community Fun Days throughout the country’s nine provinces.

“The Community Days are recognition of the close and friendly cooperation that RAMSI enjoys with both the government and people of Solomon Islands,” said Mr George who heads the 15 member mission.

None of what RAMSI had achieved over the past five years would have been possible without the trust and support of the people of Solomon Islands.

“From the rapid surrender of guns in 2003 when RAMSI first arrived to the restoration of important institutions of good governance that continues today, RAMSI only works as a partnership," Mr George says.

The Community Days have been organized through RAMSI’s Participating Police Force (PPF) Posts who have formed committees with their local communities to plan special activities including children’s games, sporting competitions, dancing, singing, feasting and BBQs.

T-shirts, banners, posters and special RAMSI Children’s bags are being dispatched across the nation this week along with sporting equipment and food supplies to help make the celebrations full of fun.

Mr George said RAMSI advisers working with their Solomon Islands Police Force counterparts had been amazed by the great response from their local communities.

“The idea of a RAMSI Community Fun Day seems to have really captured people’s imagination and given them a new way to enjoy the partnership that has grown up between RAMSI and Solomon Islands over the past five years,” Mr George says.

“Community leaders have set up working groups, sports activities have been organized and there will be lots of special food from each local area being prepared!” Mr George says.

Each community day will be an opportunity for people to come together with members of RAMSI working in their area and enjoy the spirit of partnership and the theme of ‘tugeta iumi save duim.

Mr George said he wanted to thank each of RAMSI’s contributing countries for their efforts over the past five years in running Operation Helpem Fren.

“The RAMSI partnership is a unique one between the peoples of the 15 contributing countries and the people of Solomon Islands. I think everyone agrees that not only Solomon Islands but the entire region has benefited from this opportunity to work together to help a neighbour and a friend.”

Source: RAMSI

Forum Secretariat Secretary General expresses satisfaction at time in office

The outgoing Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat Greg Urwin has expressed overall satisfaction in his time in the top regional position.

In a message read out at the opening of the pre-Forum session of the Forum Officials Committee (FOC), the governing council of the Secretariat, in Suva, Fiji today, Mr Urwin said: “I would be completely in error not to say that my time in Suva as Secretary General has been a period of enormous satisfaction overall, one for which I can only express my thanks to all of those who made it possible.”

Mr Urwin, who is currently recovering in Australia from illness, has indicated to Forum Leaders his intention to resign from the position of Forum Secretary General after serving four years in the position.

He said for more than thirty years he has had the privilege of working in and through the region.

“That work has taken on a range of issues, much it has been rewarding, some of it has not, as time progressed, more complex and perhaps somewhat having a little less of that joyous quality which our work seemed to first possess.”

Mr Urwin described as critical the establishment of the Pacific Plan and the very broad range of activities the Plan encompasses to the setting up of the Regional Institutional Framework.

“Critical in my absolute view to the business of showing all of our regional organizations to work most effectively and concertedly with each other rather than continue to be prone to pull against one another, something which, despite a good deal of effort on our own part, we remain something of a captive to.”

He said he hoped the establishment of programmes aimed at the direct benefit of those Forum members with the clearest and most specific needs such as the Smaller Island States be further and rapidly developed.

“It has also included in a very integral way, the complex, far-reaching work we have been doing in the area of trade relations, of fisheries, as regards the EU but also as regards PICTA and further down the track the whole issue of PACER. The PACER/PICTA issues, important in themselves will again have, it seems to me, a direct reinforcing effort on the whole effort we are making to strengthen our regional integration.”

The Forum Secretary General also spoke of the critical role the Forum has played in security and political issues including the situation in Fiji, the Regional Assistance Mission in Solomon Islands, election observations and the role these developments have had on the Forum itself.

“Let me conclude by thanking you, the FOC members and the Forum Secretariat for all you’ve done in the service of our wonderful region – it has been an honour and a privilege to work with you all. Let us take this work forward together,” said Mr Urwin

Pacific Islands Forum Leaders will appoint a new Forum Secretary General at their 39th meeting to be held in Niue 19 – 21 August.

Source: PIFS

Commonwealth Deputy Secretary- General Visits Solomon Islands

The Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Ms. Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba will be visiting Solomon Islands for the first time this week, on route to the King of Tonga's Coronation early next month.

Ms. Masire-Mwamba arrives in Honiara today and leaves for Nuku'alofa, Tonga on Friday.

During the week, she will meet with the Governor General of Solomon Islands, His Excellency Sir Nathaniel Waena, Prime Minister Hon. Derek Sikua, Leader of the Opposition Manasseh Sogavare, Speaker of National Parliament Sir Peter Kenilorea, the British High Commissioner Mr Richard Lyne and other dignitaries and community leaders.

Ms Masire-Mwamba will be visiting the Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP) South Pacific Centre on Thursday, July 23.CYP South Pacific Centre Regional Director Ms. Afu Billy said it is an honour to receive a visit from the international leader and extends a warm welcome.

"I sincerely wish her well in her meetings and discussions with the Solomon Islands Government dignitaries and hope that her visit will enhance the sound relations that the CYP South Pacific Centre has established with the government of Solomon Islands and the governments of the other Pacific countries that she will be also be visiting,

" said Ms. Billy. Ms. Masire-Mwamba is one of two Deputy Secretary-Generals to the Commonwealth, and has been in the position for two months. Originally from Botswana, she has held a number of high level positions, including those of Chief Executive of Botswana's Investment Promotion Agency (BEDIA), Group Manager of Corporate Business and Regulatory Affairs for the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation and UK Business Development Manager for the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation.

Source: Solomon Time

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Solomon's Pubic Service Improvement Program to start with appointment of team leader

The government says a new program to improve the public service will lead to better trained workers with the right tools to improve government services across Solomon Islands.

Minister for Public Service, Hon Milner Tozaka, said that the Public Service Improvement Program is a major milestone in rebuilding the public service and a feature of the RAMSI partnership to build a better, well-governed Solomon Islands.

The program will start immediately with the appointment of the program leader, Mr David Nudd. After a long search, the selection committee of the Chairman of the Public Service Commission, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Public Service and the Director RAMSI Machinery of Government Program chose Mr Nudd to be the right person with the best experience.

Mr Tozaka yesterday met with Mr Nudd and said that he looked forward to working with Mr Nudd who is a strong strategic thinker and has a lot of experience of government.

“Mr Nudd has spent many years leading teams in the United Kingdom to improve their public service and more recently in other developing countries where he has proven his ability to work in partnership with Ministers, Ministries, donors and the public to achieve benefits for the country,” he said.

RAMSI Special Coordinator, Tim George, said the Public Service Improvement Program, with its focus on human resource management, is a major step forward for a stronger, more effective government that works for the people.

“Good people are at the heart of good governance. This program will support the public service to recruit, train and manage the right people, into the right jobs so they can better advise government and deliver services to people.”

Mr George said that to improve services, people need to be given the right skills: the skills to plan, the skills to organise and the skills to work together with other areas of the public service.

“This program aims to do this and will work with organisations like the Institute of Public Administration and Management which RAMSI has supported to train government workers of a modern Solomon Islands”, Mr George said.

The Minister warned that helping the public service change the way it works will not happen overnight.

“The RAMSI supported program will run for ten years and will cost SBD$90 million or AUD$13.5 million over the first five years” he said.

At his meeting yesterday with Minister, Mr Nudd said he looked forward to working with Solomon Islands public servants and using his experience to help develop their ability to deliver better public services.

The Minister said the Public Service Improvement Program will start with the Public Service Commission and Ministry of Public Service, and later move out into selected ministries and provincial administrations.

“The program will do some important things for improving the public service like streamline government recruitment, develop a code of conduct for all government workers and provide public servants with the tools to improve public services,” Mr Tozaka said.

Mr Tozaka said that the idea for the Public Service Improvement Program came from a regional meeting of Public Service Commissioners in Fiji.

“They looked at the need to strengthen the public service across many Pacific countries to deliver better government services.”

Mr George said RAMSI hopes that over time the Public Service Improvement Program will see an improved ability to provide government services across Solomon Islands.

“RAMSI is happy that government workers are about to receive the support they need to deliver better services and adapt to a changing world,” Mr George said.

Source: RAMSI

Nike Australia and Jedok donate footwear for Solomon's athletic sprinters to Beijing Olympics

Nike Australia and the Jedok sports centre in Honiara have came to the rescue of local athletic sprinters to the upcoming Beijing Olympic Games by donating footwear for the sprinters competiting in the games.

Athletics Solomon has named Francis Manioru and Pauline (pictured above) to represent the country in the Olympics which will be held from the 8th to 24th of August 2008 in China. The duo will be travelling alongside Wendy Hale and Michael Leong to the games.

It is understood the donated sports shoes were made possible through negotiation by Coach and the PPF Advisor Mr Ian Guyett from who negotiated with Nike Australia.

Source: Athletic Solomons

Naka sends Solomon Bilikiki home in style with victory over El Salvador

Solomon Islands bowed out of Marseille 2008 in style by beating El Salvador 6-3 in the battle for third place in Group B. James Naka headlined the victory, scoring four goals to take his tournament tally to eight.

Naka opened the scoring in the early stages, and he doubled his side's lead 13 seconds after the first restart. Jose Ruiz and Elias Ramirez got on the score-sheet for the Salvadorans in the second period, but Naka added another two to send Solomon Islands out for the last 12 minutes holding a 4-2 lead.

Tomas Hernandez pulled the Central Americans to within one goal of their opponents, but a double from Omo put the game out of their reach.

The win capped off a memorable tournament for James Naka who was undoubtedly the standout player for the Bilikiki Boys.

"We played much better in our final game and I'm really happy with the result. We've had a great experience and it was great to finish the tournament with a victory. We'll hope to do better next year," Naka said.

El Salvador Coach Rudis Mauricio Gonzalez Gallo also had praise for the Solomon Island star.

"I was really pleased with the attitude of my players. The problem today was that we couldn't contain Naka," Gallo said.

Source: OFC

Monday, July 21, 2008

UPNG to start offering Distance Learning courses in Solomon Islands next year

The University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) will next year be offering courses in Solomon Islands following the signing of a partnership between the UPNG and the Solomon Islands College of Higher Education.

The memorandum of understanding paves the way for the setting up of the Honiara Open Campus as part of UPNG’s expansion into the region.

The Honiara Campus director, Hugo Kop, says they will be offering a number of programmes including a Certificate in Tertiary and Community Studies as well as selected diploma and degree courses.

He says the Honiara Campus will be enrolling an unlimited number of students because of its status as a distant learning centre.

Source: RNZI

Australia welcomes Japanese participation in RAMSI

Japanese troops may return to Guadalcanal. But this time, they would come entirely in peace.

As a result of the increased intimacy between Australia and Japan, both in strategic co-operation and aid co-ordination to the South Pacific, Japan has offered to send personnel to assist with the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands.

In an interview with The Weekend Australian, Kevin Rudd hailed the Japan-Australia partnership.

"Japan is already a strong partner for Australia, not only in foreign policy but in development assistance in East Asia and the South Pacific," the Prime Minister said.

Mr Rudd said his Government was committed to increasing strategic co-operation between Australia and Japan.

On Thursday in the Solomon Islands, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith revealed that Japan had offered assistance to RAMSI. Mr Smith warmly welcomed Japan's assistance.

"From a general point of view, Australia very much encourages Japanese engagement in the Pacific," Mr Smith said.

"This is an example which in my view we're keen to encourage, provided we balance the regional architecture requirements of RAMSI itself."

Because RAMSI derives its legitimacy from the South Pacific Forum, as well as the Solomon Islands Government, the forum governments will need to approve Japanese participation. However, such approval is likely to be forthcoming.

It is not yet certain whether Japan would supply military or civilian personnel, although Tokyo is believed to be considering a small contingent from its Self-Defence Forces.

The initial Japanese contribution in terms of personnel would be very small. But the political movement it would represent would be substantial.

Source: The Weekend Australian


Opposition Leader Manasseh Sogavare says he was disappointed that the Ministry of Education had ignored a national project costing nearly five million dollars.

The Opposition leader and the Minister for Environment, Conservation and Meteorology, Gordon Darcy Lilo have had a row over the media about the project.The project is for the supply of computers to selected secondary schools in the country.

Both leaders have accused each other for the failure to deliver 200 computers to the schools to date since payment of four point nine million dollars was made to a local company ANTECH Computers in October last year.

The Opposition Leader says after several enquiries with the Ministry of Education, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry last week said nothing has been done on the progress on the issuance of computers to the schools.

But Mr Sogavare says only Su'u National Secondary school in Malaita province received one lap-top computer under the project.He says 14 other secondary schools in the country listed to receive computers under the project have yet to receive computers.

Mr Sogavare says that four point nine million dollars was paid by the Central Bank of Solomon Islands to the bank account of ANTECH Computers company in October last year.But he says immediately upon receiving the payment the company withdrew 200 thousand dollars.

Mr Sogavare says the Opposition is questioning the transaction.

source: SIBC

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Naka Hat-Trick Not Enough For The Bilikiki Boys

The Bilikiki Boys were overwhelmed 13-4 by Portugal in their second match of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Marseille yesterday.

James Naka scored a second half hatrick for the Solomon Island team but it was not enough to come back from a five goal deificit against a classy Portugal side.
The loss effectively ends the Bilikiki Boys chances of progressing to the quarter finals with only one final game to play on Tuesday against El Salvador.

It was the joint-highest-scoring match in FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup history and Portugal found the back of the net early on through Madja, Alan and Belchior who scored five, four and three times respectively to propel the Europeans to victory.

Portugal led 5-0 at the first break, but Solomon Islands, to their credit, refused to give up the fight and managed two goals of their own in the second, both courtesy of James Naka.
The lively No10 completed his hat-trick in the third period, and Franco Nee also got on the score-sheet, but Henry Koto's side could not contain their opponents.

With six points, and a hugely-favourable goal difference, Portugal are now all but sure of a place in the last eight.

Solomon Island goalscorer James Naka said that his side still had all to play for in their last match against El Salvador.

"It was a tough game for us, it was really hot. Portugal are a really good team. Maybe I scored
my last goal of the tournament today but we will do our best to win our last game," Naka said.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

USP Managers to take pay cut

The University of the South Pacific Vice Chancellor Professor Rajesh Chandra and senior managers have taken pay cuts as part of measures endorsed by the university council to address a deficit budget.

Mr Chandra, who started work at USP on Tuesday, said salaries had been a major issue.
He said the salaries of the managers had been been reduced by 40 per cent while his salary is now 65 per cent over less than that paid to his predecessor.

Despite the reduction in salary, Mr Chandra said he believed "we have to receive modest remuneration when we are being funded by governments that are not doing that well". "I've always believed that I belong to USP. It's an institution where I've given nearly all of my working life and I believe passionately about USP," he said.

Mr Chandra said the council decided it would revert to the salary structure of 2004.
"So we believe now that the issue of those salaries is related to the period of the previous two to three years and is now dealt with and those salaries have been taken back to what they were in 2004," Mr Chandra said.

"Sometimes people could get the impression that the problems in USP were to do with those salaries. The problems at USP are much larger than the salaries of the former VC or the salaries of senior management because we are facing a budget deficit in the order of around $3million.
"There are larger issues at the university to do with the staff in general, the expenditure we have in salaries - we have the issue of large number of courses and programmes some of which are no longer viable."

Mr Chandra said the salary of the previous vice chancellor was agreed to by the council chairman at that time and the VC agreed to the salaries of the senior managers. "It's a difficult time to lead the university but it may also be an opportunity to show what we can do," he said, adding the USP was looking at cutting expenditure by not teaching courses that have small numbers.

He said the 2009 budget would not fund courses that are low in demand and could be low in demand for a number of years.

Source: Fijitimes

Friday, July 18, 2008

Bilikiki put up a brave effort despite losing 4-7 against Italy last night

Italy exhausted a courageous effort from Solomon Islands to win 7-4 in what proved a fitting curtain-raiser to Marseille 2008.

Paolo Palmacci shone for the Europeans, while Gibson Hosea's brace kept the Bilikiki Boys in contention before he was sent off.

The Italians made an explosive start, scoring twice inside the first 71 seconds courtesy of Palmacci and Simone Feudi. James Naka halved the deficit, but Francesco Corosoniti's thunderous volley and a Giusepe Soria strike sent the Azzurri in 4-1 up at the first break. It was 6-4 by the end of the second period, Roberto Pasquali and Giuseppe Condorelli on target for the Italians.

The final 12 minutes proved tight, with and own goal completing the scoring and ensured that Italy went straight to the top of Group A.

Solomon Islands goalscorer James Naka was resolute in defeat.

"It was a very hard game. Although we lost I'm not too disappointed, because Italy are a really good team. It was a great honour to play in the World Cup, and I was really proud to represent my country and my island. It's our ambition to reach the second round and we still believe we can do this."

Italian player Diego Maradona - son of the World Cup winning Argentinian legend - was wrought with emotion after the final whistle.

"This was a very special day for me. I was so emotional to represent Italy, it was very important to me to do this for my mother. I'm still learning beach soccer and I enjoyed today very much, but the most important thing is that Italy win. My dream is for an Italy-Argentina final."

In the groups other match Portugal cruised to an 8-2 win over El Salvador.

Source: OFC

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bilikiki boys set to play Italy in FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup opener tomorrow

The Solomon Islands kick off the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup tomorrow when they play Italy in the opening match of the tournament at Stade du Prado in Marseille, France.

The Bilikiki Boys have been training for the past few days on the sand turf in Marseille to get used to the new environment and team manager Reuben Oimae said the side is fired up for the challenge that lies ahead.

It is the Bilikiki Boys third FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup and their group features Portugal, El Salvador and Italy. The Solomons will need to finish in the top two in their group to progress to the Semi Finals.

The Bilikiki matches are as follows:

* Thursday July 17th, Stade du Prado @ 23.45 (Solomon Time)- Italy v Solomon Islands

* Saturday July 19th, Stade du Prado @ 01.15 (Solomon Time)- Solomon Islands v Portugal

* Monday July 21, Stade du Prado @ 01.15 (Solomon Time)- Solomon Islands v El Salvador.

Source: OFC

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

TARD kicks off partial school fee bursary initiative with North Malaita schools

The To'abaita Authority for Research and Development (TARD) youth volunteer group is pleased to announce the students who have been selected to benefit from the TARD partial school fee bursary initiative for semester 2, 2008 (each worth $200):

Arnon Atomea Community High School
1. Henry Dao (Form 3) - Diula Village
2. Kurt Fioga (Form 5) - Ruagao Village
3. Elizabeth Saeni (Form 5) - Kukuru Village
4. Wallex Rilifia (Form 6) - Rebi Keru Village
5. Rose Morris (Form 6) - Irobuli Village

Anuke Community High School
1. Nathalyn Niulifia (Form 3) - Fulifo'oe Village
2. Constance Musurodo (Form 3) - Manakwai Village
3. Fenton Ara (Form 3) - Gwaiau Village
4. Joshua Ishmael (Form 3) - A'ama Village
5. Lawrence Aelesi (Form 3) - Basakana Village

Ngalikekero Rural Training Centre
1. Green Maesulia (Mechanic) - Malu'u
2. Judson Leafasia (Carpentry) - Kwai Riverside
3. Waleni Aeli (Plumbing) - Fo'ondo
4. Modesta Aevi (Home Economics) - Afufu
5. Lusia Alari'i (Home Economics) - Malu'u

TARD has already paid $1,000 directly into respective school accounts, except for Ngalikekero RTC which requested its allocation to be utilised on school stationaries, to cover for part of the selected students' school fees in semester 2 2008.

Two remaining schools that are yet to forward their selections to the TARD group include Walo Community High School and Bita'ama Community High School.

It is anticipated that for semester 2 2008, TARD will pay out $5,000 ($1,000 to each school) for the four community high and one Vocational centre in North Malaita Constituency. This is expected to assist at least 25 rural school students in the various schools.

The same intake will also be advertised throughout the five schools for semester 1 2009. TARD is very grateful to the supporter of this new community initiative in the education sector.

Monday, July 14, 2008

North Malaitans celebrates country's independence anniversary for first time

North Malaita Constituency celebrated the country's 30th anniversary of independence with feasting and sports.

Lensley Kwaimani reports from Malu'u that this is the first time ever that the people there celebrated the national day in such a way.

He says money allocated by the national government was distributed among the three wards of the constituency, thanks to the North Malaita Constituency Development Officer John Suifalu who was entrusted by their M-P to take the funding down to the people.

The celebrations were held at Fo'ondo for ward 7, at Malu'u for ward 8 and at Loina for ward 9.

Mr Kwaimani says following the celebrations, the North Malaita Council of Chiefs met briefly with the C-D-O Mr. suifalu at Walo Community High School.

He says the meeting was to look at possible change to the constituency's name.

Source: SIBC

Discussion about RAMSI's operation to start in Honiara

The Enhanced Consultative Mechanism meeting E-C-M between the Solomon Island Government, the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands RAMSI and the Pacific Islands Forum will again convene in Honiara tomorrow (today).

This is to be followed by the Forum Ministerial Standing Committee F-M-S-C Meeting, also in Honiara on Thursday.

The meetings are to discuss issues concerning the operations of RAMSI and indicate mechanisms of strengthening relationships between the three parties.

This is the second meeting between the three partners in the Mission this year and since Pacific Islands Forum Leaders endorsed the recommendations of the RAMSI Review Forum Taskforce Report during the Leaders’ meeting in Tonga last October.

Senior officials representing the Solomon Islands Government, RAMSI and four other Forum members will attend the E-C-M Meeting tomorrow, to be followed by a meeting of the Forum Ministerial Standing Committee Thursday.

It is expected that the meetings will receive updates on the operations of RAMSI, updates on implementation of the Pacific Islands Forum RAMSI Review Report and the reporting process for RAMSI Reports to the Forum Leaders.

Furthermore, it is expected that the meetings will discuss the SIG/RAMSI Partnership Framework and work out procedures for collective implementation of this Framework.

Source: SIBC

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Solomon Islanders Celebrate 30th Independence Anniversary

Lawson Tama Stadium in Honiara is packed with thousands of people, many there to witness celebrations marking 30 years of independence.
Thousands of spectators have flocked into Lawson Tama seeking out vantage points, many, in a display of true patriotism, holding little flags.

Garvin, a form three student at Florence Young Secondary School, found a good spot at the Southern end of the stadium hours before the show. "I came here 6am this morning, just to make sure I get the best spot," he told Solomon Times. "This important event only happens once in a year, so I must witness it."

Many boat owners say that business has really picked up in the past week. "In the last week alone I think we have transported at least three thousand people here to Honiara." Being a nation of Islands, more than 200 hundred to be exact, many Solomon Islanders have traveled by boat to Honiara to witness celebrations.

"I am here because of my granddad," said 19 year old Sandra, who had to endure a four hour boat trip to attend the celebrations. "My granddad has been attending all the celebrations since independence...he is now too old so I am doing this for him....and for myself as is all worth it"

Organizers said this year's celebrations will include traditional dancing from all the nine provinces in the Solomon Islands. "We would like to display the diversity of the country to all our visiting dignitaries," said one of the organizers. "Not many countries the World over can boast of such diversity."

Source: Solomontimes

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