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

Monday, March 31, 2008

Kossa triumph over Ba to earn spot in OFC O-League final

Solomon Island champions Kossa FC have reached their first ever OFC O-League final after beating Ba yesterday 4-2 at Churchill Park, Lautoka, in Fiji.

Kossa finish Group B on 8 points, three clear of Tafea FC and have earned a spot in a home and away final against either Waitakere United or Auckland City, depending on their Group A match this Wednesday.

It was the first time that Ba have ever been beaten on Fijian soil in an OFC O-League match and will create mass scenes of celebration throughout Honiara and the Solomon Islands.

Kossa got off to a flying start when Papua New Guinea International Reginald Davani slotted home in the twelfth minute to silence the 5,000 strong crowd. Ba pulled one back before half time through Avinesh Waran Suwamy and created and exciting and entertaining second half.

The joy for Ba was shortlived when Joe Luwi regained the lead for Kossa with a strike six minutes into the second half. Solomon Island international James Naka gave Kossa a two goal buffer in the 75th minute and effectively closed the door on Ba's lingering OFC O-League final ambitions.

The Churchill Park pitch was heavy through the middle and both sides looked to exploit the width of the field to create their chances.

Josaia Bukalidi made one last push for Ba with a goal in the 84th minute but it wasn't enough as Paul Wale made certain the result with a final goal in the 90th minute to make it 4-2.

Kossa will now closely monitor the final game of Group A between New Zealand clubs Auckland City and Waitakere United to determine who they will meet in the 2008 OFC O-League final.

Whoever they face their will be a strong Solomon Island presence in the final with Auckland City defender George Suri or Waitakere United duo Benjamin Totori and Commins Menapi likey to face their fellow countrymen.

Source: OFC

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Malaita has two new Members of Parliament

For East Malaita, Manasseh Maelanga won with 1,106 votes, his second runner up David Toifai Misitomu with 748 votes, third runner up Mrs. Taeasi Sanga with 678 votes.

Winner for the Aoke-Langalanga constituency is Mathew Wale with a total of 1,608 votes.

Other results are as follows: Honiara City Mayor, Alfred Maetia with 642 votes, Chris Mae with 346 votes, Tony Maega'asia with 260 votes, Billy Farobo with 218 votes, Elwyn Maetia Rea with 216 votes, David Carlson Ganifiri with 199 votes, David Mani Manusau with 155 votes and Wilfred Belo with 25 votes.

Twenty-one candidates including two women contested the bye-elections in East Malaita and Aoke Langalanga constituencies.

The bye-elections followed the death last year of two sitting M-Ps.

They were M-P for Aoke Langalanga and a former Prime Minister, Bartholomew Ulufa'alu, and East Malaita MP and former Minister for Public Service, Joses Wawari Sanga.

In related news, two people were reported to have been seriously wounded during voting at Namoia polling station in the bye-election of East Malaita constituency.

A row reportedly broke out between some men from Kwaio and Kwara'ae two hours into voting.

This resulted in two injured men taken to Atoifi Adventist Hospital with serious wounds.

Police who manned the polling station, together with chiefs and elders of the community, brought the situation under control and voting continued until closing time, 5pm, yesterday.

Voting in other parts of East Malaita and Aoke Langalanga constituency was reported to be problem free.

Source: Solomontimes

Friday, March 28, 2008

Two new Malaita members of parliament to be determined today

Two new members of parliament from Malaita's Aoke Langalanga and East Malaita Constituencies will be determined today as counting began in Auki this morning.

Reports from Malaita capital, Auki, stated that voting in the bye-elections for Aoke LangLanga and East Malaita constituencies ended at 5pm yesterday.

The acting director of Government Communication Unit George Herming reported that counting of ballot papers will not start until today morning.

He said this was to avoid any disruptions to the counting process in the event of power failure.

Herming said counting of ballots for both constituencies would take place in Auki.

It is expected that election officials in East Malaita had already brought the ballot boxes across to Auki early this morning.

Meanwhile, Herming added that voting in the Aoke LangLanga constituency was problem free. He said people were excited and were determined to elect their new parliamentarian.

Herming said voter turn out for East Malaita was similar according to accounts he gathered from people passing through Auki from that region.

Results for the two by-elections will not be heard until today afternoon.

Source: SIBC

Solomon's Deputy PM revealed that seven former government appointees still sucking the public purse

Solomon Islands Deputy Prime Minister Fred Fono has revealed that seven political appointees recruited by the former Grand Coalition for Change Government are still on government's payroll.

Speaking in parliament yesterday during debate on the 2005-2006 report of the Public Accounts Committee, Mr Fono said government needs to put in place measures to monitor recommendations contained in the P-A-C reports.

He cited failure to terminate the salaries of the seven political appointees as an example of the Finance and Treasury Ministry not acting on a recommendation from the Prime Minister's Office.

Mr Fono said the seven political appointees have inflated the number of political appointees for which the Opposition Leader had criticised government.

He said Cabinet had made a decision to terminate the contracts of the seven political appointments made by the former government.

Mr Fono said it is important the Treasury acts on recommendations from line ministries by terminating the salaries of staff who are terminated to reflect the position of the current government.

He said the total salary package of the seven appointees is three-million dollars per annum.

Mr Fono said one of them receives a fortnightly basic salary of 13-thousand.

He said another is drawing a fuel allowance of three-thousand a fortnight.

Mr Fono says the Ministry of Finance and Treasury should address this area.

He said the same applies to teachers whose employment had been terminated but are still on the payroll.

Mr Fono said the salary of ghost teachers should be diverted to untrained teachers in the provinces who have been serving for over a year without pay.

Source: SIBC

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Kossa FC equals Tafea in Port Vila as the O-League decider against Ba looms

A place in the OFC O-League final is still up for grabs in group B after Tafea FC and Kossa FC battled their way to a 1-1 draw at Port Vila Municipal Stadium in Vanuatu yesterday.

The result means Tafea cannot progress through to the final but gives a lifeline to Fijian champions Ba who will play Kossa in a must win final group match this Saturday.

Tafea dominated possession and created the better chances in the match but were wasteful in front of goal.

Kossa took the lead in the 40th minute against the run of play when Solomon Island international James Naka glided past two defenders before slotting a left footed shot into the far corner of the Tafea net.

The goal silenced the 5000 strong crowd who knew nothing less than a win tonight would be good enough.

Tafea equalised in the 60th minute when Substitute Francois Sakama scored after Kossa failed to effectively clear the ball in their goal box. Sakama was in the right place at the right time to tuck the ball home and create an exciting final 30 minutes.

But Kossa held on and now sit in the driver’s seat in the group with five points and one game remaining.

Ba head into the final match with three points, two behind Kossa but will have the support of the local crowd at Govind Park behind them. Ba President Rishi Kumar was on his feet for the duration of the match and fisted the air in delight at the final whistle.

Source: OFC

Polling kicks off in Malaita's two by-election constituencies

Polling has started this morning in two by-elections on Malaita Island.

Twenty one candidates including two women are contesting the by-elections in East Malaita and Aoke Langa Langa Constituencies.

The bye-elections follow the death of two sitting Members of Parliament last year.

They were MP for Aoke Langa Langa and a former Prime Minister Bartholomew Ulufa'alu, and East Malaita MP and former Minister for Public Service Joses Wawari Sanga.

Counting of ballots will start tomorrow and results expected later tomorrow evening.

Meanwhile, reports that reached Honiara says boat loads of Honiara-based voters left for the two constituencies last night.

A report from Auki says may voters arrived at the provincial capital by boat from Honiara this morning and some are making their way to vote in East Malaita.

Source: SIBC

Solomon Host completes successful training in Honiara

By Nina Tuhaika

A new local initiative, Solomon Host, which was co-founded by a leading TARD member Mrs Joyce Konofilia Maetoloa has successfully completed a week-long training in Honiara.

Reports from the Solomon Host headquarter in Honiara said that the "very successful training", completed last Thursday, attracted eleven participants.

"The bulk of the trainees were staff members from SIEA and others from the New Zealand Embassy in Honiara," Solomon Host reported.

The course was conducted after hours from 4-6pm each day to cater for the working trainees.

Solomon Host said trainees have expressed that although the course was very basic, "it has given them new insights and practical skills to do their jobs as front-line people effectively."

Training will continue from 31st March to 4th April.

Solomon Host is a new initiative that strives to improve the quality of services in the Tourism and Hospitality industry in the country.

The initiative is the first of its kind in the Solomons and trainings conducted is recognized by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau.

Source: Solomon Times

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tenaru School scoops inter-secondary school rugby tournament

By Gina Maka'a, Honiara

A two-day rugby inter-secondary tournament for schools in Honiara has been described as successful.

The games attracted various schools in Honiara, but only two teams were able make it to the final.

Panatina field where the games took place was packed with students cheering on teams vying for the first prize.

The final match was between King George VI and Tenaru schools which saw the latter coming out as the champion.

Rugby Development Officer Nick Hatigeva said that the Easter rugby tournament is expected to be held annually once approved by the Rugby Federation Development Office.

"This is to promote rugby to schools in Solomon Islands," Mr. Hatigeva said.

For the senior division, the first price is $800 dollars, second prize $600, third prize $400 and the fourth prize will be $300.

For the junior division, first prize will be $700, second prize $500, third prize $300 and fourth prize $200.

Source: Solomon Times

SI Prime Minister urges Downer to leave Taiwan and Solomon's bilateral relations alone

Prime Minister Dr Derick Sikua says recent comments by Australia's former Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer that Taiwan deals with Solomon Islands on the basis of cheque book diplomacy were unfortunate.

Dr Sikua says Mr Downers comments demonstrates his continuing lack of respect for the sovereign affairs of island countries in the region, including Solomon Islands.

He says bilateral relations between the Republic of China and Solomon Islands are based on mutual respect, understanding and genuine partnership, and not on cheque book diplomacy.

Dr Sikua says Taiwan's funding assistance to Solomon Islands is geared towards the development aspirations of the government and people of Solomon Islands.

He says appropriate measures and guidelines have been put in place to ensure transparency and accountability in how government uses Taiwan's funding assistance.

Dr Sikua says he hopes Mr Downer will find something more appropriate to comment on than on issues that are within the sovereign jurisdiction of independent states and governments.

Source: SIBC

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Solomons Finance Minister to table budget as parliament resumes today

Solomon Islands National Parliament is expected to resume today following its adjournment for the Easter long weekend.

It is expected that the Minister of Finance, Snyder Rini (pictured), will present the 2008 budget in today's session.

Parliament members will be allowed time to study the contents of the draft budget before they comment on it.

It is expected that unless there were difficulties which needs to be amended in certain areas, the budget should be passed before end of the week.

Meanwhile, Government has been spending money from the consolidated fund under a parliamentary resolution to meet its services for the first three months of the year, since January, in the absence of the passing of the 2008 Budget.

Source: Solomon Times

North Malaita's former militant commander sunk old ways at Baptism in Malu'u

Former Malaita Eagle Force Commander Jimmy Rasta Lusibaea has been baptised.

Lusibaea was baptised by Pastor Lemuel Laufilu at Aethawanekao at Malu’u, North Malaita on Saturday last week.

A North Malaita man, Lensley Kwaimani, reports that Lusibaea was baptised at the spot where late Peter Ambuofa landed with the gospel to his people from Queensland, Australia.

Kwaimani describes the occasion as the “Dawn of a new day" for the former MEF Commander, who publicly showed to the world and men the sign of repentance.

Kwaimani said among newly baptised souls were other former MEF members and other young people from the Zion Local Church in Malu'u.

Commenting during the occasion, a church and a Community Elder, Penuel Idusulia said the former militants' baptism highlighted the greatest gift for the people of North Malaita for the Easter, with Jesus dying on the cross for the people.

Mr Lusibaea and the other former MEF members have sought forgiveness from the communities.

The occasion was organised by the Zion Local Church of the South Seas Evangelical Church in Malu’u, North Malaita.

Source: SIBC

Thursday, March 20, 2008

CNURA government to table 2008 national budget in parliament today

Solomon Islands Minister of Finance Snyder Rini is tabling the 2008 National Budget in parliament today.

The Government Communications Unit says the total 2008 budget is yet to be publicly disclosed following a week long scrutiny of ministerial submissions by the Public Accounts Committee last week.

The 2008 parliament session started on Monday with events involving the election of M-P for Northwest Choiseul Clement Kengava as Deputy Speaker of Parliament and a cultural opening ceremony performed by chiefs and representatives of the four main tribes of Guadalcanal Province.

The two events were followed by the speech from the throne from the Governor General, Sir Nathaniel Waena.

Parliament is expected to start debating the budget next week.

Source: SIBC

Draft Federal Constitution for Solomon Islands should be ready by July 2009: Lapli

A final draft federal constitution will be delivered to the Solomon Islands Government next year.

Chairman of the Joint Executive Committee of the Constitutional Congress and Eminent Persons Advisory Council, Sir John Ini Lapli says the time frame for the delivery of draft federal constitution was agreed on in a a three-day meeting of the executive last week.

Sir John says the Joint Executive Committee agreed on a timeline and process to complete the draft and deliver it to the Government by July 2009, but it is too early to set the exact date.

He says the Government has allocated one-point-five million dollars for the recurrent expenditures in the 2008 National Budget.

Sir John says another three-point eight million dollars has also been allocated under the Development Budget for the Constitutional Reform Project.

Meanwhile, he says the Secretariat of the Constitutional Reform Unit in the Prime Minister's Office will soon launch an awareness program to update the public on the progress of the constitutional reform in the media.

Source: SIBC

RAMSI celebrated with Solomon Islands women to mark their international day

The women of Solomon Islands have a crucial role in shaping the country’s future RAMSI Special Coordinator, Tim George said yesterday.

Speaking at a special women’s breakfast hosted by RAMSI and other local sponsors to mark International Women’s Day, Mr George said he wanted to congratulate the many women in Solomon Islands who were already playing a major role shaping this nation’s future.

“I’d like to congratulate all of you here today who both in your personal and professional lives make such an enormous contribution to this nation,” Mr George told the more than 150 women from all walks of life who attended the breakfast.

Every one can be a leader the keynote speaker, Commander Charmaine Quade said in her address.

One of Australia’s most senior ranking police women, Ms Quade, who was recently appointed the national commander of the Australian Federal Police Protection Service, outlined the qualities of a good leader.

“Leadership is not about self-confidence, it is about having confidence in those you work with, and about how the leader builds that confidence.”

“We all know our personal limitations and how far to push ourselves. Leaders need to know that about themselves and the people they lead.”

Ms Quade said that success as a leader comes from something even rarer: “bringing in people who think differently to you and allowing them to challenge you.”

“We should all feel pride that in the skilled hands of an inspirational, emotionally intelligent leader, who happens to be a woman, and is supported by a team of skilled people, we can in fact achieve changes.”

One of the areas where this is most pressing is in the area of domestic violence Ms Quade said.

A new video against domestic violence co-produced by the Solomon Islands Police Force and RAMSI’s Participating Police Force was also screened for the first time at the breakfast.

Officially launching the video, the Secretary to Cabinet Ruth Liloqula said it was important for the community to work together to eradicate domestic violence.

“We need to give back women the rights they enjoyed at birth to live free of fear and without violence," Ms Liloqula said.

The breakfast was attended by women from Solomon Island NGO’s, churches, diplomatic missions, media & business sectors and senior women in government and the public service including the Governor General’s wife, Lady Alice Waena and the Prime Minister’s wife, Doris Sikua.

They were hosted by senior women from RAMSI participating countries including from the military, police and civilian arms of RAMSI.

It was co-sponsored by RAMSI with the Australian High Commission, New Zealand High Commission, GPPOL, Solomon Telekom, National Provident Fund and the Mendana Kitano Hotel.

Source: RAMSI

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Australia promotes Human Rights in Solomon Islands

The Australian High Commission in Honiara is pleased to announce its support to the Social Welfare Division, Ministry of Health and Medical Services, to raise awareness of Human Rights in Solomon Islands logging communities.
High Commissioner Peter Hooton with Mr Aaron Olofia, Director of the Social Welfare Division(Source: Photo Supplied).

The Social Welfare Division was one of eighteen human rights projects announced yesterday, funded by Australia internationally under the Human Rights Small Grants Scheme (HRSGS) 2007-2008. Continuing its long-standing support for practical human rights initiatives, the Australian Government will provide funding, totalling over AUD1.2 million, to support a range of local organisations across the Asia-Pacific region.

"Through our support for grass-roots initiatives we will help people realise their human rights and enhance understanding of international human rights norms, such as gender equality, freedom of expression and the rights of children and people with a disability" the Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance, Hon Bob McMullan MP, said yesterday.

In Solomon Islands, Social Welfare Division received AUD45,000 (SBD289,400) for assisting communities to engage logging companies in addressing the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) in Solomon Islands.

High Commissioner Peter Hooton expressed strong support for the project at the handover to Mr Aaron Olofia, Director of the Social Welfare Division. "Australia is pleased to support the Social Welfare Division's protection and promotion of human rights at the community level. Promoting human rights by encouraging a strong civil society is a high priority for the Australian Government" he said.

Mr Olofia, on behalf of the National Advisory Committee on Children, the Committee dealing with CSEC, and Social Welfare Division, expressed his sincere appreciation for the assistance of the Australian High Commission. CSEC is a problem worldwide. In Solomon Islands, the issue has been highlighted in two recent reports in by UNICEF, UNESCAP and ECPAT, and by the Christian Care Centre.

The Australian funding will provide for the development and delivery of a workshop for stakeholders involved in addressing the commercial sexual exploitation of children in the Solomon Islands.

Australia also supports human rights through bilateral, regional and global aid programs. These programs focus on activities promoting good governance, access to justice, gender equality, child protection and the combating of people trafficking. The HRSGS projects will complement Australia's development assistance work and give tangible support to Australia's international human rights efforts.

Source: Solomon Times

US Embassy in Fiji announces scholarship opportunities for 2009-2010 studies for Pacific Islanders

The United States Embassy in Suva has announced the Fulbright Scholarship and Humphrey Fellowship opportunities for the 2009-2010 academic year to interested citizens of the following eligible Pacific island states: Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

Fulbright Foreign Student Program is a competitive award that aims to bring citizens of other countries to the United States for Master’s degree or Ph.D. study at U.S. universities or other appropriate institutions.

The program has brought some of the world’s finest minds to U.S. campuses and offers program participants insight into U.S. society and values. Many foreign Fulbright grantees are early-career professionals who will return to take leadership positions in their home countries, often working at universities or in government service.

In addition the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program provides ten months of non-degree academic study and related professional experiences in the United States. Humphrey Fellows are selected based on their potential for leadership and their commitment to public service in either the public or the private sector.

The Humphrey Program fosters a mutual exchange of knowledge and understanding about issues of common concern in the United States and the Fellows’ home countries. The Program offers Fellows valuable opportunities for leadership development and professional engagement with Americans and their counterparts from many nations.

Humphrey Fellowships are awarded competitively to candidates who are mid-career professionals in many fields, among them:
 Agricultural Development/ Agricultural Economics;
 Communications/Journalism;
 Substance Abuse Education, Treatment and Prevention;
 Economic Development/Finance and Banking;
 Educational Administration, Planning and Policy;
 HIV/AIDS Policy and Prevention;
 Human Resource Management;
 Law and Human Rights;
 Natural Resources and Environmental Management;
 Public Health Policy and Management;
 Public Policy Analysis and Public Administration;
 Teaching of English as a Foreign Language;
 Technology Policy and Management;
 Trafficking in Persons, Policy and Prevention;
 Urban and Regional Planning.

Basic Eligibility Criteria:

 an undergraduate (first university) degree,
 a minimum of five years of substantial professional experience,
 limited or no prior experience in the United States,
 demonstrated leadership qualities,
 a record of public service in the community, and
 strong English skills.

Interested individuals are to submit written applications together with copies of detailed CVs and a list of at least three referees. Application deadline is July 1, 2008.

All applications must be marked either “Fulbright Scholarship” or “Humphrey Fellowship” and forwarded to:
US Embassy
31 Loftus Street
PO Box 218
or by email to

Applicants resident in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, should forward their applications to:
Douglas Street
P.O. Box 1492
NCD Port Moresby
or by email to

More details on the application forms can be downloaded from US Embassy Suva

Solomons GG warns against economy’s reliance on logging

The Solomon Islands Governor General has warned Members of Parliament how insecure the country’s economic base is.

In his address at the opening of parliament, Sir Nathaniel Waena said the days of logging being the foundation of the country’s wealth are numbered.

The Solomons economy has flourished in the last few years largely on the back of investment and employment in the logging sector.

But Sir Nathaniel said that if the country didn’t take up new sustainable livelihood opportunities, its economy and the standard of living for Solomon Islanders would decline significantly.

“Harvesting logs are fast running out. In less than five years we expect that the logging industry will no longer exist. Only if our people have the capabilities to take up new opportunities will we successfully meet this challenge.”

Sir Nathaniel Waena said the Solomon Islands must develop a new flexible economy with a broader-base of industries.

He said fisheries, tourism, oil-palm and mining are some of the industries that can flourish in the country.

Source: RNZI

Pacific Islands Forum announces 39th Leaders' Summit dates in Niue

The 39th Pacific Islands Leaders’ Forum and related meetings will be held in Niue in the week of 18th August 2008.

The dates were confirmed following consultations between member countries.

The official opening of the 39th Pacific Islands Forum will be held on 19th August to be followed by the Plenary Session. The Forum Leaders’ Retreat will be on 20th August.

Smaller Island States Leaders’ and Pacific ACP Leaders’ meetings will also be held in conjunction with the Forum Leaders’ meeting.

The 20th Post-Forum Dialogue Partners’ Plenary Session will be held on 21st August.

The Pacific Plan Action Committee, Pre-Forum Forum Officials Committee and Smaller Islands States Officials’ Meetings are also confirmed for 21 – 22 July, 23 – 24 July and 25 July respectively. These meetings will be held at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in Suva, Fiji.

Source: PIFS

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

'Miracle Mineral Supplement' launched by Rhema Church in Honiara

Dubbed the 'Miracle Mineral Supplement' or MMS for short, this new supplement promises to kill malaria parasites within two hours, cure cancer, TB and many more of mankind's worse diseases.

The MMS has reached the shores of the Solomon Islands with its recent launching at the Rhema Family Church in Honiara last week.

The mineral supplement is produced by Jim Humble a metallurgist, gold prospector and chemist. In his website, Jim Humble states that this breakthrough can save lives. The formula is a simple health drink that had already been used for years for other reasons. Jim drastically improved the effectiveness by adding a few drops of vinegar to the drink. Since that time thousands of cases of many different diseases have been treated with complete success.

Mr Humble also has a book that gives complete details of his work. It also has a chapter, written by Dr. Hesselink, listing over 160 scientific papers describing more than 100,000 scientific tests using essentially the same formula that Jim used and still uses. These tests verify all of Jim's basic concepts covering mostly data concerning malaria.

Pastor David of the Rhema church said that the MMS caused uproar in Africa when it was introduced to the people there. He said pharmaceutical companies that produce Chloroquine knew they would be out of business and have threatened the government of Africa to stop Africans from buying the mineral supplement.

The MMS is said to be quite popular amongst the Rhema church community since its launching, many more are expected to follow.

Source: Solomon Times

Monday, March 17, 2008

Taiwan offers seven new scholarships for 2008 undergraduate studies

The 2008 Taiwan Scholarship to study in Taiwan has been available. The scholarship is for a full-time undergraduate degree studies and open to seven students of Solomon Islands between the ages of 18 to 40 years to apply for.

Taiwan Scholarship is one of the scholarship programmes provided by the government of Taiwan to the students of Solomon Islands. There were six awarded last year.

The scholarship will offer each awarded student a maximum of five years of study. This includes the first year of required Mandarin language training, and subsequent four years of bachelor degree study.
Students also get a round-trip economy airline ticket and about US$1000 monthly.

Completed application forms should be submitted through the National Training Unit of the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development.

The deadline for all applications is Friday 31 March. Application forms are available from the National Training Unit of the Ministry of Education and Human Resource. More information in detail is on the website of the Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) in Honiara.

Areas of study include:
1. International Sustainable Development Programme
2. International Management and Business Administration
3. Taiwan Studies
4. Agriculture
5. Horticulture
6. Animal Science
7. Food Science
8. Biotechnology
9. Aquatic Bioscience
10. International Workforce Education and Development
11. Aquaculture, Resource Science, and International Cooperation
12. International Management and Business Administration in Technology Management.

Source: Solomon Star

Friday, March 14, 2008

SI needs to involve women more in development: SPC rep

Joy Basi

A representative from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Mrs. Mia Rimon, stated that more can be done for the women of Solomon Islands and the region.
Mrs. Rimon was speaking during a ceremony held at the cultural village to mark International Women's Day.

"Pacific Island communities need to take ownership of financing gender equality initiatives...this can be best achieved by combining regional and national schemes," said Mrs. Rimon.

Mrs. Rimon stated that recent reports have revealed that domestic budgetary support for gender related activities totaled 1 % or less of the total budget of most Pacific Island countries.

The study also highlighted how government agencies, responsible for gender equality programmes, have been struggling to implement them due to limited technical capacity and budgetary support.

To gauge perceptions 'on the ground' on the issue of gender equality, Solomon Times took to the streets and found some interesting thoughts on the issue.

Kimmie Oeta, a betel nut vendor, stressed the importance in involving women in development activities "because they are part of the community...and it would help build our economy."

"It is important for us to step ahead with our governments help because our regional partners really involve their women," stated another.

Others were less receptive, "it is a good idea, but we must be sure that we develop them where it matters, not just education, but life skills...not all can participate through formal employment," stated one mother.

Source: Solomon Times

CNURA govt lied to the people with its stand on political appointees: Opposition group

The Opposition Group in Parliament has described the Coalition for National Unity and Rural Advancement Government as hypocrites for failing to live up to its promises.

The Opposition Group was responding to revelations, at the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC), on the number of political appointees employed by the Coalition for National Unity and Rural Advancement Government.

The Secretary to Cabinet, Mrs. Ruth Liloqula, at yesterday's sitting of the PAC, revealed that the government has increased the number of political appointees from 11, as it initially announced, to 20.

The Opposition Group said that the government had the privilege of deciding the number of its political appointees, but the fact that it had announced to the nation that it would reduce the number of political appointees, from the last government's number of 24 to 11, was a bad reflection on itself.

The Opposition Group said that for the sake of transparency and accountability the government should give the names of their political appointees, along with their salary and entitlements, to the print media for publication.

It said the names, salary packages and entitlements of political appointees of the former Grand Coalition for Change Government had been publicized the Solomon Star last year and so it saw no reason why the political appointees of the current government should not be subjected to the same level of accountability and transparency.

Source: Solomon Times

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Haomae commends Japanese assistance towards Malaita's Auki township projects

Solomon Islands Minister for Foreign Affairs William Haomae and Japanese Charge'd Affairs Mr Akira Iwanade yesterday signed exchange notes in Honiara as a start towards the construction of a new Market center and a Jetty in the Malaita Provincial Capital, Auki.

The Japanese government is funding the two projects worth over SBD$2.2 million. Mr Iwanade said the Japanese Government is pleased to provide a grant aid for the detailed design of the two projects.

Another exchange of notes for the implementation of the projects will be signed towards the middle of this year.

The Auki market and Jetty projects are aimed at expanding opportunities for rural people in the province to generate cash income and to improve the flow and exchange of goods and people with Honiara and other provinces.

"The Market is to improve marketing and distribution conditions of local products in Malaita Province and goods traded from Honiara and to improve movement of customers, products and vehicles.

"By the same token, the construction of the Auki Jetty will secure the safety of vessels and passengers and will improve movements of passengers, cargoes and vehicles," Mr Iwanade said.

He said the two projects will contribute to Malaita Province's economic and social development for every Solomon Islander.

Mr Haomae praised the Japanese assistance and stressed that the Coalition for National Unity and Rural Advancement (CNURA) Government will continue to work closely with donor partners to ensure its rural development policy objectives are achieved.

Source: Solomon Times

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Australian High Commissioner to SI responses to Sogavare's comment on Australian aid

The Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, Peter Hooton has said that recent reports of comments made by the Leader of the Opposition, Manasseh Sogavare, had understated the value of Australian aid.

Mr Hooton says that while it was pleasing that Mr Sogavare had welcomed the Australian Prime Minister's announcement of additional assistance to Solomon Islands over the weekend, the reports of his comments greatly understated the value of Australian aid to Solomon Islands.

He says Australia's combined bilateral and regional commitments to Solomon Islands on development-related activities are close to one and a half billion dollars per annum in 2007-08.

On Saturday, Mr Rudd announced an estimated additional 20 million dollars would be provided this year for rehabilitation and maintenance of rural roads.

Mr Hooton says Australia's bilateral aid to Solomon Islands was this year expected to be 183 million dollars but with the additional funds the estimated total for Australia's bilateral aid this year is about 203 million dollars.

He says Australia will also provide about 10 million dollars for the construction of shelters in communities affected by the April 2007 earthquake and tsunami.

In addition to this, Mr Rudd pledged an additional 65 million dollars next year to support work in priority areas including infrastructure development, health, technical education and reforestation.

Mr Hooton says bilateral aid is separate from Australia's funding of RAMSI.

Source: SIBC

Pacific youth professionals commence Future Environment Leaders Forum in Fiji today

The future environment leaders of the Pacific are currently participating in meeting which started today in Suva, Fiji for the second annual Pacific Future Environment Leaders Forum, examining the link between leadership and community resilience to climate change.

The Forum is a leadership initiative for young professionals from government, the private sector and NGOs working in environmental sustainability in the Pacific and will focus on this year’s theme ‘Building resilience to climate change,’ a critical issue for Pacific island countries and their communities.

40 young professionals from around the Pacific, who have been selected for their dedication and contribution to environment and sustainable development, attend the Forum, which aims to build the capacity of young Pacific islanders to facilitate adaptation projects to reduce vulnerability to climate change in their own countries.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) is pleased to co-convene the conference, as it helps to arm young Pacific islanders with the necessary information and tools to make intelligent leadership decisions.

“It is absolutely essential that those whose lives are being imperilled by the disastrous effects of climate change take the lead in adapting to such changes. The region‘s young people stand to bear the brunt of the adverse effects of climate change. Hence it is critical that they assume a leadership role in building resilience, sooner rather than later,” said SPREP Director Asterio Takesy.

Participants will focus on identifying and applying principles of good leadership to address the complex and many-faceted issue of climate change in the Pacific islands.

“Good leadership is the foundation for building a culture of dialogue and information sharing – an essential stepping stone in finding solutions to the climate challenge,” says Professor Kanayathu Koshy, Head of the University of the South Pacific’s Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development (PACE-SD), which is hosting the Forum in Suva.

The Forum, which will be held at Suva’s Southern Cross Hotel, is a joint initiative between SPREP, USP and IUCN with funding from the British High Commission, Suva.

The first Pacific Future Environment Leaders Forum was hosted in Apia, Samoa last year. The forum ends on Friday 14th March.

Source: SPREP

Australian Prime Minister congratulates all RAMSI members

The Australian Prime Minister, Hon Kevin Rudd has congratulated all members of Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) police, soldiers and civilians for their efforts in rebuilding Solomon Islands.

Speaking during a brief visit to the mission’s headquarters in Solomon Islands, Mr Rudd said it was the individual efforts of every member of the mission whether they were from Australia, New Zealand or around the region in partnership with the people of Solomon Islands that really made the difference.

“We as politicians and diplomats can agree on a course of action, we can even sign documents but unless you…come into the field and actually do the job, then the brave pronouncements of Prime Ministers end up meaning nothing."

Describing RAMSI as a great example of regional cooperation, Mr Rudd said he wanted to personally thank all those Pacific Islanders who had contributed to RAMSI.

“To our friends from the Pacific Island Forum (countries) can I say this is a wonderful example of cooperation across our great Pacific region… as an arrangement coordinated through the Pacific Islands Forum.”

“As members of the Pacific Islands Forum community of nations, where ever you come from across our region through your participation in RAMSI here, I would like to express my personal appreciation and that of my government, for your work in the field.”

Mr Rudd also made particular reference to New Zealand as a key partner in RAMSI.

“It’s really important for us to be working with the Kiwis around the region and around the world.”

To his own countrymen and women, Mr Rudd said that he understood their mission had been "difficult, challenging work”.

“When we look back at how difficult circumstances were not so many years ago and look at the measures of progress and achievement this is a tribute to your combined professionalism and I thank you for that.”

Mr Rudd said RAMSI would remain in Solomon Islands for as long as it was welcome and for as long as it had a job to do.

“(Based on) my discussions with the Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands, its quite plain to me that we are welcome and that RAMSI is welcome and it continues to do a good job and that will remain the case into the future.”

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, March 11, 2008

Japan denies paying for small state delegates to attend international whaling meeting

Japan has denied paying for delegates from small states to attend international whaling negotiations.

The statement follows a claim from the Solomon Islands that Tokyo had usually funded its attendance at meetings of the International Whaling Commission (IWC).

The Solomon islands' Prime Minister, Dr Derek Sikua, said on Saturday that his country had not attended last week's whaling meeting in London because it no longer wanted to accept Japanese assistance.

He said Japan had usually paid for the Solomon Islands to go, although he did not say how much money was involved.

But BBC reports a senior official at Japan's fisheries agency, Hideki Moronuki, told AFP news agency there was no truth to the claims by the Solomon Islands Prime Minister.

He said Japan has never made any offer at all to pay costs, accusing Mr Sikua of being confused.

Meanwhile, the Japanese Embassy in Honiara will tomorrow sign an exchange note with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade to develop the market and jetty area in Malaita's township Auki.

The signing will be held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Honiara and would be officiated by the Embassy's Charge de' Affairs, Akira Iwanade and Foreign Affairs Minister William Haomae.

Source: SIBC

SI Red Cross dissemination volunteer trainers complete training in Honiara

Nine new dissemination trainers have successfully completed a five days training at the Solomon Islands Red Cross head quarters in Honiara on Friday last week (March 7, 2008).

According to Niniu Oligao (SIRC Dissemination officer) the training was aimed at equipping the dissemination volunteer trainers with dissemination tools which in return will train and give awareness to both external and internal audiences (volunteers, Branch Governing Board, and members) on the Humanitarian Values and Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement Fundamental Principles.

The trainers learnt about the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement Fundamental Principles, International Humanitarian Law, and how safer the Red Cross could access to affected people during armed conflict, whether to apply First Aid, relief distributions, or giving medical attention to those who no longer or not fighting but suffering.

“The trainers were privilege to have various presentations from SIRC personnel who under went diverse experiences in disaster responses”, he said.

In regard to dissemination materials, the participants discussed with him on appropriate materials like posters and brochures which could still be used in their talks in the absence of electricity.

On the fourth day they had a fieldtrip to the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation (SIBC) studio to record a 15 minutes programme for SI Red Cross.

The challenge he left with the new trainers now is their turn to work closely with him through a network had been formulated during the training to effectively spread information of the red cross by speaking on behalf of those silently suffering that make sure their physical and psych-emotional integrity is respected during disasters.

All the participants assured their confidence to do their new task when they admitted their gratitude at the end of the workshop.

Niniu thanked the Australian Red Cross for financially supporting that Trainers training. He said such help was really a noble gift to humanity to discourage their suffering.

Source: SI Red Cross Blog

Opposition leader thanked Rudd for visiting Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands Parliamentary Opposition has thanked Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd for his brief visit to Honiara at the weekend.

Opposition Leader, Manasseh Sogavare says as a responsible alternate Government, the Opposition also welcomes the announcement by Mr Rudd to continue maintain Australia's Assistance to Solomon islands.

Mr Sogavare was referring to the announcement by Mr Rudd saying Australia would increase its current aid level of 80 million dollars a year to 96 million dollars a year.

But while appreciating the assistance, the opposition leader says it is important to distinguish how much of the aid assistance provides realistic benefits to the people of Solomon Islands.

Mr Sogavare says that the normal level of Australian aid assistance to Solomon Islands over the years prior to the arrival of the Regional Assistance to Solomon Islands, RAMSI, was fluctuating between 15 and 16 million dollars a year.

He says the arrival of RAMSI in 2003 saw a big boost to 80 million dollars a year and had continued to be maintained at the same level to date.

"At the end of the day, the assistance they give, about 80 percent of that is spent back in Australia. Some people have referred to it as boomerang aid because of the objectives of the Australia aid policy to Solomon Islands. One is to further their strategic interest, to support their commercial interest and also to protect their national interest."

Mr Sogavare says what the country wants to see is help that provides meaningful improvement in the lives of many ordinary Solomon islanders.

Source: SIBC

Monday, March 10, 2008

"Our Telekom" sends three Apprentice for professional training in PNG

Three Solomon Telekom Graduate/Apprentice students left the country on Saturday 8th March 2008 to undertake a 6 month professional training specific to Telecommunications in Papua New Guinea.

Joseph Maneipuri, Samson Wehi and Nathan Waleiole Jnr are sponsored by Our Telekom to undergo 6 months training in Telecommunications at the Telikom Training College (TTC), in Lae, Papua New Guinea. The students are expected to graduate soon and return with City & Guilds Certificate in Telecommunications.
Three of Our Telekom Apprentice who left for Studies in PNG, from left is Nathan Waleiole Jnr, Samson Wehi, middle and Joseph Maneipuri, right (Source: Photo supplied).

Our Telekom Manager Human Resources and Administration, Mr. Christian Nieng commented that it is important that the company employs qualified employees at a time when the labour market lacks skills specific to Telecommunications.

"We are happy that we are able to send the three candidates under 2008 Graduate/Apprentice programme to study at the Telikom Training College in Lae, PNG," Nieng said.

Our Telekom is committed each year to recruit graduates and apprentices under its current Gradate/Apprenticeship programme.

Source: Solomon Times

Waroi's inspiration enables Solympic to beat Fiji and finished second on the ladder

Three late inspirational goals from the boots of Joachim Waroi and Michael Fifi was enough to shut out the host nation Fiji's chances of finishing the U23 OFC qualifiers on a high note, after being up 2 nil just in the first 23 minutes of play.

With New Zealand’s Olympic berth yet to be ratified by the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) there was added pressure on both Fiji and Solomon Islands to finish as high as possible in this competition to take advantage should NZOC decide not to send New Zealand’s Oly-Whites to Beijing.

Without Benjamin Totori, Alick Maemae or Nelson Sale following Solomon Islands implosion against New Zealand, Fiji team itself was the subject of scrutiny by the media and public desperate for success.

That script appeared to be playing itself out when Roy Krishna – possibly one of the shortest players in the tournament – was allowed to win a header from a corner and blast it into the Solomon Islands net from close range after just 5 minutes.

It’s a feature of Solomon Islands teams and the Solympics team in particular that defending from set-pieces is an Achilles heel exposed by short and tall opponents alike.

As unpalatable as it may be to Solomon Islands fans of how the game should be played - that is with the ball on the ground with quick feet, rather than in the air bouncing around - it is nevertheless a discipline that will have to be digested if Solomon Islands wish to become a more multi-faceted force to contend with rather than a team of technically gifted speed merchants, attractive to watch at times, but without constructive or controlled aggression, or disciplined ruthlessness.

That appeared to accurately describe this latest Solomon Islands performance when Maciu Dunadamu made it 2-0 for Fiji on 23 minutes with a good finish that looked like it could be enough to seal the match given the paucity of resistance offered by Luke Eroi’s cast of stand-ins.

How wrong an assessment that turned out to be. Starting with Joachim Waroi on 27 minutes, Solomon Islands produced a 14 minute period of play the like of which hadn’t previously been seen in 1287 minutes of football.

Waroi’s 27th minute goal threw Solomon Islands a lifeline to a match that looked to have sailed off into the distance and was about to disappear over the horizon.

Within 12 minutes the thrilling Michael Fifi had drawn the game level with a breathtaking individual goal that had been on its way for some time as Waroi and Fifi somehow found a new lease of life. Fifi’s piercing run then stunning long range shot will live in the memory for some time as the travelling fans – down from the local university to support Solomon Islands – were brought to their feet the instant Fifi’s shot struck the back of the Fiji net to make it 2-2.

Fiji barely had time to register its 2-0 lead had gone up in flames before Waroi scored a stunning third to make it 3-2 after 41 minutes.

This was football as it was meant to be enjoyed – a competitive match, no shortage of skill and entertainment - and more drama was just around the corner when the normally placid Joachim Rande put in a crude tackle on Krishna Samy that earned a straight red card from referee Michael Hester.

Down to ten players, it was difficult to see how Solomon Islands could hold out a Fiji team desperate to hang onto any sort of Olympic Games hope in front of a home crowd not easily impressed at the best of times and often derisive at the worst.

Captain Malakai Tiwa – a player that has excelled in every match for Fiji – gave it his best shot alongside a Roy Krishna who has come to life in recent matches but nevertheless looks as if he has played within his abilities.

The remainder of the match was an end-to-end affair as both sides sought to retrieve its respective Olympic hopes with an approach that made for absorbing entertainment. Shameel Rao added to that dramatic equation when he was sent off by Michael Hester leaving both teams with ten players.

3-2 it remained giving Solomon Islands a slim – but unlikely – chance of representing Oceania in Beijing should the NZOC decline New Zealand Football’s ratification as part of the New Zealand Olympic Games effort.

In other matches played yesterday, New Zealand cruised to an expected 8-0 thumping of minnows Cook Islands whilst PNG produced another sterling performance to crush Vanuatu 7-2.

Source: OFC

Friday, March 07, 2008

Solympics sent packing towards Honiara with 2-0 defeat and red cards as Olywhites gear up for Beijing

The much hoped for Solympic side's Beijing dream has been dashed by New Zealand with a 2 nil defeat and two red cards to Solomon's most feared players Alick Maemae and Benjamin Totori, in a controversial match that spells further woe to the Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF).

In a game that exposes how our national players cannot handle pressure of being a goal down, as was witnessed in the recent South Pacific games in Samoa where Solomons lost to New Caledonia accompanied by a red card in the semi-finals, reflects badly on a soccer mad nation.

Coincidently, today is also STOP HIV Day in Lautoka as the United Nations AIDS programme, Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC) and Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) harness the power of football to raise awareness and educate about HIV/AIDS.

In an electrifying start, Totori made a mazy run and lays off to Nawo whose shot was calmly saved by NZ keeper Spoonley.

However, it only took 5 minutes for the Olywhites to break the Solomon's determination with a header that resulted in the first goal for New Zealand to make it 1-0.

Just in the 12th minute, Luke Eroi could sense that all is not well with his team as Alick Maemae was shown a direct marching order through a red card for heavy tackle by Vanuatu referee, Lencie Fred, which angered Solomon supporters at Churchill Park.

At half time the score was still 1-0 in favour of New Zealand. However in the 69th minute, New Zealand's Craig Henderson rifles home a wonder strike from outside the penalty area to make it a resounding 2-0 to New Zealand.

From then the match turned ugly with fouls being committed on a regular basis that eventually resulted in another red card for golden boot contender Benjamin Totori in the 74th minute. At full time, New Zealand were triumphant with a 2-0 victory over the Solympics to book their dominance at the qualifiers and a direct entry to the Beijing Olympics.

As of now, the results of the remaining match between Fiji and Solomon Islands has no significance as New Zealand only have Cook Islands to play which is highly likely that they will calmly overcome.

Kevin Rudd delivers greater goals for Pacific Island nations in Port Moresby

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd yesterday unleased a twenty point declaration in Port Moresby which spelled Australia's committment to assist Pacific Island nations achieve greater success against the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

Included in the Port Moresby Declaration released by the Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in Port Moresby yesterday:
1. The Government of Australia is committed to beginning a new era of co-operation with the island nations of the Pacific.

2. Australia respects the independence of the island nations, and the diversity and complexity of development challenges across our shared region.

3. Economic growth across the Pacific Island nations, while improving in some, generally lags behind other development regions. Progress towards the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals has been mixed.

4. The Pacific has significant natural resources — minerals, timber and marine resources. Managing them wisely and sustainability is a challenge for the region.

5. Australia an the Pacific Island nations face a common challenge in climate change. Many of our Pacific neighbours, especially low lying atolls, are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, including devastation from more frequent an severe extreme weather events.

6. The Government of Australia is committed to working in close co-operation with the Pacific Island nations to meet our common challenges and to raise the standard of living for people through the region.

7. The Government of Australia proposes to pursue Pacific Partnership for Development with our Pacific Island neighbours. These Pacific Partnerships for Development will provide a new framework for Australia and the Pacific Island nations to commit jointly to achieving shared goals.

8. Under the Pacific Partnerships for Development, the Government of Australia will be prepared to provide increased development assistance over time in a spirit of mutual responsibility embracing commitments by the Pacific island nations to improve governance, to increase investment in economic infrastructure, and to achieve better outcomes in health and education.

9. The Pacific Partnerships for Development will be a mechanism to provide better development outcomes for the Pacific Island nations. These Partnerships will embrace.
* improving economic infrastructure and enhancing local employment possibilities through infrastructure and broad based growth;
* enhancing private sector development, including better access to micro finance;
* achieving quality, universal basic education;
* improving health outcomes through better access to basic health services; and
* enhancing governance, including the role of civil society, and the role of non-government organizations in basic service delivery.

10. Working jointly to help the Pacific Island nations meet their Millennium Development Goals will also be a focus of the Partnerships.

11. Australia will increase its practical cooperation with the Pacific island Nations to meet the challenge of climate change and sustainable management of resources.

12. Australia will make a direct contribution to education and training opportunities for citizens from the Pacific island nations - including through the enhancement of regional education institutions and a significant program of scholarships to study at Australian education institutions.

13. Australia is also committed to linking the economies of the Pacific Island nations to Australia and New Zealand and to the world, including through pursuing a region-wide free trade agreement and enhancing other private sector development opportunities. This will help to secure a sustainable and more prosperous future for the region.

14. As we announced in Canberra on February 27, the Governments of Australia and New Zealand will work more closely together and with our partners to co-ordinate our development assistance to the Pacific. Together, Australia and New Zealand provide around $1 billion of development assistance to the region. By working together we can improve the impact of our development assistance and provide better results for the people of the Pacific islands.

15. Australia will also work to increase its co-operation with other donor countries and organizations, and international financial institutions such as the World Bank, including through more coordinated delivery of development assistance programs across the region and joint programs where feasible.

16. Australia is committed to close and strong relationships with our Pacific neighbours and with regional organisations, particularly the Pacific Islands Forum. We are also committed to fostering stronger linkages between Australian, national and regional institutions.

17. Australia’s relationships in the region already have considerable depth across people to people links, economics and trade and government co-operation. But Australia wants a new era of cooperation to begin. The Government of Australia is committed to working with the Pacific Island nations in the basis of partnership, mutual respect and responsibility.

18. Australia proposes that, progressively over the course of the coming years, we negotiate Pacific Partnerships for Development with those of our Pacific neighbors that share this vision.

19. Australia believes that, with long-term commitment and by working towards agreed goals, we will be able to build strong, stable nations.

20. Australia believes that the Millennium Development Goals agreed by the international community at the United Nations Millennium Conference in 2000, provide an appropriate framework for developing nations world-wide, including in our region.

Australia wants to reach a common resolve with the island nations of the Pacific to strive towards greater success against the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

Source: Post Courier

PINA President says they will not petition Fiji's removal from RAMSI

The Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) will not petition the Australian government to remove Fiji from participating in the Regional Assistance Mission in the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) as suggested by a group of Pacific journalists.

President Joseph Ealedona says the removal of Fiji from RAMSI is an issue for regional governments.

PINA is to raise its concerns relating to media freedom and freedom of expression.

Mr Ealedona’s comments followed a front page story in The National indicating the PINA president would present a petition to Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd to remove Fiji from Ramsi. Mr Rudd is currently touring PNG.

“I have formally requested an audience with the Australian prime minister through the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby but it’ll depend on Mr Rudd’s timetable,” Mr Ealedona said.

The PINA president says letters of concern are also being sent to the governments of Papua New Guinea and New Zealand to put pressure on the interim Fiji government to change its hard-line stance against media freedom in Fiji.

“PINA has also written to the Fiji government stating its concern on the deportation of Fiji Sun editor-in-Chief Russell Hunter and has requested that Mr Hunter be allowed back into Fiji.”

Mr Ealedona has at the same time urged the media in the region to approach the matter sensibly and use it as a stepping stone to an all-out effort to strengthen and advocate for a free media that is objective and responsible to the people of the region.

Source:The National

Solomon government keen to develop another township in North Malaita's Suava Bay

The Solomon Islands National Government is keen to develop Suava Bay (pictured) in North Malaita into a commercial township.

Minister of Commerce, Industries and Employment Francis Billy Hilly told people of Suava Bay last Friday that the current Government has agreed on that initiative and called on people to support the plan.

Minister Hilly led a government team including the Premier of Malaita Province Richard Irosaea Na’amo to Suava Bay last Friday on a site visit to the area.

He assured people of the government’s commitment to the project.

The Government Communications Unit reports that the purpose of the trip is to see first-hand the location where the government agrees to open up as a centre for industrial development.

Mr Hilly said the Government has only two years to work and they want to make sure that these words happen.

The Minister explained to people that the centre will benefit them in many ways.

Mr Hilly said at the present people in the are are isolated from commercial centres like Auki and have to travel long distances to access commercial and other crucial social services.

He said the centre will create demand for other development around the place while workers will need commodities that can be produced there.

Mr Hilly said other benefits will include social services such as the presence of police, health and medical care, water and electricity supply and other basic necessities.

Source: SIBC

Batley's lawyer refutes recommendation by SIG government lawyer

Lawyer Andrew Radclyffe who represented the former Special Coordinator of the intervention mission, RAMSI, James Batley, at the April 2006 Honiara riot Commission of Inquiry has submitted that his client be cleared of any breaches of duties and compensations which may have been recommended by the lawyer assisting the Commission.

In his final submission to the Commission on Wednesday, Mr Radclyffe said there is no basis for the suggestion that Mr Batley and the Commander of RAMSI police, Will Jamieson, were in breach of their duties under the treaty, Solomon Islands laws and international laws.

Mr Radclyffe said such recommendation would be a step beyond the Commission's terms of reference.

He said the responsibility for the riots rest solely with the instigators and perpetrators of the riots.

Mr Radclyffe said the evidence before the Commission has not shown any link between the riots and the presence of RAMSI in Solomon Islands.

He said the Commission had noted that the riots were related to domestic political motivation of different individuals and groups.

Mr Radclyffe said the riots could have gone out of hand had RAMSI not been in Solomon Islands assisting the local police.

He said that baseless findings of liability to pay compensation could have adverse effects of deterring states from coming to assist other states as in the case of RAMSI when it assists Solomon Islands.

The Commission of Inquiry is expected to produce its final report at the end of the month on the evidences it gathered during its tenure.

Source: SIBC

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Solomon's government lawyers say Australia should pay 2006 April riot damage

By Evan Wasuka, Honiara

Lawyers for the Solomon Islands government say Australia must indemnify the Solomon Islands government for any possible costs Honiara may be liable for as a result of riots in 2006.

This call was part of a submission from the attorney general's chambers delivered to the Commission of Inquiry investigating the Honiara riots.

Two years after Honiara was hit by two days of rioting that inflicted damage worth more than $179 million Solomon dollars, the issue of liability continues to be a thorny issue. At the heart of the controversy is who should be held responsible for damages, most of which was suffered by the Chinese community whose businesses were looted and burnt.

In a submission to the Honiara riot inquiry, government lawyer Katalaini Ziru says that under international law, liabilities incurred by Solomon Islands should be indemnified by RAMSI.

Mrs Ziru said the liability should be borne specifically by the former head of RAMSI, James Batley and Australians who were responsible for security.

"The head of the visiting contingent must, under international law, indemnify the SIG against any funding by the Commission of any failure to manage and control security, because there are insufficient police and soldiers who are capable of effectively responding to the security situation of April 2006.

"Mr Chairman, I would have refer to our Section 17 provision of the FIA, which includes the country. It is the country, Australia, who nominate the appointment of Mr Batley, not as an individual, but in his capacity as the coordinator of the visiting contingent.

"Mr Chairman we submit that having discussed the points that I've raised earlier, this opinion, this submission concurs with the Council for the Assisted Mission that that - and I quote, the question about ultimate political responsibility must lie with the government of Australia, because under the Townsville treaty it had control of who was appointed as the coordinator of the visiting contingent and who are the officers in charge of the PBF and the CTF. Mr Chairman, we submit that in light of the above, should the commission find that the SIBF, hence the SIG is liable for damages, we respectfully submitt the visiting contingent must indemnify the SIG and thus be liable for payment of damages claimed by victims of the April 2006 riots."

In response to government lawyer Katailani Ziru, Inquiry Commission chairman Brian Brunton stressed that there's danger in this Commission even approaching the subject of saying that certain people are liable in damage but should be left for the High Court to decide on.

The Commission of Inquiry will decide if the submission from the attorney general's chambers will be adopted in its final report which is expected to be published early next month.

Source: ABC Pacific Beat

Australian PM heads off on relation strengthening trip to PNG today and later to Solomons on Saturday

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd (pictured) will make his first visit to Papua New Guinea today and later travel to Honiara to meet the Solomon Islands prime minister Dr Derek Sikua on Saturday.

While in PNG Mr Rudd, his counterpart Michael Somare and other dignitaries will discuss climate change initiatives, the Kokoda Track and the viability of a seasonal migrant workers scheme in Australia.

He may also discuss the possibility of putting Australian police back on PNG streets, after Internal Security Minister Sani Rambi said he would support a revamped Enhanced Cooperation Program (ECP).

Australian police began deploying in PNG under the ECP in late 2003 but around 150 were withdrawn in May 2005 after PNG's Supreme Court ruled their legal immunity conflicted with PNG's constitution.

The failed plan to boost PNG's rundown police force and tackle police corruption was one of several issues to cause problems between the two countries during former prime minister John Howard's term.

Following the withdrawal of Australian police, a small number of Australian ECP officials have continued to work in other PNG government departments such as treasury, justice, customs and immigration.

Mr Rudd's three-day visit is the first by an Australian prime minister to PNG since Mr Howard attended the Pacific Island Forum leaders meeting in October 2005.

The much anticipated tour has seen a city makeover including pothole filling, the erection of scores of new flagpoles and a lick of paint along roads Mr Rudd will travel.

More than 1,000 schoolchildren will take part in a traditional welcome ceremony that also includes a 19-gun salute, guard of honour and traditional dancing.

©AAP 2008

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Today March 6 2008 marks second birthday of the TARD homepage

The To'abaita Authority for Research and Development (TARD), a student initiated volunteer group developed from scratch in late 2005 by North Malaita Constituency scholars at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, marks its second year of providing up to date news to Solomon Islanders abroad through its homepage today, March 6.

TARD which now enjoys an influx of online visitors from around the world first published its homepage on the 6th March 2006. Since then, the site has voluntarily continued to publish up to date information, news and achievements of Solomon Islanders over the last two years.

The number of online hits on the TARD homepage has now reached an average of 120 per day.

However, the most crucial element of the TARD homepage is to aware potential and existing donors about the voluntary work that TARD is trying to pursue for North Malaita communities in terms of making a small difference to the lives of rural people. In addition, since the inception of the TARD homepage it has linked all To'abaita and Baelelea scholars and elites throughout the world to a common avenue of discussion and chatting thus creating a new cohort of friendship and useful long term relationship.

Maemae and Totori doubles move Solympic closer to Beijing with 5-0 thumping of Vanuatu

In a match initially expected to be a close tussle between highly spirited and talented Melanesian neighbours, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands, however turned to be a one sided thumping in favour of the Solympics thanks to a brace of goals from kinpin Alick Maemae and scoring machine Benjamin Totori.

Tagged as the match of the day at Lautoka's Churchill Park, Solomon Islands knew pretty well that they must overcome Vanuatu in order to keep their Beijing dream alive.

In a warm balmy evening in Fiji's sugar city of Lautoka with a start up small crowd, Solomon Islands commenced the onslaught into Vanuatu's territory just as the anthemns were concluded.

It took 38 minutes which saw four yellow cards and a near miss on the crossbar for Vanuatu's Joseph Nimariau before Solomon Islands broke the deadlock through a brilliant shot by Alick Maemae in the 39th minute that gave Vanuatu's keeper Kalnasei no chance. Solomons maintained the 1-0 lead until half time.

The Solympics second goal came in the 55th minute through a superb left foot shot by golden boot contender Benjamin Totori. As Vanuatu were about to fight back, they received further blow with the loss of their number 17 player (Geoffrey Lego Gete) through two yellow cards resulting in a red.

Solomon Islands made use of the chance and slotted a third goal in the 62nd minute through Totori to take his tally to 10 goals in just three matches. In the 73rd minute, Solympics were up again with an emphatic strike from Joses Nawo to make it 4-0 to Solomon Islands.

It didn't take long before Maemae wrapped up his hatrick of goals in the 75th minute to make it 5-0 in favour of the Solympics after scoring directly from the corner.

As spectators leave Churchill Park, the talk of the moment now is that the winner of the OFC U23 qualifying tournament in Fiji will be determined by the upcoming Solomon Islands match with New Zealand on Friday.

Study shows that the "Family Tree Approach" being practised in North Malaita is incapable of achieving its objectives due to loopholes

A new study on the Customary land ownership, recording and registration in the To'abaita region of Solomon Islands, particularly in regard to the "Family Tree Approach (FTA)" has indicated that despite several positive benefits underpinning the FTA, it is incapable of achieving its objectives due to loopholes in the approach itself or in its management.

The findings are part of a Master of Applied Science thesis, majoring in International Rural Development compiled by a To'abaita student, Mr Fred Saeni, which was recently submitted for examination to the Lincoln University in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Information obtained reveals that customary land ownership, recording and registration are complex issues in the Solomon Islands. At present, 87% of the land is held under customary laws. Almost all (some 99%) of the land held under customary law is not surveyed, recorded or registered to the tribes. Customary land disputes have been inhibiting rural development initiatives, which is partly responsible for the ill-being of the people.

The paper outlines that the Family Tree Approach (FTA) is a process being used within the To'abaita region of the Malaita Province to help address problems in the dilemmas of land ownership, land disputes, land recording, land registration and rural development in land held under customary laws in To’abaita. The FTA is a blend of indigenous epistemology, modern practices and Christian principles. Indigenously, the tribes identify with their land by tracing their origins through genealogies, historical narrations, tribal epics and chants, shrines and properties. Rev. Michael Maelia’u, a Church Minister and a former Parliamentarian, promotes the FTA. The FTA has four pillars (principles) – recognition, reconciliation, recording and registration – which are covered within five sequential phases. For instance, recognition is done in phase one of the process, enabling all members of a tribe to recognize each other. Reconciliation is part of the process, promoting forgiveness and acceptance of tribal members. Recording is an important pillar of the FTA, as its role is to produce documents that will be accepted by the law. Research results show that land registration is also a pillar of the FTA; once customary land is registered to the tribes, land disputes will be resolved, thereby enabling sustainable rural development that improves the people’s well-being.

The FTA, however, is currently not formally recognized in the country. It has been used by 12 of approximately 20 tribes within the To'abaita region. Some of the To'abaita tribes have not adopted the FTA for various reasons.

The FTA has enabled the disintegrated generations to recognize or identify with one another. It enables public recognition of existing tribes, tribal genealogies, tribal tales, tribal epics, the tribal shrines, and the tribal land. Reconciliation has been carried out at both intertribal and intra-tribal levels. The FTA enables identification of people who are residing on land and utilizing resources they do not have a right to. It makes people aware of their roots or the land of their origin, which would then lead to reduced land disputes that constrained development initiatives and the well-being of the people.

The results, however, indicated that the FTA has problems either in the approach itself or in its management. It is incapable of achieving its objectives (reducing land disputes, enable rural development, enable tribal land registration, and resettling land that was wrongly acquired). People have split perception of the FTA and the legislation; this therefore reduces potential motivation that is needed to advance the approach. Results of the research also indicated that no proper and serious documentation has been done, despite knowing that it is one of the pillars. In To'abaita, gender and culture are contributing issues, which cause difficulties to the FTA. Also, the FTA lacked financial support.

Those that have experience with the FTA believe that the FTA objectives need to be made known to promote motivation to the illiterate people of To'abaita. Adequate communication of issues to improve the FTA is essential. Forming a committee that oversees the design and management of the FTA is necessary for its improvement, and adequate financial support will bring the FTA forward. Chief empowerment by the legislation is essential to enable the FTA to achieve its objectives in the future.

Solomon's opposition leader criticises gov't rural development proposed funding allocation

The Solomon Islands Leader of Opposition, Manasseh Sogavare has described the Coalition for National Unity and Rural Advancement (CNURA) Government’s proposed 80-million dollars allocation for rural development as a slap to its rural advancement policy.

Deputy Prime Minister, Fred Fono announced the proposed rural development package when opening a meeting of the Isabel Development Company trustees last week.

Responding to the announcement, Mr Sogavare says the proposed package was a mockery of the government’s commitment to advance development in rural Solomon Islands.

He says the proposed package was a big reduction to his former Grand Coalition for Change Government’s proposed rural development package of 150-million.

"When the GCCG formulate the budget, we were talking about allocation 150 million dollars from two sources. One from the Republic of China, they have allocated 50 million dollars every year and we were going to commit the Solomon Islands Government to another 100-million dollars."

Mr Sogavare says the government collects about one billion dollars in revenue each year.

Source: SIBC

Solympics Beijing Olympic hopes face acid test against Vanuatu tonight

Solomon Islands will discover if it’s Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) Men’s Olympic Football Tournament hopes are the real deal tonight, 7.30pm Fiji time (6.30pm SI time) when it faces a Vanuatu team desperately seeking a win.

Solomon Islands has made light work of tournament minnows Cook Islands (11-0) and Papua New Guinea (6-1) but faces its first real test against Philemon John’s Vanuatu side that lost a bruising match with favourites New Zealand (0-2) on Monday.

Vanuatu must defeat Solomon Islands to retain any chance of qualifying for the Beijing Olympics – if Solomon Islands lose, then the road to Beijing will beckon for Stu Jacobs New Zealand side. A draw would almost certainly spell the end of the tournament for both teams unless Luke Eroi’s Solympics team beat New Zealand on Match Day 4.

Waitakere United striker Benjamin Totori has been in red-hot form helping himself to eight goals in just two matches and he will likely be a marked man as Vanuatu seek to keep its Olympic hopes alive.

Alick Maemae, Joses Nawo and Joachim Rande have also looked the part for Eroi but whether or not Solomon Islands defence can keep tabs on Jeffry Nimanian and Joseph Namariau remains to be seen.

In the first match for today, Cook Islands coach Tim Jerks will be hoping his team can bounce back from its 11-0 defeat to Solomon Islands to test a Fiji team desperate for goals.

Fiji’s only hope of qualifying for Beijing now is to win all its remaining matches by wide margins and hope both New Zealand and Solomon Islands drop points.

In the second match, New Zealand will face Papua New Guinea without Dan Keat after the former New Zealand U-20 captain was sent off after an altercation with Vanuatu’s Spencer Noal on Monday. Steven Old’s injury looks uncertain to mend in time with Stu Jacobs hinting that key players will be rested ahead of the looming showdown with Solomon Islands. Despite the loss of Dan Keat, the form guide suggests New Zealand should win comfortably against George Cowie’s team.

Match Day 3 matches in Fiji time

2.30pm Fiji vs. Cook Islands

5pm Papua New Guinea vs. New Zealand

7.30pm Solomon Islands vs. Vanuatu

Source: OFC

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Totori scores five as Solomon's run rampant against a hapless Cooks

Waitakere United striker Benjamin Totori was once again the shining star for the Solomon Islands, en route to their 11-0 drubbing of the Cook Islands in Match Day Two of the OFC Men’s Olympic Qualifiers, yesterday.

Totori looks to have the golden boot race all sewn up after scoring five times against the Cook’s taking his tally to eight goals from five games.

He was joined on the score sheet by Alick Maemae (2), Joachmi Waroi (2), Joses Nawo and Franklyn Forau.

The Cook Island side made an encouraging opening to the game and took the game to the Solomon’s early on. However their endeavour was not rewarded with goals and Totori opened his account in the ninth minute and never looked back.

The goals kept coming at a constant rate and the Cook Island defence had little room to breath after classy link up play and finishing from Totori, Maemae and Waroi.

Things went from bad to worse for the Cook’s when Tom Le Mouton was sent for an early shower after picking up two yellow cards in the space of three minutes.

The score line didn’t reflect the tremendous determination and work ethic of the Cook Island side who ,despite the score, didn’t give in until the final whistle.

The Solomon side look a classy outfit and they will look forward to being tested against tougher opposition on Match Day Three.

Cook Island Coach Tim Jerks was humble in defeat.

“It’s great watching the Solomon’s play football. They have great support play around the ball, players make runs off the ball which are difficult to contain and my congratulations go out to their side.

“We have a very young squad and my guys will learn from this experience and our job now is to get the boys back recovered in time for the next game and work on our weaknesses.”

Solomon Island's Coach Luke Eroi was very happy with his side’s performance and the result.

“It’s very pleasing to watch, everyone is on their game and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the tournament.”

Meanwhile, in the other two matches New Zealand downed a much determined Vanuatu side 2-0 whilst Fiji bounched from their defeat against New Zealand to claim a 7-1 trounching of PNG. Solomon Islands now leads the table ahead of New Zealand after day two of matches played.

Source: OFC

Solomons Government Commerce Minister assures Malaita Province of project

Solomon Islands Minister of Commerce, Industries and Employment Francis Billy Hilly has assured Malaita province and its people of the government’s determination to build an international sea port at Bina Harbour in the Province.

The Government Communications Unit reports that Minister Hilly successfully visited the project site last Thursday and was satisfied with the outcome of the visit.

He was accompanied on the trip by Malaita Premier Richard Irosaea and his Provincial team, senior officials of the Solomon Islands Ports Authority and landowning groups in the area.

Speaking during Thursday’s site visit to Bina Harbour, Minister Hilly assured people that the Government is determined to implement the project and pledges the government’s strong financial commitment to the project.

Mr Hilly says the government is making provisions for the project in this year’s budget.

Work on the project will start as soon as the national parliament approves the 2008 national budget.

Mr Hilly and his delegation also traveled to Suava Bay in North Malaita to visit the proposed site for a township last Friday.

The Minister completed his visit on Friday before he returned to Honiara on Saturday.

Source: SIBC

Monday, March 03, 2008

CNURA worries over Lilo’s corrupt Practise

The Opposition Leader Manasseh Sogavare has claimed that some senior Government Ministers are pushing for the sacking of the Minister for Environment and Conservation and MP for Gizo Kolombangara, Gordon Darcy Lilo.

Sogavare told the National Express that some senior ministers in the Government have now realised the Lilo had actually misappropriated the tsunami funds are pushing for Lilo’s sacking.

“The ministers also realise that the actions I took in sacking Lilo from my government was justified and are now pushing for Lilo’s sacking as well,” said Sogavare

He however would not say which ministers in the Dr Derek Sikua’s Government are demanding Lilo’s sacking.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Prime Minister’s Office flatly denied Sogavare’s claims.

The spokesman adds that the allegations are not new and Sogavare raised them at the height of the lobbying leading up to the motion of no confidence and the subsequent election of the Prime Minister.

“Lilo actually went out publicly in the media and explained his side of the story and unless there is an official report from the Auditor General’s Office to the effect of actual misappropriations of any funds by Lilo when he was Finance Minister, the allegations are all motivated by politics,” said the spokesman from the Prime Minister’s office.

Source: Peoplefirst

Fiji U23 soccer officials bank on Luke Iroi's boys to beat Oly-whites to keep Fiji's chances alive

Fingers are crossed in the Fiji under-23 camp as officials hope the Solomon Islands can beat favourites New Zealand.

This will open up the competition for top spot and keep alive Fiji's chances of qualifying for the Beijing Olympics.

Team director Rajesh Patel yesterday said the Solomon's are capable of creating an upset against the Kiwis.

"New Zealand plays with different strategies whereas Solomon Island is much like Fiji but they have skillful and fast players," Patel said.

"It should be a strongly contested game and if Solomon produces a formidable combination, they'll give New Zealand a good run."

"A positive result in favour of the Solomon's will make the competition more interesting as well," Patel said.

He called on the local fans to rally support for the Fiji boys.

"The coach has played his part and so have the players but they lack international exposure," he said.

"Our boys lacked experience on how we should control and finish the game. They just lapsed in concentration and paid dearly.

"I urge fans to come out in big numbers, stop criticising the boys and support them.

"The Olympics playoff is still open and giving them a chances, will lift their spirits to make amends."

In the opening matches of the Olympics playoff,NZ beat Fiji 2-1,Vanuatu beat Cook Is. 4-0 and Solomons beat PNG 6-1.

Source: Fijitimes

Australia Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to visit Solomon Islands

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will be coming to Honiara Friday this week where he will meet his Solomon Islands counterpart, Dr Derek Sikua as well as other senior ministers.

Rudd will be accompanied by the Australian Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Islands Affairs Duncan Kerr, and the Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance, Bob McMullan.

Rudd said Australia plays a leading role in the reconstruction and nation- building work of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands.

He said he is committed to using Australia's bilateral aid program to assist with the country’s rural development and infrastructure challenges.

Rudd said he was pleased to welcome Dr Sikua to Canberra in January this year and looks forward to continuing discussions on maximizing the effectiveness of Australia’s contribution to development challenges in Solomon Islands.

The Australian prime minister will on Wednesday visit Papua New Guinea prime minister Sir Michael Somare before coming over to Honiara.

Bilateral talks between Rudd and Sir Michael will centre on trade, investment, defence and development assistance.

Source: SIBC

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