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

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Government establish recruitment Policy for offshore labour markets

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, in consultation with the Ministry of Commerce, is putting together a government mechanism to facilitate the recruitment of citizens wishing to work in the seasonal labour markets offshore.

Seasonal labour employment is a form of labour mobility which enables local unskilled or semi-skilled workers to find jobs in the overseas labour markets such as New Zealand’s Recognized Seasonal Employer (RSE) Work Policy.

The RSE is open to Pacific Islands States, including Solomon Islands, to send seasonal workers to work in the area of horticulture and viticulture industries.

Many of the Pacific Islands countries have already established their internal recruitment mechanisms and have already benefited by sending workers to New Zealand under the RSE.

Solomon Islands is required to establish a similar recruitment arrangement so that proper procedures are followed and monitoring of labour movement can be assessed.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade is taking the approach following recent concerns that some people are allegedly taking advantage of the opportunity by promising job offers in New Zealand under the RSE in return for money.

The Permanent Secretary, Supervising, Mr Senda Fifii said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade is committed to putting in place this recruitment mechanism and assure the public to follow procedures to avoid fraudulent activities in the recruitment process.

Source: Pipolfirst

Honiara's new city mayor calls for cooperation

Honiara City has a new Lord mayor. He is Andrew Mua, councilor for Ngossi ward, West Honiara constituency.

Mr Mua polled 12 votes ahead of his only rival Dwene Tigulu who polled 4. Yesterday's vote follows last week's postponement on legal grounds.

Former City Lord Mayor, Alfred Maetia was ousted in a successful no confidence vote earlier this month. Appointed members of the council were able to cast their votes at yesterday's election of a new mayor after a second gazatted order from the minister of Home Affairs.

The Second gazette also provides a process in the event of a tie in voting. Only 16 of the 20 elected and appointed councilors took part in today's vote.

Meanwhile, newly elected mayor of Honiara City Andrew Mua appealed for cooperation during the tenure of his leadership.

In his inaugural speech after his election, Mr Mua said that he needs the cooperative efforts and support from other eleven Honiara City Councilors and the population of Honiara.

He said leadership cannot be solely borne by the City mayor and his executive but through the support of all.

Mr Mua said his government will attempt to make improvements to Honiara feeder roads, improve in the efforts to clean up Honiara, and the health and education services.

The new mayor will announce his executive today.

Source: SIBC

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Fijian, Iliesa Duvuloco denied entry into Solomon Islands

Politician and well known nationalist Iliesa Duvuloco was last week denied entry into the Solomon Islands.

He was sent back to Fiji after immigration officials there found his constant travel to the country had no major purpose.

He was a politician who led the Nationalist Vanua Tako Lavo Party formed in 1999. Later his involvement with the 2000 coup saw him serve a jail term

His last public appearance was during the May general elections in 2006 where he again led his Vanua Tako Lavo party to the polls.

He left the country last year for Papua New Guinea and was also a frequent visitor to the Solomon Islands. But last week Friday, Duvuloco was refused entry into the Solomons.

He flew in from PNG. Khan says he isn't aware whether Duvuloco was sent back to Fiji. He adds the Fiji politician just isn't wanted as a visitor to the Solomons.

One National News tried locating Duvuloco over the week-end. Attempts made to get in touch with his family members and relatives also proved futile.

But a close family friend confirms Duvuloco is in Fiji now he declined to reveal his location.

Source: Fijitv

More international matches may be played in Honiara: Nicholas

The possibility of more international matches in Honiara is being considered following Saturday’s successful KOSSA-Waitakere United game.

Oceania Football Confederation general secretary Tai Nicholas made the comments while congratulating KOSSA for beating New Zealand’s top club.

Nicholas was in Honiara for the match, the first leg of the confederation’s regional O-league final. He was overwhelmed with the crowd of about 20,000 that packed Lawson Tama.

He acknowledged the huge turnout for the arrival of Waitakere on Thursday and then at the game. “The crowd at the airport is even bigger than that which turned out to watch the New Zealand Football Championship final,” he said.

He said the Saturday’s match was a good one. “Both teams played very well with good display of sportsmanship,” he said before flying back to Auckland. He was especially thrilled with the behaviour of the crowd.

“I was so pleased with the turnout of the crowd and their behaviour at the game,” he said. Because of the huge response from the crowd he said the Oceania will consider Solomon Islands to host more international matches.

“For me personally I would bring more Oceania matches to Honiara because of the huge response,” he said.

Source: Solomon Star

Monday, April 28, 2008

Solomon police minister visits Australia for RAMSI consultations

The Minister for Police, National Security and Correctional Services, Hon Samuel Manetoali is holding consultations in Australia this week on RAMSI’s work with the Solomon Islands Police and Correctional Services.

Mr Manetoali who is being accompanied by Permanent Secretary, George Hiele on the four day visit, will meet with a range of senior Australian officials involved in the RAMSI deployment including the Australian Attorney General, Robert McClellan and the first special coordinator of RAMSI, Nick Warner, who led the mission to Solomon Islands in 2003 and now heads the Australian Department of Defence.

Shortly before he flew out, the Minister said the trip would give him a chance to meet face-to-face with many of those responsible for RAMSI in Australia.

“The visit is a very good opportunity as I will be able to see for myself, and find out first-hand information about what is happening and what is the thinking in Australia in regards to RAMSI,” he said

Mr Manetoali said that in return he would be briefing the Australian Government and relevant authorities on the CNURA Government’s policies on police and correctional services, especially the Government’s strong commitment to the maintenance of law and order and the development of a strong and independent police force in Solomon Islands.

Farewelling the Minister and Permanent Secretary yesterday, the Commander of RAMSI’s Participating Police Force, Denis McDermott said the visit was another way that RAMSI could provide the Solomon Islands Government with detailed information about the Regional Assistance Mission.

As part of their visit, the two will visit the International Deployment Group (IDG), which is the body responsible for preparing all Australian and Pacific Island police for deployment to Solomon Islands. They will hold talks with IDG’s National manager, Assistant Commissioner, Frank Prendergast and visit the replica Pacific training ‘village’ that has been created at the IDG to mirror the operational environment police will find themselves in, when deployed to the region.

“The IDG is constantly reviewing and improving its approach to pre-deployment training so RAMSI police now undergo a very different training from those who were first deployed nearly five years ago,” Mr McDermott said.

“We hope that the visit will help the Minister and the Permanent Secretary have a better sense of how RAMSI police personnel are prepared for deployment in the Pacific and elsewhere.”

The Solomon Islands delegation will also hold talks with the Deputy Superintendent of the Australian Capital Territories Correctional Service Centre and visit the Corrections Centre (prison) in the Australian regional town of Goulburn.

The Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, Mick Keelty, will host a dinner on Monday night, to be attended by the Solomon Islands High Commissioner, Victor Ngele as well as representatives from AusAID, the Australian Federal Police, and the Departments of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Prime Minister and Cabinet and Defence.

Source: RAMSI

Honiara stunner a red-letter day for O-League

By Terry Maddaford, NZ Herald

The stunning 3-1 win by Solomon Islands champions Kossa FC over Waitakere United in the first leg of their O-League play-off in Honiara on Saturday was hugely significant.

Its importance is not only because it is the greatest result for an Oceania island nation since Vanuatu's 4-2 win over the All Whites at the 2004 Nations Cup in Adelaide.

The win also heralds new hope for a confederation under increasing scrutiny as automatic entry to Fifa tournaments is continually challenged and for the fledgling nations determined to make a statement.

Although Fifa president Sepp Blatter has been among those raising doubts about Oceania's ongoing status, he will, surely, take real satisfaction at the result of the match played at the Lawson Tama Stadium - a ground developed to international standard through Fifa's worldwide Goal Project programme.

And those who might hold reservations about the standing of the game in the supposed "outposts" of the far-flung confederation would have been more than heartened by the massive turnout for what quickly became a festive occasion, sparking unprecedented scenes in the Solomon Islands capital.

Clubs in New Zealand can only dream of the level of support the Kossa team enjoyed - and responded to.

Cheered by a wildly enthusiastic crowd estimated to be around 18,000 at kick-off (and with a further 5000 outside the ground), Kossa went on the offensive from the first blast of Fiji referee Rakesh Varman's whistle.

Led by James Naka - later named man of the match - the home side quickly shrugged off any underdog tag. With Reg Davani, a player well-known at various levels in New Zealand, and Joe Luwi joining Naka in an often rampant attacking trio, the re-jigged Waitakere four-man defence were stretched to breaking point - and eventually, beyond.

A team unbeaten in their past nine outings, but this time in unfamiliar heat, found themselves playing second fiddle to a team on a mission.

Luwi's tap-in, after a blistering 18m Naka shot had rattled the crossbar, sparked wild scenes. When Luwi turned the ball into the gaping goal after goalkeeper Richard Gillespie had spilled a cracking left-foot shot from Davani for 2-0 the crowd went crazy.

Before the break United coach Chris Milicich replaced Daniel Kopricvic with Jason Hayne from the bench. Four minutes into the second spell the visitors finally converted from set play when Jonathan Perry scored from a corner.

Encouraged, the New Zealand champions hunted for more but were constantly thwarted by the clinical Kossa defence. Even returning local hero Benjamin Totori could not rescue the team from his homeland.

Milicich rang more changes but the hosts had the last say when Naka's untiring efforts were rewarded with an 86th-minute goal, neatly chipped over Gillespie.

The final whistle sparked mad scenes punctuated by unbroken blasts of car horns as Honiara went crazy.

For a team who had conceded more than one goal only three times in the NZFC season - two in the first and last games and three in losing to YoungHeart Manawatu mid-season - it was hard to accept.

The visitors will point to several factors - the heat in particular and the need to reshuffle to cover the loss of injured captain and key defender Danny Hay - as reasons for the loss.

They must now prepare for the May 11 return at Trusts Stadium fully aware a 2-0 win will earn them a second successive O-League crown. To concede even one goal would make that equation harder and give the Solomon Islanders hope of stepping on to a global stage at the Fifa World Club Cup in Japan in December.

Waitakere United know what they must do. They also must accept they will have nothing like the support Kossa FC enjoyed in what will always rate as one of the great days for Oceania football.

Source: NZ Herald

USP Laucala members salute fallen Solomon student who died last week

Friends, colleagues and academics yesterday paid tribute to late Dudley Leedson Kafa, a Solomon Islands student who died in the University of the South Pacific pool last week.

The inter-faith memorial service was held by the USP Faculty and students before the student's body is flown home to the Solomons Islands.

Members of the different religious groups at USP prayed for Mr Kafa who will be laid to rest in his home island today.

Mr Kafa, 38, was a Bachelor of Arts student majoring in education and management and public administration. He is survived by his wife and two children.

USP acting Vice Chancellor Dr Esther Williams said USP was deeply saddened by the passing away of Mr Kafa.

A USP delegation led by the acting Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Law, Dr Akanisi Kedrayate, including a student representative, will accompany the body to the Solomon Islands today where he will be laid to rest.

Mr Kafa diedd during a water safety course at the USP campus pool on Thursday.

The autopsy report released by the Colonial War Memorial Hospital determined that death arose from natural causes and not drowning.

Source: Fiji Times

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Post mortem examination confirmed that USP student died of heart failure

The Solomon Island student who died at the University of the South Pacific pool on Thursday had a heart failure, Fiji police have confirmed.

Police spokesman Atunaisa Sokomuri confirmed that Dudley Kafa, a 38 year-old student from Isabel, collapsed after taking swimming classes at Laucala Campus pool.

He was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead upon arrival.

Kafa was a Bachelor of Arts student majoring in Education and Management & Public Administration at USP.

He is survived by his wife and two children.

The University convenes an inter-faith memorial service in his honour today (April 27) at 2.00pm in the AusAID Lecture Theatre.

A USP delegation, led by the Acting Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Law, Dr Akanisi Kedrayate, including a student representative, will accompany Kafa's body to the Solomon Islands tomorrow where he will be laid to rest.

Source: Fiji Live

Solomon's Kossa humbled Waitakere with 3-1 scoreline at Lawson Tama yesterday

Twenty thousand fans packed into Lawson Tama Stadium in Honiara yesterday to see Solomon Islands champions Kossa FC upset Waitakere United in the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) O-League First Leg Final.

Joe Luwi and James Naka were the heroes for the home side as their goals propelled Kossa to a 3-1 win and puts a trip to Japan for the FIFA Club World Cup in December firmly in their sights.

Centre back Jonathon Perry scored the only goal for the visitors in very hot and humid conditions and will provide some comfort for the Waitakere party, knowing now that a 2-0 win in the return leg in Auckland on May 11th will see them regain their crown as OFC O-League champions.

Kossa drew energy from the loud vivacious Honiara support and took the game to Waitakere with Reginald Davani and James Naka causing problems early on.

Waitakere looked like they were struggling with the heat and were made to pay in the 21st minute when James Naka found some space outside the Waitakere box and fired a 30 yard missile into the underside of the crossbar. Joe Luwi was the quickest player to react and swiftly tucked the rebound home to give the hosts the perfects start.

The visitors struggled to get out of first gear for much of the half and but for a few dazzling runs by Solomon Island star Benjamin Totori, failed to trouble the Kossa defense.

It was Joe Luwi who struck again for Kossa in the 42nd minute and again it was his predatory instincts that made the goal. Davani’s left footed shot was spilled by Richard Gillespie and Luwi was there to tuck it home in clinical fashion.

Waitakere obviously benefitted from a much needed water break at halftime and came out the more invigorated side in the second half.

Jonathan Perry rose highest from a Neil Sykes corner in the 48th minute to pull one back for Waitakere and it looked like the halftime water had woken them from their daze.

But the relentless attack we have come to expect from Waitakere never came and Kossa slowly started to gain the edge back.

As the heat began to take its toll the speed of the game slowed and it looked like Waitakere’s best chances would come from set plays. Neil Emblen went close when he arrived unannounced at the far post from a free kick only to square his header across the six yard box to a spot where a striker should have been.

Kossa gained in confidence as the half wore on and Naka was instrumental in all their attacking play. He let fly with a series of long range efforts which whistled just wide of the Waitakere post.

Kossa grabbed a crucial third goal in the 89th minute when Naka jinxed his way through the Waitakere box before deftly clipping the ball over the rushing Gillespie to produce screams of joy from the local faithful.

After the final whistle Waitakere Coach Chris Milicich acknowledged that heat had played a major factor in the match and was confident his side could turn the final around in the second leg.

“We’ll go back home and win 2-0, end of story. Kossa played well today and managed the heat well but now they have to come down to our place and play and it will be a completely different proposition down there.

“I thought it was our flattest performance in 28 games this year, we’ve never conceded 3 goals all year and it was just very sloppy. No one stood out for us everyone was poor.”

Kossa playmaker Naka was filled with emotion after the game and was enjoying the moment.

“I am very excited at this moment. We all knew that Waitakere are very experienced and it is a great result for us. When we went 2-0 up I was so happy and the thought went through my mind for the first time that we could be representing Oceania.”

Davani was also excited by the result but very wary that the side still has a long way to go before they are crowned champions.

“It’s not over, its only one game. We’re just halfway there. They are a very good side, they are going to be playing at home and it will be a lot harder. But I am still very happy.”

Source: OFC

Friday, April 25, 2008

"Two giants, too small"- description of the hype in Honiara ahead of O-League's final between Kossa and Waitakere tomorrow

By Solowaterboy, A simple Game blog

The first leg of the OFC O-League 2008 final is already generating an atmosphere of tense anticipation for the clash between Oceania's two best clubs, Waitakere United of New Zealand and Kossa FC of Solomon Islands. Solomon Islands has been starved off quality football games and so the hype surrounding this clash is understandable. Officially some 9,000 tickets have been printed but judging from past experience. Lawson Tama could easily surpass and double that number with another 10 thousand squinting through the fence while others will be listening to the live broadcast on national radio.

Solomon Islands football fans will be deeply divided between its home grown talents gracing the Kossa line-up and its own stars in Commins Menapi and Benjamin Totori who have led Waitakere all season long. Driving to work I noticed a spray painted sign a fair way past Fishing Village, "Waitakere Bust Kossa", a clear indication of who the folks in Totori's home village will be supporting. Thousands of fans will be in attendance and although the rivalry will be intense I am sure fans will accept any result owing to the strong presence of Solomon Islanders in both teams.

Benjamin Totori has poised himself in an enviable position by signing with the US professional soccer league, another nemesis is already a star in football's own abbreviated code, beach soccer. Two stars in their own right, Totori will find himself sharing the limelight with James Naka, Solomon Islands prolific beach soccer star whose exceptional scoring spree in two past Beach Soccer World Cup on the Copacabana beach in Brazil left little doubt that he can compete.

Two very distinct styles. Benjamin is ever present, initiating every move and can singlehandedly create space with his weaving run and feeding off short passes and bursts of pace. James is a player in the Ryan Giggs mold, a facilitator who is also a potent threat at the goalmouth. While Totori makes deep penetrating runs towards goal, Naka lurks around further away from goal but has a lethal left footed shot; ask any goalkeeper stunned flat footed.

Totori and Naka are small in size lacking the height advantage you would normally associate with strikers, both are slightly built but with quick feet, sharp instincts and an unrelenting drive to beat any defender one on one. But their day has finally come; a chance to shine and be noticed. Two giants, too small.

Saturdays clash will be won by which ever team is able to impose its style on the game. Waitakere will be disciplined, tough and very physical. Its not every day that we get to watch them play but Kossa should expect some degree of very structured football with plenty of firepower in a Menapi Totori double header. While Totori will be a constant threat, Menapi is a big game performer, a reliable scorer who has a knack for scoring in big games. Allan Pearce has been scoring goals of late and could be a dark horse. Captain Danny Hay already commands respect and can impose leadership on field and that could offset any Kossa onslaught.

Kossa must avoid playing the game to entertain. Kossa's success will depend on how well Joe Luwi can facilitate chances for PNG import, Reginald Davani and the degree with which he can involve Naka. Kossa's defense is strong, Gideon Omokirio is a seasoned campaigner with a reliable Samson Takayama and experienced Severino Aefi in goal. Unknown quantities Paul Wale and Seni Ngava or Sammy Wa'ahero can suddenly have a great game day and may be problematic for Waitakere.

Kossa will claim to be underdogs looking for an upset as Waitakere have been known to falter away from home in the O-League. But coming fresh out of an inspiring win over Wellington in the NZFC Finals, Waitakere may just have the edge to close off what is anticipated to be a close encounter here in Honiara. Should Kossa score first and early, then we may have a different ball game in our hands.

May the best team win. For the Game For the World.

Strange and rare shrimp-like fish found in Solomon Islands village

A seemingly strange and rare fish having the looks of a 'shrimp' has been found in the coastal waters of Marau Sound in a village called Marau'apa in the Solomon Islands on April 2 2008.

According to the local fisherfolk, this unknown fish is rare to catch and they say is very good to eat.

The fish was photographed by Mr Nixon Aranani, a local University of the South Pacific marine science graduate currently working in Honiara.

It is understood that alot of Solomon Islanders haven't seen any fish like this before, and would be very useful if a fish expert or taxonomist can identify this specimen and hopefully confirm that it is truly safe to eat.

Source: Biukili

RIPEL boss declared by Solomon's government as "persona non grata" and ordered to leave the country

The drawn-out dispute over the Russell Islands Plantation Limited issue in Solomon Islands has resulted in the government declaring the Managing Director of RIPEL, John Whiteside, persona non grata.

The Ministry of Immigration confirmed he was hand delivered a letter late last night, cancelling his permit to be in Solomon Islands, and was told to leave the country within 48 hours.

The estate was a key producer of cocoa and copra products and a major part of the economy until becoming embroiled in ongoing court action with its workers, who have been striking for four years.

Radio New Zealand International correspondent, Dorothy Wickham, says the government has found it difficult to negotiate with Mr Whiteside.

“What they were wanting to do was for him to agree to them actually sitting down with the other shareholders and come to some sort of agreement, that maybe they should sell the company to an outsider who would come in with a fresh start and revitalise the company, however, he didn’t seem interested in that", reports Dorothy Wickham.

Source: RNZI

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Solomon student at USP dies at Laucala Campus swimming pool

A Solomon Islands student studying at the University of the South Pacific's Laucala Campus in Suva has passed away today at the university's swimming pool.

The student identified as Dudley Kafa from Isabel Province who is in his early 30s drowned in the pool during a swimming class at around midday today.

Attempts by fellow students to revive Kafa proved futile. The actual cause of his sudden death could not be verified at this time but a post mortem examination is expected to be carried out tomorrow morning to determine the cause of death.

It is understood the sudden death of the Solomon student has shocked the local student body in Suva as well as late Kafa's classmates.

The body of late Kafa is currently being kept at the Suva Colonial War Memorial (CWM) Hospital awaiting transport arrangements to Solomon Islands for burial.

A team of Fiji police officers were at the scene today trying to determine the cause of death after receiving a report of the incident after midday.

Solomon Islander graduates with Law Doctorate from Monash University to add to the nation's handful of elites

A young Solomon Islander, Dr Philip Tagini (pictured), has graduated with a Doctorate of Law from Monash University in Australia last Thursday (April 17), to add to the nation's handful of academic doctors.

Dr Phil Tagini with an age of 31 years hails from Ferafolia Village in West Kwara’ae, Malaita Province.

Below is an exclusive interview that TARD carried out with the new kid on the block, Dr Tagini, in terms of such a prestigious achievement (more pics of the graduation are in "TARD Photo Haos"):

Why the decision to do a PhD?
Many factors influenced me. First is the fascination to make sense out of a disparate body of knowledge into something coherent. Second is the need for specialised knowledge on natural resources in Solomon Islands and third, encouragement from friends and family.

What brought you to Monash University, who funded your study and when did you start your PhD?
I chose Monash over a number of universities which were available because of its reputation as a research institution. Also important in my decision was the availability of experts in the area of Pacific Legal Systems and access to very well regarded collection of resources on the Pacific. My research was on "mining law and policy" and Melbourne is also the headquarters of some major players in the resource sector. I was very fortunate to have two scholarships from Monash University which takes care of the living and tuition costs. This allows me to concentrate on the research, writing and presentation of the PhD.

A brief of your educational background and work history?
I went to Auki Primary School from 1983 – 1988 then went to St. Joseph’s Tenaru from 1989 to 1993. I then went to King George VI from 1994 to 1995 where I did Forms 6 and 7. I finished forms 5, 6 Arts and 7 Arts as dux student and then went on to USP to start a law degree in 1996. In 1998, I went on to the University of Kansas as an exchange student and then returned to USP to complete two more years 1999 and 2000. I completed the law degree in 2000. In the same year, I started tutoring at the USP Law School in Port Vila and embarked on a Masters degree which I completed the following year, 2001. In 2002, I went to USP in Suva to complete the professional diploma in legal practice (PDLP) and then returned home to work for a short time for the United Nations Office of Human Rights Sub Office. In that capacity, I was coordinator of the human rights training program involved with raising awareness on and respect for basic human rights in the aftermath of the civil conflict. In 2003, I was accepted in the Monash doctoral program and awarded two Monash Scholarships. At Monash whilst doing the PhD, I also worked at various places to make some extra cash to support my living expenditures. These include tutoring at the university, telemarketing for charities, teaching Solomon Islands pijin and some other odd jobs.

What career paths are you looking at?
I’ve always wanted to do things which I’m passionate about without structural limits so have chosen to start my own enterprises. Whilst doing the PhD programme, I’ve helped to set up a consulting company – Pacific Horizons Consulting Company, which attempts to market the best of Solomon Islands expertise to the region and beyond. This is done by presenting local knowledge and combining this with international experience to advancing the development agenda.

Also recently, I’ve become the practice manager of a Honiara law firm, Global Lawyers providing support for the team of lawyers at that firm. I’m very eager to see how these initiatives grow and take shape.

A brief of your PhD thesis topic and findings or implications of your thesis work to SI or the Pacific?
Sustainable mining is an oxymoron. How can one sustain a finite stock of resources? The Phd examined whether sustainable mining is a practical solution or whether it is just another cliché. The thesis explored the appropriate understanding of sustainability within the context of small, developing island states and then advances this understanding as the basis of an organising framework for social, environmental and economic development in the mining sector. The thesis concludes that, small island developing states, with marginal mines, fragile environments and cash flow problems are faced with enormous challenges and need to take determinative steps, in terms of policy and law to avert the real risks that have been seen in other parts of the world.

What is your secret to success?
I don’t really have a secret but I find it useful to acknowledging that there is a higher authority in my life. Also don’t stop dreaming. Go where your dreams take you. Don’t let things people say or do hold you back from achieving your dreams.

What would you say to our aspiring young scholars out there?
The PhD is a lot of commitment and the decision that must not be taken lightly. Considerable patience is required as well as the ability to maintain focus over the duration of the studies. Having said that, many people have done successfully, and I encourage those who feel this to be their calling to pursue their dreams.

TARD would like to congratulate Dr Phil Tagini for his inspiring achievement as it would be a huge boost to Solomon Islands human resource base.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Consultation is a key to RCDF transparency and accountability: Taiwanese Ambassador

The Ambassador of the Republic of China, George Chan has urged Members of Solomon Islands Parliament and their Constituency Committees to consult each other to ensure Taiwanese development funds are used in a transparent and accountable manner.

He made the statement yesterday while releasing the second payment of 10-million dollars towards the 2008 Constituency and Rural Development Fund to the Prime Minister, Dr Derek Sikua.

Ambassador Chan said the fund should be used on the right things and at the right places.

The Constituency and Rural Development Project includes the RCDF, the Micro Project Scheme for grassroots development and the Millennium Development Fund.

He told Prime Minister Sikua that Taiwan fully supports the Government’s rural development policy.

In response, Prime Minister Sikua said the Government and people of Solomon Islands appreciated with gratitude the assistance given by the Taiwanese Government.

Source: SIBC

Solomon's Health Ministry to introduce new Malaria treatment tablets for patients

A new Malaria tablet, called Coartem (pictured), will be introduced in Solomon Islands this year by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.

A spokesman from the Ministry stated that the introduction of the new medicine was necessary given the fact that many patients are becoming resistant to Chloroquine and Fansider, the two popular medicines prescribed for Malaria patients.

The Deputy Director for Vector Borne Disease Control Program (VBDCP), Leonard Boaz, stated that the new medicine is a combination of two tablets, which are to be taken two times a day after 8 hours for three days.

He said the tablets will be first introduced in Guadalcanal Province and Honiara City while waiting for the huge stock to arrive before sending it over to all provinces.

Mr. Boaz said that training will first be organized for nurses on the use of the tablets before introducing it to clinics and hospitals.

Several Aid donors are happy to support Solomon Islands in the health sector to fight against malaria including AusAID, the World Health Organization (WHO) and Global Fund against TB and Malaria (GFATM).

Source: Solomon Times

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Taiwan Ambassador to hand over second payment of RCDF to Solomon's PM today

Taiwan will formally release the second tranche of the 2008 Constituency and Rural Development Fund to the government today.

Prime Minister Dr Derek Sikua will receive the 10-million dollars when he meets Taiwan's Ambassador to Solomon Islands George Chan this afternoon.

The Taiwanese Embassy says the 10-million dollars include allocations for RCDF, Micro Project Scheme for grassroots development and Millennium Development Fund.

The funding is aimed at enhancing socio-economic development for rural communities and families.

The Embassy says Taiwan continues to support the Government to implement its policy to help the rural advancement in the Solomon Islands.

Ambassador George Chan says he believes this funding would enhance revitalization of rural production and the national economy.

The Ambassador urges Members of Parliament and constituency committees to consult with each other before using this fund on the right things in a transparent and accountable way.

Source: SIBC

Election of new Honiara city mayor postponed following advise from AG Office

The election of the new Honiara City mayor has been postponed until next week.

This follows an advise from the Office of the Attorney General that the election be postponed as there is no provision in the Honiara City Council Act to elect a mayor after a successful motion of no confidence.

The Attorney General's Office advised that the provision in the Act only caters for the election of a mayor after an ordinary election.

The election of the Honiara should have taken place this morning after a successful motion of no confidence against the former Alfred Maetia moved last week by the Councilor for Ngosi ward Solomon Mua.

Two candidates have been nominated.

They include Andrew Mua who was nominated by Tom Lolemae Councilor for Rove Lengakiki and Jimmy Tavoa Councilor for Mbuburu ward.

The other candidate is Dwene Tigulu who was nominated by Lawrance Makili, councilor for Naha and Charles Kira for Kukum ward.

Honiara City Clerk Joseph Huta says consultations starts today with the Home Affairs minister to use his powers to hold the election.

Mr Huta says with this abnormality in the Honiara City Act, the process towards the election of the Honiara City mayor will start all over again with new nominations to be called for.

No date has been set for the election of the new City mayor.

Source: SIBC

I'm optimistic about the prospect of Diamond presence on Malaita Island: Australian Geochemist

An Australian Isotope Geochemist, Professor Ken Collerson, has said there is great prospect of the presence of mineral Diamond on Malaita Island.

This projection was made in a scientific presentation to the Solomon Islands Government yesterday.

Professor Collerson from the University of Queensland who made the presentation told Government he is optimistic about the presence of diamond and other minerals because of his earlier finding about the presence of micro diamond in rocks obtained from Malaita in early 2000.

In widespread publications in May 2000, Professor Ken Collerson and his colleagues asserted that a sample collected from Malaita is a piece of rock that has never ever been seen before on earth. It was a piece of the earth's mantle transition zone which occurs somewhere between 400 to 670 kilometres down below the earth's surface.

A paper about the rock collections from Malaita, written by Professor Collerson, research fellow Dr Balz Kamber and PhD student Sarath Hapugoda was also published in the May 19 2000 edition of the prestigious international journal Science, the peer-reviewed journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Their co-researcher was Dr Quentin Williams, a specialist in mineral physics, from the Earth Sciences Department at the University of California in Santa Cruz.

The discovery won the researchers world-wide attention, and rivals Professor Collerson's discovery of the world's oldest mantle rocks, the 3.9 billion-year-old rocks from northern Labrador in Canada, which was published in the British journal Nature in 1991.

In an interview after his publication in the journal Science was released in May 19 2000, Professor Collerson suggested that his discovery opened a new opportunity in exploration as previous exploration for diamonds was largely concentrated in the continental regions rather than in the oceanic regions. With the case of Malaita, the rock was essentially continental deep mantle material coming up through what is only an oceanic environment which indicates that the diamond source and the diamond bearing materials are coming from the deep upper mantle.

Meanwhile during the meeting yesterday, Minister for Mines and Energy, Edward Huni'ehu says Government is very anxious this find could lead to long term economic benefits not only to Malaita Province but Solomon islands as a whole.

Mr Huni'ehu says his Ministry would work on a paper seeking Cabinet approval to kick start the process of exploring the potential of the existence of minerals including diamond on the island of Malaita.

Monday, April 21, 2008

New Zealand High Commission funds North Malaita water supply under TARD

The To’abaita Authority for Research and Development (TARD) student volunteer group is pleased to accept support for the Magwabaru Community Water Supply Project in North Malaita from the New Zealand High Commission in Honiara today.
TARD Chairman, Peter Fairamoa receiving the cheques from New Zealand High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, Deborah Panckhurst in Honiara

Assistance towards the Magwabaru Water Supply Project is being funded under the Head of Mission Fund (HOMF), a small discretionary grants scheme managed by the New Zealand High Commission in Solomon Islands. Total funding approved for the water supply is SB$54,887.90.

Such substantial support and commitment by the New Zealand High Commission office in Honiara towards the Magwabaru Water Supply Project marks another unique milestone for the development aspirations of North Malaita, particularly the Magwabaru community which endured without proper water supply for the last thirty years.

The project was jointly formulated in consultation with the beneficiary community, the Malaita provincial member for Ward 9 Hon Levi Senley Filualea, and TARD. The application was submitted for consideration late last year.
TARD Chairman, Peter Fairamoa, handing the cheques to provincial member for ward 9 Levi Senley Filualea in the presence of TARD Honiara committee members

Materials for the water supply will be collected in Honiara and transported to North Malaita later this month. Ground work with the technical assistance and engineering expertise of the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWSS) office in Malaita should commence as soon as materials reach North Malaita. The water supply is expected to be officially handed over to the community in June.

In response, TARD sincerely thanks the New Zealand High Commission office in Honiara on behalf of the entire membership and North Malaita people, for recognising the vision and goals of the TARD student volunteer group as this would be TARD’s first community project with the respective donor.

The HOMF is a component of the New Zealand Agency for International Development (NZAID) official development assistance programme. In line with NZAID’s goal of a safe and just world free of poverty, the purpose of the HOMF is to flexibly support activities which manifestly and directly meet development needs in Solomon Islands, consistent with New Zealand’s diplomacy objectives.

The HOMF is primarily aimed at supporting small-scale development projects and activities. Recipients will normally be community groups engaged in development activities on a not-for-profit basis. Proposed activities are assessed on their individual merit consistent with the overall objectives for HOMF.

Forum Fisheries meeting scheduled for next month in Palau

The Sixty-Seventh Annual Meeting of the Forum Fisheries Committee (FCC) and the 4th FFC Ministerial Meeting will be held in Koror, Palau from 12 to 20 May 2008.

The 4th FFC Ministerial will be a joint fisheries meeting with presentations provided from both the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).

The Official session of the Forum Fisheries Committee 67th meeting is scheduled to begin on Monday 12 to Friday 16 May. Two days have been allocated for the 4th FFC Ministerial meeting which will commence on Monday 19 May.

The theme of the meeting is: "Ensure Sustainable Management of Fisheries Resources through Regional Unity".

Source: FFA

NZ High Commission warns interested fruit pickers of opportunist conmen

The New Zealand High Commission in Honiara has expressed concern that some people in Solomon Islands have been asking for money in exchange for work offers in New Zealand.

The High Commission has issued a warning in the print media against this, telling people not to give money to any person who promises employment in New Zealand.

It says self appointed people are not authorised to do this.

The High Commission says legitimate agents will have a letter from a New Zealand employer authorising them to recruit.

It says any offer of employment must come from a New Zealand employer.

It asks people who are unsure about any offers of employment to check with the High Commission.

The High Commission advises anyone who already paid money to people to arrange an offer of employment to report the matter to the police.

It says nearly 300 Solomon Islands citizens are now working in New Zealand under the new seasonal work scheme for fruit and grape picking and the scheme is working well.

Source: SIBC

Duo nominated for Honiara City Council Mayoral elections

As of 12 midday today (Monday April 21), only two nominations have been received for the mayoral elections of the Honiara City Council.

They are Dwayne Tigulu, a lawyer by profession and Councillor for Ward eleven and the mover of the no confidence motion against former Mayor Maetia, Andrew Luke Mua.

Nominations opened this morning and will close at 4pm this afternoon.

City Clerk Joseph Huta confirms receiving the nominations and says Honiara City can expect to have a new mayor by tomorrow afternoon.

Source: SIBC

Friday, April 18, 2008

Simplicity; an art Benjamin Totori perfected- Solowaterboy blog

Special article by Solowaterboy blog Honiara

Benjamin Totori has always been a footballer with an uncanny ability to succeed at the very highest level. All throughout his career, he has been a shining and most vivid example of how young people can transform their lives when driven by unparralled ambitions. Its a trait I fiercely admire. My blog is proud to announce that this young man will now ply his trade with the Portland Timbers in the United States. Pending international and USSL clearance, Benjamin will have a remarkable opportunity to make his dreams come true. It remains to be seen if Totori will succeed at this level but judging from his past experience, nothing will stop him from achieving his ultimate goal.

How monumental is this achievement? Considering the fact that Benjamin Totori can be plucked from the obscurity is like the movie 'Goal' played out in real life. Little is know about Portland Timbers in the Solomon Islands; let alone US Soccer. But with Totori in the Timber's lineup, you can be sure that there will be a major following here in Honiara. USSL administers Division 1 football featuring 12 teams of which the Portland Timbers is one. Unlike other major football leagues in the world there are no promotion/relegation between the USL Division 1 and Major League Soccer. Having said that playing in this tier of football will provide many opportunities for MLS or beyond. Romario and Zinho, World Cup winners of 1994 have played at this level for the Miami FC.

A Brief History
Benjamin Totori is a fine footballer who has followed a strong family football tradition; although his father never shone as his son did those who remember the early days of football in the Solomon Islands can happily recall that his grandfather was a well renowned footballer with an especially unique style of scoring goals, a trait that Benjamin shares with his grandfather.

Benjamin grew up in very humble surroundings, the only child in the family, Benjamin has always been primed for success. His formative years were spent in Woodford International School where his father was a janitor and his football poweress was recognised early on in those years. Perhaps it is important to note that Benjamin has always stayed in school all throughout his football career before embarking on a full time professional career with Waitakere United in New Zealand.

Like his father, Benjamin joined the Uncles Football Club as a teenager and along with another Solomon Island rising star, Kidston Billy, they became a formidable scoring machine that took the league by storm. Major casualties included some of Solomon Island's longest-run and most glamourous clubs. Benjamin was then recruited by Nasinu Football Club in Fiji where he played for a year and completed high school at the Indian College in Suva. In 2005 Benjamin was selected into the National U20 Team which finished second to Australia in the qualifiers held in Honiara, Solomon Islands. He was immediately signed by Manawatu FC at the urging of Shane Rufer. In 2006, Benjamin spearheaded a rampant Manawatu squad whose only folly was being unable to win the NZFC Championship and failing to qualify for the O-League. However, Benjamin would complete the season as the leading scorer and with every major NZFC club chasing after his signature. Signing for Waitakere United in 2007 paved the way for Benjamin to shine on the world stage when he played in the World Club Championship in Tokyo, Japan. Whilst the spotlight was on senior soccer statesmen, Commins Menapi; Benjamin in one moment of brilliance had stamped himself as favorite to watch in Oceania. Videos of Benjamins nifty stepover at the World Club Champions and his rampant scoring spree at the NZFC was reason for notice by commentators on blogs and forums worldwide. By early 2008, there were rumours of his move to the US League after another strong showing at the Olympic qualifiers in which Benjamin almost singlehandedly took Solomon Islands to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

It would seem like fate works in different ways, as the disappointment of missing the Olympics has finally transpired into a dream signing that finally became a reality for the boy from Fishing Village.

Simplicity is an art
Fishing Village where Benjamin has his roots is a settlement right in the heart of Honiara renowned for their fishermen and at times perhaps unfairly stigmatized as trouble makers. Benjamin remains true to his humble beginnings and in spite of this latest major achievement, Benjamin will always come home to a nicely cooked meal of rice with fish in coconut cream and a tint of cabbage, Solomon style. A simple man, simple dreams and simplicity is an art form he has perfected.

I take my hat off to you Benji wishing you all the success.

US Division one club signs Solomons wonderboy Totori for 2008

The Portland Timbers Football Club, a franchise in the United States Soccer Division One League, has signed Solomon Islands forward Benjamin Totori for the 2008season, it was announced yesterday (17/04/08) pending USSF and international clearance. Totori is a member of the Solomon Islands National Team.

A member of Waitakere United of the New Zealand Football championship, Totori is expected to join the team following the NZFC season in May.

Totori, 22, made his Solomon Islands National Team debut in 2007 with four goals in five 2010 World Cup qualification matches. Recently, Totori competed with the Solomon Islands U-23 National Team during the Oceania Football Confederation’s 2008 Olympic qualification tournament in March. In five games, Totori scored 10 goals to earn the tournament’s Golden Boot Award and helped the Solomon Islands finish second in the tournament. Totori has been a member of the Solomon Islands National Team pool since he was 15.

This season with Waitakere United, Totori has scored 10 goals in 18 matches to help the club maintain its first-place position in the NZFC. His 10 goals rank among league leaders in scoring, and he is currently third in the race for NZFC’s Golden Boot Award – annually given to the league’s leading scorer. Totori began his professional career in New Zealand with Youngheart Manawatu in 2005-06, and was named the club’s Rookie of the Year.

With Totori, the Timbers now have 23 signed players entering the 2008 season.

Portland opens the 2008 USL First Division season yesterday night against the Puerto Rico Islanders at PGE Park with a 1-0 victory.

Source: Portland Timbers

Work on Suava Bay Development in North Malaita to kick off next month

By Moffat Mamu

Work on the Suava Bay Project in North Malaita is expected to start next month.

A spokesman for the Project Office in Auki said this will start off with the construction of the first jetty and a big shade. The Government plans to establish a fish cannery in Suava Bay.

“The jetty and the shade are just the initiate stages of the project,” the spokesman said. He said this will be followed by establishment of telecommunications.

Malu’u Station, about 30 kilometres from Suava, is already enjoying communication links to the outside world – thanks to Our Telekom.

It is anticipated that expanding telephones and internet to the proposed Suava Bay township is not going to be difficult.

“Right now, we are just waiting for the government to provide the funds and work on the project should start,” the spokesman said.

Suava Bay Project is part of government’s plan to boost development activities in the northern region of Malaita. A site survey was completed last week.

Minister of Commerce, Industries and Employment Francis Billy Hilly recently visited the site. He met chiefs and leaders in the area who assured the minister of their willingness open up their land for development.

Mr Hilly also told the locals that the Government’s intention is to develop Suava Bay into a commercial township.

The minister called on the surrounding communities to cooperate and support the Government with the plan. Once completed, the centre will benefit the people in many ways, Mr Hilly said.

“These will include social services such as police, health and medical care, water, communication, banking, electricity, and other basic necessities.

Source: Solomon Star

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Honiara City mayor voted out through no confidence motion yesterday

By Joy Basi

The Honiara City Council Mayor, Alfred Maetia has been ousted in a no confidence motion.

In a special session of a full council meeting yesterday, Mr Maetia was voted out 7-5in favour of the opposing group.

The Member for Ngossi ward, Andrew Mua moved the motion amidst allegations against Mr Maetia "set since February 2008".

Mr Mua said that the Council is now waiting on the Ministry of Home Affairs to set a date for vote of a new city mayor.

He denied that the motion was due to "mix feelings against him (Mr Maetia) due to ethnicity" as alleged by the outgoing City Mayor.

Mr Mua stressed that as the City Mayor overseeing the administration of the Council, "transparency and accountability is very important".

Mr Maetia was not able to comment on his defeat but it is understood that Mr Maetia will be caretaker City Mayor until an election votes for his successor.

Source: Solomon Times

Solomon's government commits SB$1 million per constituency towards livelihood development

The national government has approved a Livelihood Development Fund which distributes one million dollars to each of the 50 constituencies in the Solomon Islands.

The Fund comes under the Development Budget which was passed in Parliament last week.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development and Indigenous Business Affairs, Judson Leafasia, says the Fund is being provided by the Government specifically for projects that would benefit constituencies.

Dr Leafasia says the Livelihood Development Fund is the first of its kind, adding the government decided such assistance for constituencies to enable quick and direct access to funds to develop tangible projects.

Source: SIBC

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Solomon's High Commissioner to Australia denies provincial minister claims

Solomon Islands High Commissioner to Australia, Victor Ngele had categorically denied claims that he had avoided visiting the Minister of Provincial Government, David Dei Pacha while in Australia for medical treatment.

In a press statement, Mr Ngele refutes claims by Mr Pacha who told Parliament during debate on the motion of Sine Die that he felt embarrassed and disappointed because the country's Ambassador to Australia had ignored paying him a courtesy visit while in Hospital in Australia.

Mr Ngele who resides in Canberra explains that at no time was Mr Pacha hospitalised in Canberra as he had claimed.

Mr Ngele says he had made several attempts to contact Mr Pacha who was being treated at Saint Vincent Hospital in Sydney but was unsuccessful.

The diplomat says despite not being able to meet Mr Pacha, he knew the M-P was in good hands of Trevor Garland, Solomon Islands Honorary Consul General at Saint Vincent Hospital in Sydney.

Mr Ngele says while he had been unable meet Mr Pacha, the costs in travelling from Canberra to Sydney and back would have been a burden on limited operating budget provided to the High Commissioner's office in Canberra.

Source: SIBC

Monday, April 14, 2008

Solomons PM sets up economic advisory council

The Solomon Islands Prime Minister is setting up an Economic Advisory Council to ensure the country’s economic management is based on sound advice and not just on political expediency.

Derek Sikua says many economic management mistakes have been made in the country’s recent history.

He says it’s now time to ensure the management of the economy relies on sound advice from various sources.

The new Council will be tasked with reviewing all economic data and providing advice to government on key issues, developing trends and research.

It will meet quarterly and falls under the jurisdiction of the Prime Minister’s Office.

Dr Sikua says the Council’s recommendations to cabinet will be made public so people can participate in informed discussion about economic issues.

He hopes to have the Council set up in time to contribute towards putting the 2009 budget together

Source: RNZI

Public Accounts Committee Chairman accuses Solomons PM of sleeping in parliament

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Dr Derek Sikua had been criticised for sleeping in his seat during debate in the chamber of Parliament.

Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Francis Zama accused Prime Minister Derek Sikua of demeaning the status of the Prime Minister and Parliament by falling asleep during debate on the Sine Die motion.

But the office of the Prime Minister says Dr Sikua was not feeling well and police had to help him leave Parliament chamber.

However, Mr Zama said it was obvious Prime Minister Sikua looked drunk and that had been the cause for falling asleep in Parliament.

But, Deputy Speaker of Parliament Clement Kengava ruled that there was no justification for Mr Zama to continue to ridicule the Prime Minister in parliament.

Source: SIBC

Friday, April 11, 2008

Pay what belongs to SISA or see you next week SIG: USP students

Government sponsored students of Solomon Islands at the Fiji-based University of the South Pacific have issued an ultimatum to the national government to pay up their outstanding allowances or they will return home.

In a press release, the Solomon Islands Student Council says the national government must pay up by today or expect a mass withdrawal and home bound exodus next week.

The non-payment of allowances has seen students being barred from using university facilities, including access to the library and the Internet.

Student's living off-campus are in conflict with landlords demanding rent and are also without basic means of transport to campus.

The Student Council's decision for students to leave the university for home was made during an extraordinary meeting held with around 700 Solomon Islands students earlier this week.

The Council reiterated that student's solidarity is intact and they will not waive their unanimous decision unless the Solomon Islands Government pay up their outstanding allowances by today.

So far the government is yet to pay two-thirds of students allowances for this semester one.

It is now eight weeks into the first semester of the 2008 academic year.

Source: SIBC

Solomons government aims to help rural people whilst provincial premier questions budget

The Solomon Government aims to turn the country’s rural population to become the countries asset for economic prosperity.

Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Selwyn Riumana said this when speaking on the 2008 budget in Parliament.

Mr Riumana said the Government wishes to see the empowerment of rural dwellers through rural advancement policies.

He said the equitable distribution of economical activities is one of the main ingredients for attaining stability and security in the nation.

Mr Riumana as the majority of population are rural dwellers they depend much on subsistence agriculture for survival and existence.

However, in the absence of equitable distribution for sustainable economical activities the Minister said the people have become dependent on the government.

Meanwhile the Premier of Choiseul Province Jackson Kiloe has questioned what percentage of the recently passed budget has been allocated to be spent in the rural areas or on projects that advance rural development.

While congratulating parliament for passing the budget, Mr Kiloe says so far a lot of funding meant for rural development have been spent in Honiara, citing the recent fisheries project as one of the latest examples.

The premier says the rural people feel their names have been used as bait to attract funding support from donors, adding that most funding received in the name of rural people end up in Honiara.

Mr Kiloe says leaders must not continue to underestimate the power of the rural people in the economy as they are the majority and they elect 47 out of 50 members of parliament.

He says people in the provinces also contribute to various commodities towards the national purse.

The Choiseul Premier however says they are thankful that the current government has put more emphasis on addressing rural development issues.

But he says the Government needs to go beyond the paper budget and deliver the services to the people who own the country.

Source: SIBC

Thursday, April 10, 2008

SkyAirWorld announces enhanced flight schedule between Aussie and SI from next week

SkyAirWorld has announced enhancements to the airline’s flight schedule between Brisbane and Honiara, in the Solomon Islands, to better serve customer demands.

SkyAirWorld is the only Australian carrier to offer direct flights from Australia to the Solomon Islands.

From Wednesday next week (16 April), SkyAirWorld will commence direct flights between Brisbane and Honiara, making it the only carrier to operate Wednesday flights between the two cities. The new and improved schedule will now offer services between Australia and the Solomon Islands five days per week, operating Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

From Tuesday 6 May, SkyAirWorld will operate morning departures from Brisbane to Honiara on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays with a return flight late morning from Honiara. Flights on Fridays and Sundays depart Brisbane in the evening with a late evening return flight from Honiara.

The new schedule is a result of recent SkyAirWorld customer feedback and CEO, David Charlton believes the new flights will better meet customer needs.

“Our new flight scheduling supports SkyAirWorld’s aim to help grow the tourism market to the Solomon Islands, carrying up to 45,000 passengers per annum between Australia and the Solomon Islands,” Mr Charlton said.

Source: SkyAirworld

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

US Scientists discover new cause for the Solomons devastating 2007 earthquake

On the one year anniversary of a devastating earthquake and tsunami in the Solomon Islands that killed 52 people and displaced more than 6,000, scientists are revising their understanding of the potential for similar giant earthquakes in other parts of the globe.

Geoscientists from The University of Texas at Austin's Jackson School of Geosciences and their colleagues report this week that the rupture, which produced an 8.1 magnitude earthquake in Solomon Islands last year, broke through a geological province previously thought to form a barrier to earthquakes.

The scientists report that the rupture started on the Pacific seafloor near a spot where two of Earth's tectonic plates are subducting, or diving below, a third plate.

The two subducting plates-the Australian and Woodlark plates-are also spreading apart and sliding past one another. The boundary between them, called Simbo Ridge, was thought to work as a barrier to the propagation of a rupture because the two plates are sliding under the overriding Pacific plate at different rates, in different directions, and each is likely to have a different amount of built-up stress and friction with the overlying rock. But the boundary did not stop the rupture from spreading from one plate to the other.

"Both sides of that boundary had accumulated elastic strain," says Fred Taylor, a researcher at the university's Institute for Geophysics and principal investigator for the project. "Those plates hadn't had an earthquake for quite a while and they were both ready to rupture. When the first segment ruptured, there was probably stress transferred from one to the other.

"What our work shows is that this is a barrier, but not a reliable one," says Taylor. In other words, it resists rupturing, but not insurmountably. The work has implications for earthquakes in other parts of the world. If such boundaries are not a barrier to rupture in the Solomons, there's no reason to believe they are in other parts of the world either."

The scientists were able to piece together where and how the fault near the Solomons ruptured by observing how it affected corals living in shallow water around the islands.

Because corals normally grow right up to the low-tide water mark, scientists can readily measure how far they have been displaced up or down by an earthquake. In the case of uplift, scientists measure how far the coral dies back from its previous height as a result of being thrust up out of the water. In the case of subsidence, scientists measure how deep the coral is compared to its usual maximum depth below sea level.

"In many ways the corals are much better than manmade instruments as you don't need to deploy corals or change their batteries--they just go on measuring uplift and subsidence for you anyhow," says Taylor.

With funds from the Jackson School of Geosciences, Taylor was able to travel to the Solomons just 10 days after the earthquake to make observations, an extremely swift trip in the world of scientific field work. It was part of a new rapid response capability the Jackson School is developing for research that cannot wait several months for government or foundation grants to be approved.

Taylor's co-authors include Cliff Frohlich and Matt Hornbach, also at the Institute for Geophysics, Richard W. Briggs and Aron Meltzner at the California Institute of Technology, Abel Brown at Ohio State University, and Alison K. Papabatu and Douglas Billy at the Department of Mines, Energy and Water in the Solomon Islands.

Source: Science Daily

Let me consult my cabinet first before making a stand on Ma'asina Forum request: Malaita Premier

By Genesis Kofana

Malaita Province Premier, Richard Na'amo Irosaea, calls for caution and serious consideration on the call by Ma'asina Forum for greater political autonomy for Malaitans.

He said the issue is a sensitive one and it would require the attention of his cabinet members before going to the media on the issue.

The Premier, in a telephone interview, made the statement after a letter was sent to him last week by the President and General Secretary of Ma'asina Forum.

The letter outlined the President and General's secretary's observation of injustice towards Malaitans since British declared protectorate over the Islands.

The same letter was copied to various heads of government including His Excellency the Governor General, The Honourable Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition, RAMSI Coordinator, Minister for Provincial government, Minister for National Reconciliation Permanent Secretary, the Constitutional Reform Unit and the Media.

The Malaitan Premier will make an official stand on Thursday after consulting with his cabinet on Wednesday.

Source: Solomon Times

Solomon Islands Red Cross community project in North Malaita and Weathercoast to protect health from climate change

Written by George Baragamu (SIRC Disaster Risks Reduction/Climate Change officer) & picture in Lau Lagoon by Amanda, Australian Red Cross Health Delegate

The WHO World Health Day is celebrated globally on 7 April each year. This year’s theme was "Protecting Health from Climate Change".

With its characteristic of small islands, Solomon Islands is already prone to many potential natural hazards and these are set to be emphasized by climate change.

From rainfall to mosquito breeding, drought to flood, sanitation and the spread of disease, the climate already affects our health in many different ways. We are already experiencing an increase in the frequency and intensity of cyclones throughout the country, and there are other links between health and climate that have an impact on people’s livelihoods.

Severe flooding in the Guadalcanal plains sometimes limits food supply to Honiara. Coastal erosion and salt-water infiltration and intrusion in fresh-water aquifers and planting grounds in Ontong Java reduces people’s crop production, while the unusual high-tide/king-tides face by Artificial Islands and drought in the Reef Islands can lead to internal migration and the threat of conflict over land.

According to the Inter governmental Panel on Climate Change these sorts of impacts are those that are expected to worsen as a result of climate change. The earth is warming, the warming is accelerating, and human actions are mostly to blame through the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil. If current warming trends remain uncontrolled, humanity will face more injury, disease and death related to natural disasters and heat waves. Food-borne, water-borne and vector-borne diseases will proliferate and more premature deaths will occur because of air pollution.

Moreover, in many parts of the world, large populations will be displaced by rising seas as well as drought and famine. As glaciers melt, the hydrological cycle shifts and the productivity of arable land changes. We are already able to measure some of these effects on health even now. The health impacts of climate change will vary in different geographical locations. Initially, developing countries will be hardest hit and least able to cope, as the level of development, poverty, education, public health infrastructure, land-use practices and political structure all come into play.

Solomon Islands Red Cross has developed a programme that prepares vulnerable communities for climate change. It concentrates on climate change and disaster risk reduction in the Solomon Islands and is supported by Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Suva, Fiji.

Solomon Islands Red Cross also works with people in Guadalcanal and Malaita provinces on health activities through the Health Awareness Programme (HAP). The community-based project is run in partnership with the Ministry of Health and supported by AusAID through Australian Red Cross.

It aims to provide communities with the knowledge and skills to help them improve health and hygiene practices; from covering food and washing hands before eating, to draining stagnant pools of water and cleaning up the village. The programme also includes information about malaria, such as routes of transmission and the life cycle of the mosquito. First aid training can also be delivered. These simple solutions can lower the spread of malaria, diarrhoea, skin infections and other diseases to protect people against not only the current climate but also a changing one.

A Solomon Islands Red Cross health promotion officer, dedicated Red Cross volunteers and a Ministry of Health officer run the programme in villages in North Malaita and the Weather Coast.

The activities are designed to appeal to all members of the village, young and old, men and women. People are separated into groups of men and women, so people feel comfortable talking, and the activities are picture-based so as not to exclude those who cannot read.

Taba’a village chief George Gao of North Malaita said that since the Health Awareness Programme, people were starting to make better health choices, and learning how to keep a healthy environment.

“Since the HAP training, people understand how to look after themselves and their families, which makes for a healthy community,” he said.

“It’s good to have Red Cross in the community. We’ve had a lot of problems, including health problems we’ve had to face, and we are getting through that. Red Cross helps us in our life. We appreciate what Red Cross has done for us.”

In marking World Health Day 2008, the Solomon Islands Red Cross Health Awareness Programme team is conducting many activities including health and disaster risk reduction activities on the artificial islands of Niuleni and Tauba in North Malaita. As well as focusing on the Health Awareness Programme on Guadalcanal (Weather Coast) and Malaita (Taba’a and Malu’u), the teams at Solomon Islands Red Cross are focusing on the atoll islands and artificial islands that are most vulnerable to the negative impacts of the changing climate.

In the future, Red Cross will consider expanding its health programme to other parts of the country. It is now time to act. SIRC is committed to work closely with all its partners to tackle the issue of climate change and its impact on other sectors, starting with health.

Source: SIRC

SOPAC energy advisor says copra can help remote islands in the Pacific in place of imported fuel

The Pacific Islands Geo-Science Commission, or SOPAC, says copra will help remote outer islands in the Pacific be less dependent on fuel imports.

Copra can be used to produce body oil, soaps, and oil for bio-fuel purposes.

The senior energy advisor for SOPAC, Jan Cloin says diesel generators can be adapted to run on copra oil.

He says for remote communities that have an abundance of copra, they will be able to rely less on having to wait for fuel to arrive.

“If we give them the opportunity to mill their copra instead of putting it in bags and exporting it to urban centres, then it’s there to give them the opportunity to make oil in the villages then they have this fuel readily available. There’s many a community that will very often run out of diesel. Not because they can’t afford it but just because the transport to and fro is so complicated that they could be out of electricity for four months per year.”

Jan Cloin says because of the remoteness of outer-islands and transport costs, they often cannot profit as much from commodity price increases.

Source: RNZI

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

North Malaita rural students to benefit from TARD Partial Bursary Scheme Initiative

A partial “school fee” bursary scheme for community high school and vocational students in the North Malaita Constituency will be introduced from semester 2 2008 until end of 2009 by the To’abaita Authority for Research and Development (TARD) student volunteer group.

The initiative by TARD, which would be the first for North Malaita, is aimed at providing partial tuition fee assistance to selected rural students who are currently studying at the respective community high and vocational schools within the constituency, based on both financial need and academic merit.

The scheme is a “one semester” partial tuition fee assistance to eligible students studying at the Walo, Bita’ama, Anuke, and Arnon Atomea Community High Schools as well as the Ngalikekero Vocational Training School in North Malaita. Only rural based students within the Falau River in Malaita's provincial ward 6 and Kwai River in ward 9 studying at the above schools are eligible for the initiative.

In semester 2 2008, there will be at least 25 partial tuition fee bursaries each worth $200 for interested students. Each of the five beneficiary schools will be allocated five bursaries. It is expected that the same number of bursaries will be available for semester 1 2009 and semester 2 2009.

TARD is adamant that despite the relative insignificance of the value of each bursary, it will contribute to alleviating the extreme pressure and burden that rural parents and guardians go through each year to send their children to school.

It is estimated that by the end of the scheme in 2009, at least 60 North Malaita students will benefit from the initiative and each of the five recipient schools will get a TARD injection of $1,000 per semester.

Logistics of how interested students can apply for the bursaries and how the initiative would be managed is being finalised with TARD representatives in North Malaita.

TARD is grateful to a generous supporter that provided financial support towards this initiative. This is a clear reflection of the trust and confidence that donors and individuals have on the vision of TARD.

Lawson Tama to host first leg of OFC O-League final between Kossa and Waitakere

Kossa FC will host the first leg of the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) O-League final against Waitakere United at Lawson Tama Stadium in Honiara on Saturday 26 April 2008.

Waitakere will then host the Solomon Island champions in the return leg at Douglas Field, Trusts Stadium in Auckland on Sunday 4th May.

Waitakere United qualified for the OFC O-League final after holding Auckland City to a draw in the final match of Group A. Waitakere finished the group one point ahead of their intercity rivals and will now have their sights focused on becoming the OFC O-League champions for the second successive year.

Kossa qualified for their first ever OFC O-League final after beating Fijian champions Ba in the final round of Group B. It was the first time Ba has ever been beaten on home soil in the OFC O-League and the result was met with scenes of celebration throughout Honiara and the Solomon Islands.

There will be a strong Solomon Island influence in the finals when Waitakere duo Benjamin Totori and Commins Menapi clash with their international teammates and a large crowd is expected in Honiara for the first leg.

The winner of the OFC O-League final will earn a place at the FIFA Club World Cup – Japan 2008. The kick off times for both games are still to be confirmed.

Source: OFC

Melanesian Spearhead Group summit deferred for the fourth time

The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) leaders summit in Vanuatu has been postponed again.

The summit and associated meetings of officials from MSG member countries were due to be held in Port Vila later this month but have now been deferrred until the end of May.

A spokesman for Vanuatu’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs says the MSG summit has been postponed because one of the leaders is unable to travel at that time due to sickness.

The leaders summit will now be held on the 29th and 30th of May.

It’s at least the fourth time the summit at the newly opened MSG secretariat in Port Vila has been postponed since it was originally scheduled for late last year.

Source: RNZI

Solomon Islands Parliament pass 2008 budget

Solomon Islands National Parliament passed the country's 2008 budget of more than SBD$1.4 billion yesterday with minor typical amendments.

More than one-billion dollars was earmarked for ministerial expenses with more than 380-million dollars allocated for development projects.

It took Parliament seven days to debate the budget in the general debate, committee of supply and third reading which ended this afternoon.

Much of the development budget was allocated to the Ministry of Rural Development and Indigenous Affairs headed by the Deputy Prime Minister Fred Fono.

In this years budget the government hopes to collect increased revenue from domestic sources and hopes to control spending according to the budget.

It also hopes to refrain from borrowing any money locally and internationally.

Finance Minister Snyder Rini said the government will be looking at other revenue sources now that the logging industry will slowly becoming a less important income earner for the government over the next few years.

The current budget meeting is expected to end this week with a motion of Sine Die.

Source: Solomon Times

Monday, April 07, 2008

Ma'asina Forum urges Malaita premier to pursue Independence rather than state system

By Genesis Kofana

The Ma'asina forum has called on the premier of Malaita Province to consider Political Autonomy as a way forward for the Province.

In a four page letter to Premier Richard Irosaea, the forum outlined reasons why they think going after full autonomy is the best possible option for Malaita Province.

Ma'asina Forum, a body claiming to represent Malaitan people, said recent political development in the country, both internally and externally, had prompted the Malaita Ma'asina Forum to make the request to Premier Irosaea's government.

"Sir, we fully understand that during the Premiers Conference held in Rennell and Bellona in 2007, all Premiers including you agreed to the idea of State Government, but you also indicated to the Malaita Ma'asina Forum that State Government is not Malaita's priority," the letter reads.

"This means therefore that Malaitans have different options in determining their own political future and we hereby make this first move to recommend to you what many ordinary Malaitans have been thinking about for many years and would like to see on Malaita."

The forum believes that the issue of State Government developed out of hatred towards Malaitans. "This idea was not born out of any good intent for this country, but out of hatred of many towards Malaita as a people and province."

The letter also outlines the benefits Malaita would gain by going autonomy. "...We will be having more control of ourselves with the freedom to choose our own development partners and not those who come with their biases and bullying tactics. Political autonomy will give us some leeway in controlling our own resources and make decisions that reflect our cultural considerations, interests and not the interests of outsiders which this current National Government is entertaining."

Source: Solomon Times

Top 8 spots up for grabs in final week of Solomon's DJ League

Five teams have cemented their spot in the Solomon Islands DJ league ‘Top Eight’ competition while the other three are still up for grabs heading into the final week of the league competition.

Uncles, Makuru, Marist, Koloale and Kossa have secured their spots in the playoff competition while Walas, Hana, Rangers, Naha and Sunbeam will battle it out for the remaining three.

Results of catch up matches later this week will determine the final three clubs who will make the top 8 competition.

It has created a very exciting final week of matches in Honiara with teams desperate to make the final cut.

Naha’s dream of reaching the Top Eight suffered a major setback when they lost 3-1 to Walas on Saturday.

Naha have one game to play – against Sunbeam - which will prove crucial in determining their final standing in the league. Regardless of the result Naha will have to wait on other results to decide their fate.

Rangers have two games remaining while Sunbeam have three and a series of wins for either side would spoil Naha’s dream.

Naha conceded three quick goals in Saturdays defeat to Walas which killed the match of instantly. Their second half performance was improved with strike duo Lawrence Foanoata and George Laukeni creating many half chances but unable to capitalize on any. Match referee Matthew Taro had to suspend the match for 20 minutes in the second half because of heavy rain. The match resumed after rain subsided and was an evenly contested affair.

Laukeni’s persistence paid dividends for the Naha striker when he scored a consolation goal in the second half to lift his sides moral. But it was too little too late as Walas defended their lead, throwing everything in to ensure they went away with all three match points. Two Walas players were shown red cards for dangerous play in the latter stages of the match.

Meanwhile, Koloale beat Laugu 3-0 in the earlier match to secure their place in the ‘top eight’.

Honiara Football Association administrator Barnabas Loloito is confident the remaining outstanding matches will be completed this week so that the top 8 competition can start on April 17, 2008.

- Tue 8th April Sunbeam vs Naha 4p.m Lawson Tama
- Wed 9th April Rangers vs Laugu 4p.m Lawson Tama
- Thur 10th April Sunbeam vs Makuru 4p.m Lawson Tama
- Rangers vs Sunbeam (to be confirmed)

Source: OFC

Police minister assures a safe and secure environment for Solomon Islands

By Genesis Kofana

The Minister for Police and National Security Samuel Manetoali has pledged to use his Ministry's 2008 Budget allocations to provide a safe and secure environment for Solomon Islands.

The Government has allocated more than SBD$92million, in its 2008 recurrent budget estimates, and more than SBD$20million in its development estimates to the Ministry of Police and National Security.

The Police Minister told National Parliament during the general debate on the 2008 Budget that his Ministry's 2008 budget allocations would enable the Ministry to implement its priorities and programs, one of which is a safe and secure environment.

"A safe and secure environment in the country has both economic and social benefits to the people of Solomon Islands," said Mr. Manetoali. "A safe and secure environment are essential for foreign will also help to promote harmonious and peaceful coexistence between our people."

"These activities, he said, can only take place in a secure, safe and peaceful environment and my Ministry will utilize these financial resources to continue to provide the services required in maintaining law and order and security for the country," stressed Mr. Manetoali.

The Ministry, he said, will focus on implementing the Government's priorities and programs in regards to national security.

"The Police and Prison Service will continue to be strengthened and developed in terms of their human resources through capacity building, ongoing recruitment and training, and leadership training on the job."

Minister Manetoali said that capacity development is progressing as well and selected overseas attachments for professional development to ensure long term sustainability are also going ahead well.

These efforts will be supported by the AUSAID law and justice program which also provides help to the Prison Service and the PPF.

On police housing, the Police Minister said that it is the biggest constraint to the Government's capacity building efforts and the absence of suitable housing also undermines efforts to build professionalism at the workplace through capacity building. However, he said that the Ministry will continue with its current efforts to provide suitable housing for Police and Prison Officers both in Honiara and in the Provinces.

To achieve this objective, he said, the Ministry of Police and National Security will continue with its program which includes the rehabilitation and rebuilding of houses for our Police Force based in Gizo which were destroyed or affected by tsunami.

Source: Solomon Times

Friday, April 04, 2008

SI diplomat to the World Trade Organisation to return home in July

Despite calls to stay on for another three years Solomon Islander and Pacific Islands’ Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organisation, Robert Sisilo, is returning home in mid July for good.

Mr Sisilo whose three-year contract ends on 15 May 2008, told a meeting of Pacific Trade Ministers held in Nadi, Fiji last week that it was an honour and a privilege to have served the region during the last three years and it’s time to move on.

Ministers at the meeting thanked Mr Sisilo for the excellent service he had given the region during his term of office.

As the Forum Representative Mr Sisilo has been very active in promoting and defending the interests of all Pacific Island Countries in the Doha Development Round negotiations currently taking place at the WTO in Geneva, Switzerland.

Mr Sisilo is not sure what exactly he will do next when he returns.

But he has already informed the Secretary to the Prime Minister, Jerry Manele, of his planned return and his willingness to continue serving the people and government of Solomon Islands.

Mr Sisilo, from Sikaiana in the Malaita Province, joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1983 and was the Deputy Secretary when then Prime Minister the late Solomon Mamaloni appointed him Ambassador to the EU from May 1996 to May 2005.

He also represented Solomon Islands at the United Nations in New York from 1986 to 1990.

Source: SIBC

Australian Sports Outreach Program grants launched in Solomon Islands

Australia is proud to support sport in Solomon Islands. Therefore the Australian High Commission Office in Honiara is pleased to announce that Pacific Sport Development Grants through the Australian Sports Outreach Program are now available.

The Program focuses on increasing community participation in sport and physical activity and is designed to address, through sport and physical activity, broader community issues such as health promotion, leadership and social cohesion.

Applications for grants which promote community sport participation, sport curriculum at schools and professional development for athletes or administrators, will be viewed most favourably.

Forms are available from the Australian High Commission. Applications are due by Friday 16 May 2008.

Australia recognises that the development of sport at these levels is vital not only to enable Solomon Islands to compete on the world stage but also to promote community involvement in sport which, in turn, helps promote healthy lifestyles and peace within and between communities.

Last year Australia supported various sports including Triathlon Solomon Islands, Solomon Islands Basketball Federation, Solomon Islands Rugby Union Federation received Australian and the Curriculum Development Centre.

Source: SIBC

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