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

Thursday, May 31, 2007

UNESCO's unpaid bill for a PINA workshop venue upsets MASI Secretariat

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) head slipped out of Solomon Islands without settling its bill as a co-sponsor for one of the PINA workshop venue in Honiara.

The head of the Secretariat of the Media Association of Solomon Islands [MASI] has expressed concern that a major international organization has left the country without paying for the workshop venue it used during the recent Pacific Islands News Association [PINA] Convention in Honiara.

"It is not a large amount of money and I am surprised that UNESCO which jointly sponsored the venue with two others, left without settling the bill," Alfred Sasako said in a statement today.

The bill was for the use of a venue in Honiara for pre-PINA Pacwomen Workshop.
Alfred said MASI merely booked the venue, making it clear to the three organizations at the outset that they were responsible for meeting the bill for three day's use of the venue.

"When MASI received the bill, I immediately rang the company to find out what was going on. I was told that the head of UNESCO has asked the firm to send the bill to the MASI Secretariat," Alfred said. Alfred said he picked up the bill on Thursday afternoon and personally hand delivered it to the hotel where the head of UNESCO was staying.

"I had instructed the hotel that this was urgent and it must be delivered to the room as I was told he was leaving the next day. It was totally unacceptable that although the hotel had done this, the bill was still outstanding," Alfred said.
Alfred said MASI had gone out of its way to make the 2007 PINA Convention a memorable event.

"From delegates reports filtering through since the 4th Biennial PINA Convention concluded in Honiara last Saturday, it was clear to us that this year's Convention was the best ever in terms of organizing, program content and donor support," Alfred said.

"I am saddened however that some people appear to have a hidden agenda to destroy others hard work," he said. "As head of the MASI Secretariat, I do not and will not accept such behavior and it is only fair that the bill be settled as soon as possible," Alfred said.

Source: Solomon Times

Solomon students in Suva to meet Education Minister and delegation tonight at USP

Solomon Islands students studying in Suva, Fiji will be having an audience with the visiting Minister of Education (Dr Derek Sikua), Permanent Secretary of Education (Mr Barnabas Anga), and Director of the National Training Unit (Mr Selu Maezama) tonight at the University of the South Pacific's Laucala Campus.

The Education Minister and his official delegation are currently in Suva to attend the University of the South Pacific Council Meeting.

It is understood that tonight's meeting will be used as an avenue where the minister and his officials will present their response to a thirty-two point submission that was presented to them on Monday by the Solomon Islands Student Association (SISA) pertaining to outstanding issues that affect the wellbeing of SIG sponsored students in various tertiary institutions throughout Fiji.

The thirty-two point submission was put together after an earlier meeting by the SISA student body on Saturday, May 19th. Some of the imminent requests in that submission include the need to have a NTU liaising officer at USP, committment to the 60 percent allowance increase MOU, issues regarding students taking Distance Flexible Learning mode courses, wellbeing of married students and so forth.

Over the past three days, students were given the opportunity to have personal consultations with the Director of NTU at USP with regards to personal issues that may fall outside the thirty-two point submission.

Tonight's meeting is scheduled from 7-9pm (Fiji time) and a heavy refreshment is planned after the meeting whereby students can eat together with the education minister and his delegation.

TARD completes three training sessions for its members in Suva to promote capacity building

The To'abaita Authority for Research & Development (TARD) had successfully completed three short training sessions for its members in Suva over the weekend, with a goal to increase the capacity building among its student members.

Topics that were covered during the three one-hour sessions include "The basics of how to write a small grant proposal seeking funding for community projects", "How to write a good essay either for academic or extracurricular requirements", and "How to write a good research report/paper".

Last year, similar trainings were also conducted by TARD to more than forty student members in Suva coupled with other non-member students.

Participants of last Sunday's training include:
1) Alfred Lials Maebiru
2) Peter Fairamoa
3) Enly Saeni
4) Wilfred Atomea
5) Siulyn Tawaki
6) Jillian Fa'afunua
7) Hellen Melikei
8) Allan Ketei
9) Trevor Maeda
10) Joyce Konofilia-Maetoloa
11) Samuel Liosulia
12) Silas Laulifia
13) Simon Mau Wanekwailiu
14) Joe Ramosaea
15) William Fikutoa
16) Robert Kaula
17) John Buata
18) George Ganiau
19) Wilton Laufiu
20) Edward Danitofea

Civil society groups demand Sogavare government to appoint qualified indigenous people to top positions

Civil society groups in Solomon Islands have issued a call demanding the Sogavare Government immediately appoint qualified indigenous officials as Attorney General and Police Commissioner.

The groups, comprised of trade unions, women’s groups and Transparency Solomon Islands, say the failure to appoint Solomon Islanders is clearly motivated by the Prime Minister’s obsession with Julian Moti - the Australian he wants as Attorney General.

The civil society groups also stated that the government is systematically undoing the country’s governance systems and undermining its senior leaders.

The groups add that the first victim was former Attorney General Primo Afeau who had to be sacked to make way for Mr Moti. And it says the government is now working to remove the chairman of the Public Service Commission (PSC) and most likely, the entire membership of PSC, in order to lift the suspension it placed on the appointment of Mr Moti.

The civil society groups say they have reliable information that the PSC has been directed in writing to lift Mr Moti’s suspension. They say to appoint foreigners to these posts is a vote of no confidence by the government in Solomon Islanders.

Source: RNZI

Kossa beats Koloale in Telekom Club Championship final giving them the right to represent SI in next year's O'League

The final of the Our Telekom Club Championship has concluded yesterday and KOSSA is now the country's new representative in the 2008 Oceania league (O'League).

KOSSA opened the goal scoring galore in the 11th minute of the game. James Naka again gifted KOSSA a brilliant goal.

Richard Anisua, of Koloale who is growing more confident in his new role as an attacking midfielder delivered a powerful low shot across the goal mouth to draw level with KOSSA, the score remained 1-1 at half time.

After the break, again both teams traded carefully, it was KOSSA who came back strongly after some changes to their players. Three of the goals scored by KOSSA are arguably some of the most magical goals scored so far.

Naka scored the second important goal. It was a beautifully taken volley from a dipping cross from the right flanker. Naka did not hesitate the crowd almost knew when the ball made contact with Naka's feet that the net is going to shake and sure it did.

KOSSA supporters were screaming all over the stadium, many of them King George School students who turned up in good number to support their team. Koloale supporters were outnumbered.

The third goal for KOSSA again was a freak goal. It was from a free kick from the center of the field taken by Gideon Omokirio. He floated the ball into the goal mouth expecting the players to contest for it, however, the cross was quite high and the keeper may have had problems seeing the ball, as the ball dropped it went straight into the net. Fred Hale had to be replaced.

The fourth was a well taken shot from the right mid who put power behind the shot to put the ball straight past the new keeper.

KOSSA seemed to relax and Koloale scored two quick goals to reduce the deficit, however Kossa held on to win the match 4-3.

The game was described by many as nerve wrecking to watch, both teams played superbly and deserve to be praised. The game was played beautifully with class and precision. KOSSA now has the opportunity to represent Solomon Islands next year in the O'league.

Source: Solomon Times

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

North Malaitan attends Small and Medium Enterprises conference in Israel under MASHAV sponsorship

A prominent North Malaita leader and a founder of the Small and Medium Enterprises Council (SMEC) in Solomon Islands, Mr Leliana Daowana Firisua (pictured) is currently in Israel attending a four weeks conference for small and medium enterprises (SME's).

According to information that reached TARD from Israel, Mr Firisua had left Honiara on Sunday 27th May, via Brisbane, Bangkok and then arriving in Israel yesterday morning (Tuesday 29th May).

Mr Firisua was met at the Ben Gurion International Airport yesterday morning by the Israeli Ambassador to the Pacific Region, His Exellency Dr. Michael Ronen. He was later driven to Beer Sheva (the Golden Tullip Hotel) where he will attend the four weeks conference on "Comprehensive and Integrative Public support Systems for SME's -A central Factor of Development Policy", the Israeli way. This training will be provided by the Negev Institute Strategies of peace and Development (R.A).

"The protocol offered by the Israel Government at the Ben Gurion International Airport yesterday morning is truly a wonderful reflection of this long journey of relationship that I have developed with the Government and the people of Israel in the last five years", adds Mr Firisua.

It is understood that Firisua will be having an audience with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs towards the end of this week looking at how MASHAV (International Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) can have a strong relationship or have a stronger presence in Solomon Islands. Mr Firisua will also visit the Israel Small & Medium Enterprises Authority (ISMEA) to assess how this body can work closely with the Small & Medium Enterprises Council (SMEC) in Solomon Islands.

Firisua says that his current training in Israel may pave the way for future trainings for Solomon Islanders as it is fully financed by MASHAV (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel).

Study finds that a decline in local tradition will risk marine life in the Solomons

A study carried out on coral reef fisheries in the Solomon Islands, mostly from the Nggela culture by Dr Simon Foale (pictured), a Principal Research Fellow at James Cook University in Australia has revealed that weather disasters, economic pressures and other problems have disrupted the lives of Pacific Islanders to the point that they are now mismanaging their natural resources.

This shift has led to dangerous declines, and even collapses, of shark, other fish and marine stocks, according to the new study.

The Nggela society traditionally believe in ancestor and nature spirits that can curse anyone who breaks fishing prohibitions.

“But traditional management tends to fall apart when the external pressure increases,” said Dr Simon Foale from James Cook University and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies.

“There is a common desire among western observers to embrace a Rousseau-like image of Pacific Islanders as somehow living in harmony and balance with nature, and more importantly exercising ancient, traditional resource management institutions,” said Dr Foale, whose study has been accepted for publication in the International Social Science Journal.

Dr Foale believes low human population densities in these areas primarily kept marine resources in check in the past. But population and export market growth have contributed to the current imbalance.

Analysis of fisheries in the islands determined that harvesting practices there are unsustainable. At particular risk are sea cucumbers, trochus (a mollusc with a desirable pearly shell) and numerous fish, including sharks.

The sharks are mostly sought for their fins, which can fetch high prices in places like Asia, where they are used in traditional medicine and soups.

“Shark fisheries are inherently vulnerable to over fishing due to the very slow growth rate of most shark species, and their low fecundity,” Dr Foale said, adding that there are “no controls” on shark fishing in the Solomon Islands.

A ban was placed on bêche-de-mer (sea slug) fishing in the region, but that was relaxed after a recent, deadly tsunami washed over the islands in Western and Choiseul Provinces.

Sean Van Sommeran, executive director of the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation in California said that the issues witnessed in the Solomon Islands are comparable to what is happening across the globe.

“There are no more remote areas of the planet now,” Mr Van Sommeran said mentioning the Galapagos Islands, Madagascar, Tasmania, Fiji and the Congo as other areas where natural resources are also under threat.

Mr Van Sommeran said wealthy foreigners sometimes go to such places and offer the indigenous people trucks and other "bribe-like" incentives to meet demands, even if that means over fishing.

Source: Islands Business

SPC admits that more political will is needed to address gender equality in the Pacific

The manager of the Human Development Programme with the Secretariat of the Pacific Coomunity (SPC), Linda Petersen (pictured), says there needs to be more political will to address gender equality in the pacific.

Delegates from around the Pacific are attending the 10th Triennial Conference of Pacific Women in New Caledonia this week, with the theme being ’Pacific Women, Pacific Plan: Stepping up the Pace to 2010.

Linda Petersen adds she hopes the conference will produce more action at country level.

She says traditional and cultural attitudes are some of the issues that are tied up with hindering gender equality in the region.

“As a result we’ve got the lowest parliamentary representation of women in the world, we’re struggling when it comes to getting women into higher levels of education but also putting in place the mechanisms for more equal processes to be able to get right up to the top of political leadership levels.”

Linda Petersen also says many of the government agencies that are tasked with implementing more equal development, are under resourced.

Source: RNZI

Solomon Islands strike fishing agreement with New Zealand in Wellington meeting

Solomon Islands and New Zealand have reached an agreement in Wellington yesterday with regards to fisheries.

New Zealand Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton (pictured right) said the agreement ensures New Zealand flagged vessels play by the rules of other fishing nations when fishing in their waters. Jim Anderton said both governments want to promote strong cooperation in the fisheries sector.

Anderton stated that as neighbours in the Pacific, New Zealand fishing companies are well-placed to help with fisheries expertise.

The agreement formalizes access to New Zealand flagged vessels to fish in the Solomon Islands' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) under licenses issued by the Solomon Islands.

New Zealand flagged vessels fishing in Solomon waters must adhere to the Solomon Islands Fisheries Act, but the agreement signed means that this is also backed up by the New Zealand Fisheries Act.

"We want to ensure that New Zealand companies build on their already good reputation for being responsible international citizens," said Anderton.

A spokesman from the Department of Fisheries stated that New Zealand has a good reputation when it comes to such agreements. "It is really up to New Zealand to ensure that those that use their flags do not engage in illegal activities in our waters" the spokesman said. "Up until now New Zealand has maintained a very good track record"

Source: Solomon Times

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Kossa dumps Marist to set up a grand final play-off with Koloale in the Honiara National Club Championships tomorrow

The Kossa FC (pictured) has defeated Marist 3-1 yesterday to set up a grand final playoff tomorrow with Koloale, who thrashed Northern Warriors of Central Province 7-1 in the other semi-final match of the National Club Championships in Honiara.

It is reported that Kossa boss Willie Lai is ecstatic with the win, but Marist fans are crying foul over their team's defeat. Within 10 minutes of the first half, Abraham Iniga was given the marching orders for a foul play on Kossa defender, Takahama. The decision infuriated the Marist bench who saw the red card as unnecessary claiming it was a fair challenge.

With a man-down Marist shifted to high gear and scored in a matter of minutes to the surprise of Kossa. Benjamin Mela buried a free kick outside of the eighteen yard to the jubilation of Marist supporters.

The celebration was short lived when in less then three minutes Kossa's Joe Luwi scored a cheeky goal, tipping the ball over Marist keeper Jr Samani. The score line remained 1 all till full time.

Kossa scored in extra time courtesy of a brilliant shot by Sammy Wahero. Gibson Hosea of Marist equalized in the last 15 minutes of extra time, only to see the goal canceled by the referee Mathew Taro. Taro cited an infringement inside the six yard box and canceled the goal. Marist threatened to leave the pitch saying the referee was biased and intentionally 'handing the game' to Kossa. The game resumed and Kossa put the game beyond reach through the ever skillful James Naka. The game ended 3-1 in favor of Kossa but Marist fans, officials and players will only remember the game as a classic 'daylight robbery'.

Kossa will now play Koloale in the finals tomorrow. Kolale were convincing winners over the Northern Warriors of Central Province, winning 7-1.

Source: Solomon Times

RAMSI launches new film called "Changing Lives" depicting the lives of eight personnel

by Qila Tuhanuku

Changing Lives, a new video depicting the lives of eight people from the pacific region working with the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, was launched last week at a lunch for the Pacific Islands News Association hosted by RAMSI.

The mission’s Assistant Special Coordinator, Masi Lomaloma, said the film tells the story of people from the Pacific working with their Solomon Islands counterparts to rebuild the country.

“Changing Lives explores what the ‘R’ in RAMSI really means and at the same time asks Solomon Islanders: “How has your life changed since RAMSI came?”.

“The film presents a ‘snap shot’ of eight people working with RAMSI: on the beat as advisors to the Solomon Islands Police Force, out talking with the community, on patrol in villagers, or working with their Solomon Islands Government counterparts”, Mr Lomaloma explained.

Mr Lomaloma said the initial objective of the film was to capture the experience of different people from different countries working in the Solomon Islands with RAMSI - to find out what they are doing and what they have learnt from the experience of living and working in the Solomon Islands.

“The film helps to explain to people in Solomon Islands, but also in the Pacific region, what RAMSI is, what it does and the impact of the work of their citizens in three key areas in the Solomon Islands: law and justice, economic governance and machinery of government”, he said.

“What we have discovered in the process of making the film is that the experience of living and working in the Solomon Islands is changing the lives of both RAMSI personnel and the people they are working with”, he said.

“Building partnerships has always been a key focus of RAMSI in working together with Solomon Islanders. This film shows at a very personnel level how that is happening everyday on the streets, in government offices and in the provinces”, he said.

Mr Lomaloma said the film will be used for regional visits by RAMSI principals.

“It is important for people in the region to know and understand the contribution people from their countries are making to rebuild the Solomon Islands as well as building enduring relationships across the region”, he said.

Source: RAMSI

NZ Government says Pacific tuna fisheries should benefit Pacific more

New Zealand’s Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton has told officials gathered for the Pacific Islands Fisheries Forum Committee annual meeting this week in Wellington that they have a job to do - to ensure the region’s fisheries remains sustainable.

"For all of us here, our fisheries are a vital resource," Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton said. "And our stocks are probably the only remaining healthy tuna stocks left on the planet."

Pacific tuna fisheries are worth US$2 billion each year, Anderton says.

"Not much of that value is taken by vessels based in Pacific countries.

"I hope to see us enjoying a greater share of the economic resources that flow from this resource,”

He has urged the meeting to focus on the need for close monitoring and management of tuna stocks.

The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency was established by Pacific Island leaders in 1979 to provide members with policy advice and technical services for the management of tuna fisheries.

Source: Pacific Magazine

Late Sir Lloyd Maepeza Gina to be accorded another state funeral in Honiara today

The official state funeral of the late Sir Lloyd Maepeza Gina, a senior Solomon Islands statesman and first parliament speaker, will be held today.

The office of the Prime Minister says the body of the late Sir Lloyd will lay in State from 9am until 2:30pm in the afternoon today.

The body will then be taken to Wesley United Church for the funeral service at 3pm.

Members of the public are advised that there will be traffic delays in Honiara today due to the state funeral of Sir Lloyd. Traffic users of Mbokonavera road and east and bound traffic on Mendana avenue will be disrupted between 3 and 5pm.

Relatives have confirmed that the body will later be transported to his home village Munda, in the Western Province for burial.

Source: SIBC

Monday, May 28, 2007

Forum Fisheries Agency finalises major study on trade aspects of the Pacific tuna industry

A major study on trade related aspects of the tuna industry and their impact on Pacific Island countries has just been completed by the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) based in Honiara.

The study called Pacific Islands countries, the global tuna industry and the international trade regime – a guidebook commissioned by FFA had been designed as a reference book for fisheries officers, trade officers and tuna industry operators in FFA member countries.

Fisheries adviser to FFA Secretariat Amanda Hamilton revealed this to journalists from around the Pacific attending a workshop ‘Business and Economics Journalism’, a preceding event to the 4th Biannual PINA Convention which officially began last Thursday and ended on Saturday in the Solomon Islands.

Ms Hamilton said it was important for FFA to regulate fisheries development for its member countries and take extra precautions in ensuring that communities in the region benefit from the ocean resources.

The guidebook will help fisheries and trade officers and also tuna industry operators and their respective governments to better understand the rules and requirements of international and regional trade agreements. It also provided policy options to ensure member countries were in well-informed positions to accommodate trade rules that have potentially adverse impacts on their fishery sector.

Ms Hamilton was the project manager of the study which was conducted by consultants, Liam Campling of the University of London, Elizabeth Havice of the University of California and Vina Ram Bidesi of the University of the South Pacific. It was edited by Roman Grynberg.

Source: PNG National

UPNG Vice-Chancellor confirms starting an open college university centre in Honiara from July

The University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) Vice-Chancellor Professor Ross Hynes has announced on Saturday that UPNG will from July this year, run a UPNG Open College – University Centre in Honiara.

Prof Hynes said the centre would provide initially certificate in tertiary and community studies (CTCS) courses, and then from 2008, the centre would provide diploma and degree courses.
Mr Sogavare and UPNG Vice-Chancellor Prof Ross Hynes cutting the cake during lunch last Saturday at UPNG’s Drill Hall. The lunch was with UPNG and PAU Solomon Islands staff and students. [pic: National]

“We (UPNG) would do our best to assist Solomon Islands in tertiary education,” he said.

Mr Sogavare also encouraged Solomon Islands students at UPNG and Pacific Adventist University to be good ambassadors while in PNG, and must provide the leadership needed in their country after graduation.

Prof Hynes hosted a lunch for Mr Sogavare last Saturday at the Waigani campus Drill Hall.

After a two week official visit to Taiwan, Mr Sogavare spent Saturday in Port Moresby during which he attended a church service at the Sogavare Memorial SDA church at Gerehu with his wife Emmy, reuniting with his family and the Solomon Islands community including Solomon Islands students at UPNG Waigani and Taurama campuses, and the Pacific Adventist University (PAU). Mr Sogavare and his delegation arrived in Honiara yesterday.

Source: PNG National

Sogavare hopeful for the return of Michael Somare as the prime minister of PNG after this year's election

By Ekonia Peni

Solomon Islands prime minister Manasseh Sogavare is hopeful for the return of Sir Michael Somare as the prime minister of Papua New Guinea after this year’s national elections.

“I want him (Sir Michael Somare) to return as the head of the new PNG Government because besides his commitment to Papua New Guinea, Sir Michael would also continue to chart the direction for Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu in his capacity as the chairman of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

“Right now, all eyes are on Papua New Guinea and the result of the elections will be crucial not only for PNG, but also for the leadership of Melanesian countries. I am a Papua New Guinean by birth after being born in the Oro province and I am very much in tune with what’s happening here.

“That’s why I would have to make a State visit to PNG probably immediately after the formation of the new government to meet with whoever is the new prime minister to discuss Melanesian solidarity and important bilateral issues between our two countries,” Mr Sogavare said.

Source: PNG National

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Solomon Islands loses another statesman last night as state funeral planned for this week

Solomon Islands will hold another state funeral later this week to honour one of its statesman, Sir Lloyd Maepeza Gina who passed away last night in Honiara.

The planned state funeral follows another in respect of the late Bart Ulufa'alu today.

The death of Sir Lloyd occurred almost at the time Solomon Islands was mourning the passing of another of its statesman, the late Bartholomew Ulufa'alu whose body was transported to Auki this evening for burial.

Referring to the late Sir Lloyd,Minister of Finance, Gordon Darcy Lilo says Solomon Islands has again lost a great hero. He describes the late Sir Lloyd as a man of great insight, inspiration,courage and personality.

Mr Lilo says the late Sir Lloyd was a man of strong charisma and vision for sovereignty. He was a strong advocator of effective parliamentary democracy and a united Solomon Islands.

The late Sir Lloyd had been former District Commissioner and a founding member of the National Constitution. He was later elected the first country's Speaker of Parliament, a position he had held on three consecutive terms.

Government had appointed an interim committee to organise formalities for the late Sir Lloyd's state funeral. Sir Lloyd is from the Western Province.

Meanwhile, Governor General Sir Nathaniel Waena and family had sent their condolence to the family members of the late Sir Lloyd Maepeza Gina. Sir Nathaniel Waena described the late Sir Lloyd as a prominent leader and a founding father of the newly independent state of Solomon Islands.

The late Sir Lloyd was the first parliamentary speaker of the newly independent Solomon islands for three terms from 1976 to 1988. During his time as Speaker of Parliament, late Sir Lloyd had presided over parliament with distinction and excellence and had served in various statutory organisation boards.

Source: SIBC

Sogavare admits that the Bottom Up Approach concept pursued by his government was late Ulufa'alu's initiative

Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare had spoken highly of the late Bartholomew Ulufa'alu as a man whose initiative the Bottom Up Approach concept government had based its development policy on.

Speaking during the late Ulufa'alu's funeral Service at the Holy Cross Cathedral in Honiara today, Mr Sogavare said the late Ulufa'alu had lived a colourful life.

Mr Sogavare said as the prime minister of Solomon islands, he is not qualified to describe the life of late Ulufa'alu because of his many achievements and hardship the late leader had been through in his private and public life.

He said the late Ulufa'alu is an enemy to none and friend to all.

Mr Sogavare said during his public life, the late Ulufa'alu had thought up great ideas, one of which is the initial Bottom Up Approach and the many reforms in the country's, economic reforms.

He said through his initial reforms, Solomon Islands is able to move ahead against all odds.

Mr Sogavare said Solomon islands will miss many contributions, the late Ulufa'alu have had and new ones he may have been thinking about.

He said various government's have made the late Ulufa'alu their finance minister because of his credentials of being a reformist.

Mr Sogavare also described the late Ulufa'alu as a man who strived, even through vary trying times for a united Solomon Islands until his death last Friday after a long illness.

The body of the late Bartholomew Ulufa'alu will be buried at his home village in the Langa Langa Lagoon Malaita province tomorrow.

His body was transported home this evening by police patrol boat Auki after today's state funeral.

The country's distinguished leaders including the Governor General Sir Nathaniel Waena and Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare paid last tribute and respect to the late Ulufa'alu when his body lay in state at the national parliament chamber.

The body was later taken to Holy Cross Cathedral for a funeral service before it was transported home.

Source: SIBC

Solomons PM Sogavare and his delegation return home from Taiwan trip today

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and his delegation will return home today after a two-week state visit to the Republic of China or Taiwan.

While in Taiwan, Prime Minister Sogavare was awarded one of Taiwan's highest honorary awards, the Star of Taiwan.

The Prime Minister's 10 member delegation included two crown Ministers and their wives.

The country was almost left in suspension without information about what the Prime Minister had been doing in Taiwan for the entire duration of the two-week visit.

However, it is understood one of the key area he had raised with the Taiwanese Government officials is the possibility of recruiting unskilled labour from Solomon Islands to work in Taiwan.

Source: SIBC

PINA appoints new executive as conference ends in Solomon Islands yesterday

The two yearly meeting of the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) has ended yesterday in the Solomon Islands.

The 2007 convention, hosted in Honiara by the Media Association of Solomon Islands (MASI) concluded with a retreat and annual general meeting at Maravagi resort on Gela, Central Islands province yesterday.

At the annual general meeting, MASI president and one of the founders of PINA, John Lamani acknowledged the growth of the association since it was founded in the 1980's. Mr Lamani said PINA has faced a lot of challenges, but it must move on.

One of the outcomes of yesterday's annual general meeting was the election of a new PINA board.

General Manager of the National Broadcasting Commission of Papua New Guinea, Joseph Eladona is the new president, and Jonas Culwick of Vanuatu the vice president. Matai Akauola of Fiji Broadcasting Corporation will continue with his role in the new board as the radio representative, while Moses Stevens of Vanuatu will represent the print industry.

The other two industry representatives on the PINA board are Journalist Association of Samoa's Cherelle Jackson for national media associations and Antoine Malsungai of Vanuatu to represent the TV industry.

Yesterday's meeting also endorsed Vanuatu's nomination to host the next PINA convention in 2009.

Source: SIBC

Former Solomons PM Bart Ulufa'alu to be accorded state funeral today, the third in Solomon Islands history

The body of Former Solomon Islands prime minister (1997-2000) and MP for Aoke/Langa langa Constituency, late Bartholomew Ulufa'alu, will be given a state funeral today, Sunday 27th May in Honiara.

Announcing this, Acting Prime Minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo says the body will lay in state at Parliament House from nine o'clock in the morning to 2:30 in the afternoon.

The public will have the opportunity then to file past the body to pay their last respect to the late Ulufa'alu.

"At about 3 pm, the body will be transported down to the Holy Cross Cathedral (about 2km from parliament house) for the state funeral service. And thereafter late in the evening, the body will then be transported to his home place at Auki via the patrol boat."

The late Ulufa'alu has been hospitalised for sometime for ill health due to diabetes before he died on Friday.

His death brings to two, members of parliament in the current house who have died while in office.

Last month the member of Parliament for East Malaita constituency, the late Joses Sanga had also been accorded a state funeral.

Late Ulufa'alu's state funeral will be the third in Solomon Islands history after late Solomon Mamaloni and late Joses Sanga.

Source: SIBC

Saturday, May 26, 2007

UPNG Solomon appeal committee raises K10,000

By Lewvogo Kaiulo

The UPNG Solomon Appeal Committee has raised K10,000 in both cash and kind through a wheelbarrow push organised on May 5.

According the executive officer for International Students and chairman of the Tsunami Appeal Committee Thomas Boyama, response from staff and students has been very good since the appeal began last month.

He also said that there would be more planned activities in the future. A concert will be staged next Saturday to raise funds towards the appeal. The concert will feature West Papua’s Irene Dimara and Fred Wambrasa from the Trouble Freedom Group.

The Solomon Islands Tsunami Appeal was organised by the students’ representative council (SRC) to raise funds for the Solomon Islands tsunami victims, who were affected by the tsunami that struck in April, left more than 50 people dead.

It is believed that five out of the 60 plus students from Solomon Islands studying at the main and Taurama campus had families affected.

Boxes have been placed at school offices, the Open College, forum, library, bookshop and public relations and marketing unit office for staff, students and the general public to put in pledges.

The funds collected will be given to the Solomon Islands High Commission at the end of this month to assist families of Solomon Islands students studying at UPNG affected by the tsunami.

Source:PNG National

36,588 people affected by Solomons tsunami disaster: Disaster program officer

The National Disaster Management Office Program Officer Julian Maka'a stated that at least 36,588 people were affected by the tsunami disaster.

Maka'a revealed these latest figures during a presentation to delegates at the PINA conference in Honiara on Friday.

Maka'a also revealed that 3,241 homes were destroyed and an additional 3,047 homes damaged. Maka'a says the relief phase is now winding down and the recovery phase is now well underway.

Maka'a stated that the latest figures would assist in the recovery phase. Maka'a says that it is important to gauge the number of buildings, schools and villages destroyed since funds coming in would go towards the rebuilding of such infrastructure.

Source: Solomon Times

Honiara's China Town redevelopment plan to commence soon after Lands Minister's blessing

by Genesis Kofana, Honiara

The rebuilding of Chinatown will soon commence after the Minister of Lands, Reverend Leslie Boseto had approved the re-development plan.

Honiara City Clerk, Mr. Joseph Huta revealed that the council is keen on seeing the re-development of Chinatown. "The destruction of Chinatown has resulted in the council losing about 51 percent in revenue. The loss is a substantial one." Huta said.

Huta told stated that the plan is now with the town and country planning board to decide on the implementation date of the re-development.

"The Town Council Physical Planning Board is on its own, in terms of decision making and the council cannot influence them," said the City Clerk.

But according to the Chief Physical Planner and Secretary to the Town and Country Planning Board, Mrs. Arlene Lingo, the plan to re-develop Chinatown is already in place and it is open to the former business people to start re-building their shops.

"The plan has already been finalized and the planning board is advising all the business owners to structure their buildings according to the requirements within the plan that the board gave out," stressed Mrs Lingo.

She also stated that so far they have only approved one businessman to start rebuilding his shop.

"The planning board approved the businessman's plan because he complied with the guidelines provided by the Town and Country Planning Board," explained the Chief Physical Planner.

"The planning board really wants the re-building of shops in Chinatown to be standardized as it will make the place look nice," said Mrs Arlene.

Source: Solomon Times

Friday, May 25, 2007

Outspoken MP and former Solomons Prime Minister dies in Honiara today

Former Solomon Islands Prime Minister and member for the Aoke-Langalanga Constituency, Bartholomew Ulufa'alu has died.

The late Ulufa'alu died at the National Referral Hospital at 12:30pm (SI time) this afternoon.

Mr Ulufa'alu was in intensive medical care for some time, suffering from diabetes.

Acting Prime Minister Gordon Lilo Darcy officially announced the the late Ulufa'alu's death this afternoon on national radio SIBC.

Mr Darcy said the late Ulufa'alu was a great leaders and a true son of Solomon Islands and the country today lost also a great hero and a visionary.

He said the late Ulufa'alu had vision for the country's sovereignty, its development at the rural and community levels and reforms for the country's governance, transparency and economy.

The Acting Prime Minister described the visions as truly outstanding and will be sorely missed by everyone.

Source: SIBC

Solomons-led Anglicans stay clear of gay bishop

Organisers of a major Anglican Church conference led by a Solomon Islander are not inviting the church’s first openly homosexual bishop.

Invitations have gone out to more than 800 bishops for the Lambeth Conference - a meeting which takes place once every ten years.

The Archbishop of Melanesia, Sir Ellison Pogo, is chairman of the design group which is tasked with drawing up the agenda for the next meeting in July 2008.

In a letter of invitation, the church leader, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, said he reserved the right to withdraw invitations from bishops whose appointment has caused exceptionally serious division or scandal within the communion.

The consecration of the gay American bishop Gene Robinson in 2003 angered many Anglican Church leaders. Some have since said the Lambeth conference should be postponed until the question of homosexual bishops is resolved.

Archbishop Sir Ellison has said the conference should focus instead on spiritual reflection, learning, sharing and discerning.

Source: RNZI

National Club Championship day four results

The Telekom National Club Championship resumed yesterday at Lawson Tama after observing a rest day on Wednesday with mixed results.

In the first match at 12pm, a spririted Koloale side overcame Avaiki Chiefs with 5 goals to nil. In the other matches, Kossa FC only managed to scrape past a more determined Gudalacanal champions, Paratasi FC with a 3-2 margin. Katova of Isabel drew 3-3 with Northern Warriors of Central Province in the last match.

This now means that in one pool, Kossa is already the winner while the runner-up may be Paratasi of Guadalcanal. In the other pool, Koloale looks set to qualify for the semis as it has 6 points just after two games while the runner up position may be claimed by either Auki Kings, Marist or Kokohale. The semi finals will be played on Monday next week.

Australian Federal Police officer under investigation for alleged fraud in the Solomons

An Australian Federal Police (AFP) officer based in the Solomon Islands is under investigation for alleged fraud.

It has been claimed that the officer falsified documents linked to the importation of vehicles and rorted the mail system.

An AFP spokesman says the allegations relate to one matter and have been referred to internal affairs.

Source: ABC

Thursday, May 24, 2007

ANZ paves the way with solar powered banks in Solomons' provincial centres

Solomon Islands Acting Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo revealed to PINA delegates that ANZ has won the tender to provide rural banking to the main provincial centers in the country.

Lilo announced that ANZ in collaboration with the Government will run Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) on direct current (DC) from batteries powered by a solar panel.

"I must congratulate ANZ, and we look forward to working in partnership with them to deliver services to our rural population" said Lilo. "The initial plan is to provide at least six solar powered banks to some of the main provincial centers"

Lilo stated that at least three new mobile services will also be made available sometime soon as part of the rural banking plan.

Lilo highlighted that the partnership will help to address the issue of distance when it comes to banking. Lilo stated that the government will support the rural initiative for at least three years.

One of the delegates from PNG stated that people in remote areas of this country will finally have something to cheer about. "For, even without power, they may soon be able to utilize the services of automated teller machines (ATMs) for their monetary transactions" the delegate said. "For this I must say Solomon Islands is a pioneer in the region"

Source: Solomon Times

Retention of Culture important for Pacific Youths to face the challenges of Globalisation

Educational, behavioral, health and social problems faced by Pacific Youth can be attributed to their disconnection from their culture, their family and their community.

New Zealand’s Associate Minister of Pacific Islands Affairs, Luamanuvao Winnie Laban in her keynote address to Pacific Parliamentarians and representatives in Apia said, "Our cultural values are not a burden, they are our strength. They are the strength of our elders and can be the strength of our young people.”

“As Pacific Islanders we bring a particular set of cultural values to our lives. As a Samoan, I know my community in turn is based on families and extended families.”

“Our Community is based on values such as love, respect, reciprocity and spirituality. I know that our brothers and sisters from other Pacific Island communities operate from a similar set of values. The words are different, but the values are the same,” she said.

She said the strength of Pacific Island cultures is their flexibility and the adaptability and this has allowed Pacific People to grow and change and to retain their values in a globalising world.

“My message to the Pacific Youth is be proud of what you are, treasure your Pacific values, stand tall, be strong, fear nothing and work hard to succeed in all you do.”

“And my message to Pacific Parliamentarians is treasure our Pacific Youth, listen to them, support them – for they are our future,” Laban said.

Source: Islands Business

Solomons opposition supports role of Public Service Commission

A member of the Solomon Islands parliamentary opposition, Milner Tozaka, says the Public Service Commisson must remain independent of government influence when it considers applications for state jobs.

Mr Tozaka was responding to an announcement made by the secretary to the Prime Minister, Dr John Roughan, on the government’s plan to review the PSC.

Dr Roughan says the review should pave the way to ensure PSC is more in line with the government’s views, adding that there is an inability in the commission to think as the government is thinking.

But Mr Tozaka disagrees, saying the PSC has been established not only to appoint government employees but also to oversee the adherence of public service recruitment, regulations and procedures.

He says if the PSC is to follow the government line of thinking the whole public service could be filled with cronies, relatives and friends.

Source: RNZI

Forum Secretary General confirms dates for the 38th Pacific Leaders meeting in Tonga

Forum Secretary General, Greg Urwin, has announced that the 38th Pacific Islands Forum will meet in Nuku’alofa, Tonga on 16 and 17 October 2007.

The dates were confirmed following consultations with the Government of Tonga, as the next Forum host, and with other member governments. All the meetings will be held in Nuku’alofa, except for the Leaders’ Retreat, which will be held in Vava’u.

The Forum Secretariat is working closely with the Government of Tonga on arrangements for the Forum and Forum-related meetings.

Prior to the annual Leaders’ meeting, there will be the Smaller Islands States (SIS) Leaders’ Summit and the Pacific ACP Leaders’ Summit. Following the Forum meetings involving Leaders, there will be the 19th Post-Forum Dialogue Partners’ Plenary Session between the Forum and its 13 Dialogue Partners on high level policy issues.

The meeting of the Forum Officials Committee will be held in Nuku’alofa on 25 and 26 September. The Forum Officials Committee is the governing body for the Secretariat.

The program is as follows:

Monday 15 October
- Smaller Islands States Leaders’ Summit
- Pacific ACP Leaders’ Summit

Tuesday 16 October
- Official Opening of the 38th Pacific Islands Forum
- 38th Pacific Islands Forum Plenary Session

Wednesday 17 October
- Forum Leaders’ Retreat

Thursday 18 October
- 19th Post-Forum Dialogue Partners Meeting

Source: PIFS

RAMSI Coodinator says RAMSI immunity in-line with many donor organisation arrangements as it helps to get the job done

by Jeremy Miller

The immunities granted to RAMSI do not give personnel the authority to break the law, RAMSI Special Coordinator, Tim George told regional journalists yesterday.

Speaking at a lunch for participants of the Pacific Islands News Association, Mr George defended RAMSI’s immunities saying they were not intended to benefit individuals. But were only there to ensure that members of the mission could do the work they came to Solomon Islands to do.

“Immunities are a normal part of the arrangements for many donor organisations operating in Solomon Islands, Mr George said.

“Many international donor organisations here to help the Solomons such as UNDP have been granted immunities to enable them to do their job,” Mr George said.

“The purpose of immunities is to ensure the effective performance of the functions of RAMSI.”

If immunities were not in place, RAMSI’s activities could be undermined and delayed.

Mr George said that the threat of legal claims could be used to intimidate or influence RAMSI personnel.

“Immunities are therefore important in ensuring RAMSI personnel can undertake their work efficiently and effectively, in an independent and objective manner and that the mission’s time and resources are not easily diverted from the task it has come to do.”

Family members or dependants of RAMSI personnel do not enjoy any immunity under the act.
“The immunities and privileges provisions for RAMSI personnel in Solomon Islands are in line with the provisions of immunity regularly enjoyed in Solomon Islands by donor organisations such as UNDP and other multinational agencies, Mr George said.

Most importantly, it needs to be remembered that the immunity provisions are subject to the Solomon Islands Constitution, Mr George said.

“The Facilitation of International Assistance Act does not provide immunity in respect of any actions that might infringe the constitution.”

RAMSI also puts a lot of effort and energy into making sure members of the mission respect Solomon Islands culture, institutions, laws, personnel and protocols he said.

All RAMSI personnel are subject to rigorous codes of conduct and Commanders Orders.

“Because of all this scrutiny, RAMSI personnel are held to a significantly higher level of conduct than would be the case back in their home countries,” Mr George said.

Source: RAMSI

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

AFAP donated medical supplies for North Malaita clinics await clearance from Customs in Honiara

The container of medical supplies being donated by Australian non-government organisation (NGO), the Australian Foundation for the Peoples of Asia and the Pacific (AFAP), to seven rural clinics in North Malaita as a community project by TARD is currently at the Point Cruz Wharf awaiting Customs clearance by the Rotary Club in Honiara.

A call to Mr Roy Hall, leader of the Rotary Club Honiara revealed that the container has already reached Honiara around May 15 after departing Australia on April 28. He stated that they are now in the process of clearing the container through Customs before taking it to a rotary site near the Malaria Research Centre in Kukum. From there, TARD will collect the supplies and transport them from Honiara to North Malaita to be delivered to the beneficiary clinics during the week from Monday 11th-Saturday 17th 2007.

The seven health centres in North Malaita that will benefit from this assistance include Arao and Sulagwalu clinics in the Lau/Baelelea Constituency and Fo'ondo, Bita'ama, Gwaiau, Orukalia, and Malu'u clinics in the North Malaita Constituency.

Some of the supplies bound for North Malaita range from 4 drawer filing cabinets, bedside cabinets, IV stands, patient trolleys, plastic chairs, children's wheelchairs, mattresses, boxes of assorted medical supplies, boxes of syringes, boxes of needles, boxes of spectacles, boxes of birthing kits and so on.

The request was formulated after witnessing the need for further medical supply enhancement in North Malaita while delivering forty boxes of medical supplies donated by the Medical Aid Abroad of New Zealand to four rural clinics late last year. The application was channeled through the AFAP office in Honiara which then forwarded the proposal to Australia. This assistance is made available under AFAP’s Medical Supplies and Services program.

AFAP is an innovative non-profit overseas aid organisation based out of Sydney that aims to make a positive difference to the lives of people throughout Africa, Asia and the Pacific. Some of the projects that AFAP has already implemented in the Solomon Islands include the regional South Pacific integrated development program; building livelihoods, empowerment and strategic sustainability program; disaster preparedness program; and internally displaced person (IDP) resettlement program.

TARD is adament that this project will further enhance the service delivery at the beneficiary clinics as four of the clinics (Malu'u, Bita'ama, Fo'ondo & Gwaiau) have also benefited from a similar donation from the Medical Aid Abroad New Zealand organisation late last year in partnership with TARD.

TARD is therefore grateful to the AFAP, on behalf of the North Malaita people for this generous donation as well as covering the shipping costs from Australia to Honiara and ensuring to meet the Customs clearance costs in Honiara.

Pacific Island governments urged to invest more resources in Education

By Vienna Richards in Apia

With more than one in four young people living in extreme poverty in developing countries, Pacific Island nations must focus on youth to be effective in combating poverty, said United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Spokesperson Najib Assifi.

Speaking at the opening of the Pacific Parliamentary Assembly on Population and Development in Apia yesterday, Assifi said, “If we fail to invest in their education, health and employment, we will further entrench poverty for generations to come.”

With young people accounting for a large share of the population, they can be a dynamic force for change, said Mr Assiji. “But greater investments must be targeted to their well-being.”

“Young people, against a background of often limited economic growth, face increasing competition for jobs and other economic opportunities.”

“Investing in the education and health of the current youth generation will pay off, in terms of increased productivity, reduced health costs and enhanced social capital.”

The theme of the four-day inter-government meeting is safeguarding Pacific youth and accelerating actions thorough partnership with Pacific Parliamentarians.

Assiji called on governments and donors to invest more in youth and urged parliamentarians to be active champions of young people.

“Today Pacific Island countries are faced with new challenges while trying to meet the demands and needs of their changing population such as the growing demand for healthcare, land, drinking water, food, etc.”

Issues facing young people include becoming increasing sexually active at a very early age and sexually transmitted infections including the HIV epidemic and other related issues.

Participating governments are: Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Cook Islands, Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

Parliamentarians from New Zealand, Australia and Thailand are also presenting on youth issues and programmes operating in their respective countries.

The meeting is expected to produce a Regional Framework For Action on Youth Initiatives in the Pacific.

Source: Pacific Magazine

CBSI Deputy Governor says Solomons foreign reserves continue to rise from 2006

Solomon Islands' foreign reserves rose to SBD$902 million by mid may 2007 from SBD$790 million at the end of 2006.

The increase in foreign reserve also extends the period of import cover from 4.3 months to almost 6 months of import cover.

The Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Solomon Islands in his presentation to participants at a PINA workshop reported that recent development in the SI economy has yielded positive outcomes. He told the participants that the GDP grew by 6.1%, an increase of 1.1% over last years' growth of 5%. He said this is the fifth consecutive year in which the country has experienced positive economic growth.

He further explained that there is a mixed production in 2006 for real sector where there are increases in logs, fish, coconut oil and palm oil but decreases in copra and cocoa production.

The deputy governor gave three reasons for the growth in real sector, firstly Palm oil back after six years; High production volumes; Strong commodity prices.

All these growths the Deputy Governor said has amounted to the monetary sector experiencing upward trends in credit, money supply and liquidity. He said the most important aspect of current growth is the fact that government has gone from a net borrower to a net saver. He told participants that the government had been able to make SBD$39 million dollars through revenue collection.

However, the Deputy Governor has warned that increase liquidity may pose a problem when people choose to spend the money on consumable items and not on development projects.

Source: Solomon Times

Human rights response critical to fight spread of HIV in Solomon Islands

A workshop on HIV, human rights and the law in Honiara has heard that a human rights response was critical in the fight to reduce the spread of HIV in the Solomon Islands.

Pacific Regional Rights Resource Team Trainer Seema Naidu says if the rights of people living with HIV are respected and they are treated with dignity and not stigmatised in Pacific societies, then more people will be willing to come forward for testing and treatment.

The five-day workshop aims to identify and discuss emerging legal and human rights issues surrounding HIV.

They include the human rights based approach to address issues such as stigma and discrimination, gender, privacy, confidentiality and third party notification.

Others are the right to health, mandatory testing and willful transmission.

Participants will also develop strategies to address these issues within their organisations.

Twenty participants from non-governmental organisations and government departments are attending the workshop.

Source: SIBC

Pacific parliamentarians urged to champion young people

The United Nations Population Funds Representative to the Pacific, Najib Assifi, has urged the Pacific parliamentarians gathered in the Samoan capital, Apia, to be active champions for young people of the Pacific.

More than 50 representatives are attending the 2nd Regional Meeting for Pacific Parliamentarians.

A New Zealand delegate, MP Steve Chadwick, agrees that the Pacific should invest in young people and their human rights, saying she will be pushing for a couple of issues to be discussed at the week long conference.

Source: SIBC

PINA bi-annual Conference gets underway in Honiara this morning

The Pacific Island News Association (PINA) major conference gets underway in Honiara this morning after various pre-workshops.

Pacific Correspondent Campbell Cooney reports the bi-annual conference has attracted media professionals from across the Pacific.

One person who won't be there is PINA's president Ken Clark, who will be in the USA on work committments. Later this week PINA will hold its general meeting, and Mr Clark says he will not be standing for re-election.

He and his board have been criticised for their management over the past two years, in particular the fact the association's secretariat in Suva doesn't have a full time manager.

It is also understood, Taiwan which had donated USD$65,000 to help run the conference will have no official presence.

The Taiwanese government announced last week it had cancelled sending a delegation, in part to avoid causing further dispute between organisers and mainland China, which has strongly criticised the acceptance of the sponsorship.

Source: Radio Australia

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Central Roviana's Kokohale draws match with Honiara Marist FC

The lads from Central Roviana gave Marist a run for their money ending the game with a 3 all draw.

Marist played the game with a huge dent on their pride, the supposedly number one club in the top league. Kokohale showed little respect for the Honiara champions by scoring three goals, two in the first half and one early in the second half.

Kokohale managed to hold on to the lead for a good sixty minute of the game. The occasion may have overwhelmed Kokohale, as they allowed Marist back into the game very late into the match. Two goals came courtesy of Benjamin Mela, who was in excellent form. Jack Samani saved Marist from a possible humiliating defeat by scoring the equalizer very close to full time.

Meanwhile another entertaining match between the Auki Kingz and the Avaiki Chiefs ended in a 2 all draw. After its huge humiliating defeat to Marist, the Avaiki Chiefs managed to put up a much better performance against Auki Kingz. Auki Kingz led 2 - 1 for most of the match, a third goal was disallowed by the referee after receiving advice from the assistant referee. Sensing a draw the Avaiki Chiefs pushed hard and were rewarded close to the end of the match with a goal.

Source: Solomon Times

Socceroos 2006 World Cup star Tim Cahill to promote football to his roots in Samoa

Australia and one-time Samoa football international Tim Cahill is on his way back to Samoa to help promote football as a means for promoting a healthy lifestyle.

Cahill starred for Australia at the FIFA World Cup - Germany 2006 with a string of world class performances as the Socceroos made it to the round of 16 before being eliminated under controversial circumstances by eventual winners Italy.

Cahill's football career had an inauspicious start when he turned out for Samoa U-20 as a fresh-faced 14-year-old substitute 13 years ago.

Cahill - who was born in Australia to an English father and Samoan mother - was left in international limbo - the sole appearance for Samoa was enough to prevent Cahill from representing Australia until FIFA changed it's rules on player eligibility in 2004.

Despite becoming an established Socceroo Cahill has never lost touch with his Samoan roots and is keen to play a part in helping children in Samoa improve their education, health and sense of self-worth using football as a development tool.

Cahill's father - Tim senior - has been active in promoting his son's cultural commitment to Samoa and said his son was exceptionally proud to be part of something that adds value to the lives of youngsters in the Oceania region.

Another New Caledonian born French football superstar Christian Karembeu has been very active in promoting football, education and health initiatives in the region since retiring from the professional game in 2005.

Source: OFC

Two Solomon youths to attend Oxfam International Youth partnership meeting in Hong Kong

Two Solomon Islands youths, Lawrence Nodua and Kennedy Folasi, will be participating in the Oxfam International Youth Partnership Program meeting of trainers in Hong Kong.

Mr Nodua said they will leave the country tomorrow for the week long meeting which is anticipated to attract at least 30 young people from Asia, Europe, Caribbean, America, Australia and the pacific who are members of the global network “Oxfam International Youth Partnership”.

“The meeting is to plan towards the world event of Oxfam International Youth Partnership third sitting which will bring together a total of 300 young people around the world to discus and plan out strategies to assist their communities in a small way to alleviate ongoing problems youths face daily in their lives,” Mr Nodua said.

The third sitting of OIYP will be taking place in Sydney, Australia from September 30 to October 9.

Mr Nodua said in Hong Kong facilitators will build and learn more about roles and responsibilities of a facilitator as mentor and motivators as they prepare for the OIYP event programs in September.

After the meeting in Hong Kong facilitators will become resource persons at various stages from 2007-2010.

Mr Nodua said he looks forward to working closely with the various youth stakeholders in the country to encourage youth development.

Source: Solomon Star

Japan Fishing Association donates more than SBD$63,000 to tsunami victims

The Japan Far Seas Purse Seine Fishing Association has donated more than SBD$63,000 to help the people affected by the recent earthquake and tidal wave disaster in the Western and Choiseul Provinces.

Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources Nollen Leni yesterday confirmed the donation.

Mr Leni said the money has already been paid to the Central Bank of Solomon Islands.

He said the Association and government have been negotiating fishing access agreements for Japanese fishing boats to fish in Solomon Islands waters.

Mr Leni said the Association however does not have any formal representative in Solomon Islands so that is why it has to come through the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources.

Masao Nakada who is the Tuna expert for the Honiara-based Forum Fisheries Agency was the mediator between the Association and Ministry for the money to come through.

National Disaster Council representative Julian Makaa thanked the Fisheries Minister and assured him that the money will be used for its intended purposes.

Makaa also asked the Minister to convey NDC’s gratitude to the Association on behalf of the affected people of Western and Choiseul Provinces.

Permanent Secretary Ruth Liloqula and Under-Secretary Silvester Diake of the Ministry also witnessed the ceremony which took place in the Minister’s office yesterday.

Source: SIBC

Honiara police concerned about rise in fatal traffic accidents as bus hits four pedestrians

The Solomon Islands Kukum Traffic Police are investigating the cause of a traffic accident in which a pedestrian was killed and three others seriously injured after mid-day yesterday in Honiara.

The accident happened at Guso Point on the Kukum Highway.

Police say the four pedestrians; a woman and her 10 year old daughter and two other girls believed to be sisters aged 9 and 4 years old were standing on the side of the road when they were hit by a public bus.

Police have been told that the woman was standing with her daughter on the side of the road.

As the bus approached she tried to get the three children out of the way but sadly the bus collided with all four.

The woman and her daughter received serious injuries and are still at the National Referral Hospital.

The eldest of the two sisters was treated for minor injuries while her four year sister was pronounced dead on arrival at the Hospital.

A 21 year old driver of the vehicle is currently assisting police with the investigation.

Source: SIBC

Athletic Solomons still unsure of their medal prospects at upcoming Samoa games

The Pacific games dateline is near but Athletics Solomon Islands officials are still unsure of our medal chances at the games.

Athletic Solomons Vice-president Technical Mr. Paul Kori stated that while they are banking on our best Athletes they cannot be 100 percent sure until we know their form in the few days leading up to the games.

At the moment, Kori said our medal chances are in the long and middle distance runners.

"We do have some medal hopes in the sprint. Francis Manioru and Chris Walasi could finish in the top three if all goes well" said Kori. "Other medals chances are in half marathon. Chris Votu will have to defend the gold medal he won at Palau and right now Chris is in top form. He just came back from Brisbane and I understand he is in Foxwood area at the moment training,"

Kori said that in the 200m, Wallace may have some medal chances. In the 400m again Chris Wallace has the second best time of 47 seconds behind Fiji's champion.

Athletics Solomon Islands are still undergoing intensive training for the upcoming Pacific Games in Apia, Samoa.

Source: Solomon Times

Media Association of Solomon Islands wants RAMSI to leave in 10 years

The largely Australian Government funded Regional Assistance Mission in the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) should not remain in Solomon Islands beyond 10 years.

The suggestion is a key feature of the Media Association of Solomon Islands, MASI's, submission to the Pacific Islands Forum-appointed two-member task force mandated to conduct a review of RAMSI's operations in Solomon Islands.

MASI has kept its submission to the task force under wraps until now.

But PACNEWS says it has been reliably informed by diplomatic sources in Suva that of all groups consulted by the task force in their recent trip to Honiara, the media body was the only one that offered an exit date for the regional mission.

It says the other submissions, including those from the government of Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare didn't mention a date, only speaking of an exit strategy for RAMSI in “general terms.”

A diplomatic source told the Suva-based news agency that some submissions state RAMSI should leave once stability is restored in the Solomon Islands or when sustainable development is assured.

Sources told PACNEWS all these information were contained in the informal document the RAMSI review task force had circulated to all RAMSI-contributing nations, including Australia and New Zealand.

The non-paper is merely an information paper, briefing stakeholders on the result of their first phase of consultations in Honiara in the beginning of May.

MASI's position on RAMSI was only disclosed yesterday as it prepares to host members of the region's media organisations for the convention of PINA, the Pacific Islands News Association.

Source: SIBC

Monday, May 21, 2007

World Vision Solomon Islands sends re-assessment teams to Ranongga and Simbo following complaints

World Vision in Solomon Islands is sending out teams today to re-assess the needs of people on Ranongga and Simbo islands in the Western Province, following complaints that further assistance is still required.

A spokesperson for Ranongga disaster relief committee, Mambo Fangaria had stated that some people have still not been able to get tents for shelter, more than two months after the island was hit by an earthquake and tsunami.

Brad Cowling, from World Vision in Gizo, says 500 of the neediest families on the two islands did receive tarpaulins, which have been used as tents, but more may be required.

He says he has another 500 tarpaulins available for distribution which will occur following the re-assessment.

“World Vision has a series of boats that we send out and a team of 18 local people that are working on various issues, from hygiene issues, water and sanitation, there’s a shelter issues as well, and a project officer to co-ordinate some of these.”

Source: RNZI

Solomons new police commissioner says his appointment was all in order

Newly appointed Solomon Islands police commissioner, senior Fiji police officer Jahir Khan has assured that his appointment is all in order.

Khan says he has the support of the police force in the Solomon Islands.

"The Governor of the Solomon Islands, Sir Nathaniel Waena would have not sworn me in if I didn’t get the support of the police force there."

Khan was responding to reports from Honiara that there were claims of a possible constitutional breach in the process.

Khan was sworn in by the Governor General in Honiara last Tuesday.

Just minutes ahead of the ceremony, the Police and Prisons Service Commission alerted the Governor General that they had not approved the Prime Minister' selection of Khan as commissioner.

However, the Governor General said the fact that the Prime Minister's Office consulted one commissioner was enough to satisfy the constitutional requirement.

Khan said the media had blown the incident out of proportion. He will be leaving Fiji on June 10 to take up his new appointment.

Source: Fiji Live

Solomons Foreign Affairs Minister off to ACP talks in Brussels today

The Solomon Islands Minister of Foreign Affairs, External Trade and Immigration Patterson Oti leaves for African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) talks in Brussels today.

Mr Oti was nominated as alternative spokesperson for the pacific region to front discussions on issues affecting the ACP in relation to the Economic Partnership Agreement, EPA, between the European Union and the ACP group.

Samoa is the current spokesperson for the Pacific region and Oti will join his Samoan colleague in Brussels this week.

The ACP talks are aimed at strengthening the group’s intelligent and technical demands ahead of the EU-ACP negotiations over trade between the EU and the ACP.

Some pacific countries have enjoyed trade benefits by having free entry of ACP goods into the EU market.

But the EU has set December 31 as deadline to put an end to that special arrangement.

Mr Oti said the ACP needs sound demands and offers in order to convince the EU on the EPA.

Last week pacific trade ministers met in Fiji to establish some common points to present in this weeks ACP talks.

Minister for National Planning and Aid Coordination Steve Abana who is already in Brussels will join Mr Oti during the talks.

Source: SIBC

PINA workshop opened in Honiara by Minister of Education

Solomon Islands Minister for Education, Dr Derick Sikua this morning officially opened five training workshops which are being held prior to the bienniel conference of the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) in Honiara.

Dr Sikua was invited to do the officially opening in his capacity as the supervising minister for Foreign Affairs.

He assured workshop participants and their trainers of Solomon government's support for the role that the media plays both in Solomon Islands and the region.

Dr Sikua said Solomon Islands through the Media Association of Solomon Islands is proud to host the PINA meeting.

Minister Sikua said he is pleased that workshop organisers have pulled together an assortment of expertise from the region and Solomon Islands to the training.

Source: SIBC

PINA Convention and workshops start in Honiara today

The official opening of training workshops by the Pacific Islands New Association (PINA) will take place in Honiara today.

The workshops to be attended mostly by local journalists and other media workers in the country are part of the Pacific Islands News Association three-day convention which starts on Saturday.

Associate members of PINA from overseas countries in the Pacific including Australia and New Zealand have already arrived in Honiara during the weekend.

The international convention is being jointly sponsored by PINA and the Media Association of Solomon Islands (MASI).

The five separate workshops prior to the convention will cover various fields and areas of journalism discipline and discrimination of information as important aspects of development.

Meanwhile, a regional workshop bringing journalists from ten Pacific Island nations to the Solomon Islands this month will focus on building a new Pacific media and health partnership.

The initiative, aimed at setting up short and long-term support for better communication of health issues in the region, is being organized by the Noumea-based Secretariat of the Pacific Community through its Public Health Programme.

SPC has previously hosted regional media training courses focusing on reproductive health issues around HIV and other sexually transmitted infections through its Adolescent Health and Development Section and its Regional Media Centre, in Suva.

Program Coordinator Nicole Gooch says the new focus on encouraging Pacific newsrooms to also strengthen their approach to other areas of health reporting is much needed.

Ms Gooch, HIV and STI Communications Officer for SPC, is working with the Pacific Islands News Association, PINA, to run the workshop titled 'Building bridges for better health communication'.

The three day event will be led by Pacific media trainer Lisa Williams-Lahari and local counterpart George Herming of the Government Communications Unit in the Solomon Islands.

Source: SIBC

Solomon government denies Fono's claim that the Deputy PM post had been offered to him

Solomon Islands Acting Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Gordon Lilo Darcy says that the Government never offered the Deputy Prime Minister post to Opposition Leader Fred Fono.

Mr Darcy made the clarification during a press conference on Friday.

Local newspaper Solomon Star had reported last week that the Opposition Leader, Fred Fono had been offered the Deputy Prime Minister's post.

But Mr Darcy said that the government is not aware of the offer and does not need the services of Mr Fono.

The Acting Deputy Prime Minister also said that he thinks it is an embarrassment for Mr Fono to have made a public statement when no such offer was made.

He said the government already has a comfortable majority and Mr Fono should stick to his duty as the Opposition Leader of the country.

Source: SIBC

Interim report of Honiara black Tuesday riots last year to be released next month

A Commission of Inquiry into last year's riots in Solomon Islands' capital, Honiara after the election of Snyder Rini to the Prime Minister's position, is planning to release its first interim report next month.

One of the inquiry's commissioners, Charles Levo, says the inquiry is being conducted in stages.

He says the inquiry will run for five months and the first stage will examine what caused the riots.

Three people are currently on trial in the Solomon Islands High Court for allegedly inciting the riots.

Mr Levo says the inquiry will release separate findings on who it identifies as being responsible for the riots.

"The first stage, by way of interim report, should be available around June and that would basically be looking at the facts of the riots, not to go into issues of who would be responsible. Those are questions that would be considered in the later stage of the inquiry," he said.

Source: Radio Australia

Friday, May 18, 2007

North Malaitans raise fund to support tsunami affected communities in Western and Choiseul province

A Malaita Northern Region Disaster Fundraising Committee effort to support affected communities in Western and Choiseul Provinces will end its activities tomorrow.

Committee Treasurer Henry Kanairara told NDC in a phone conversation from Malu’u this afternoon that they have already raised more than 10-thousand dollars since starting on the 29th April.

Mr Kanairara says the committee is appealing to surrounding and nearby communities of the area to come out tomorrow and support with their final effort.

He says they will start the final program at Malu’u station tomorrow with a barbecue.

Mr Kanairara says the highlight of the day’s effort will be the live performance of well known local Gospel group Echoes of Innocence.

He says his committee’s final program will run throughout tomorrow.

Source: SIBC

SMEC Chairman confident that Solomons 2007 Trade and Cultural Show village in Auki will be ready before July

The 2007 Trade and Cultural show organising committee hopes that things will be ready for the show at Auki before the first of July.

Chairman of the Small and Medium Enterprise Council (SMEC) and North Malaitan, Michael Maena who is also Chairman of the Auki Trade and Cultural Show this year, says his committee is working around the clock to ensure deadlines are met.

Mr Maena says flyers, a stage, a tower and other equipment for this year's events have been secured from the Ministry of Commerce and will be shipped to Auki on the 21st of this month.

He says that a team from the organising committee will be stationed in Auki as from next week to oversee ground work on the proposed site.

Mr Maena says his committee sees no obstacle in their role as the main organising body for this year's event.

He says the working committee is confident that the proposed new Auki Market area will be converted into a beautiful village for the Trade and Cultural Show event before the program kicks off on July the first.

It is understood another North Malaitan, Mr Leliana Daowana Firisua who is the advisor of SMEC is currently in Nadi, Fiji attending the trade negotiations meeting. He will fly back to Honiara tomorrow morning and will go down to see the ground work at Auki next week.

Source: SIBC

Solomon’s PAP admits it is has strong negotiating position after withdrawing from opposition

The Parliamentary wing leader of the People’s Alliance Party in Solomon Islands admits his party has a strong negotiating position after having withdrawn its support from the opposition.

Clement Kengava says the party’s national executive will decide next month if the four PAP MPs will join the governing coalition, led by Manasseh Sogavare, taking the government one step closer to a two thirds majority in the house.

The government would then have the power to change the constitution.

Mr Kengava denies he has been offered any sweeteners in the form of ministerial portfolios despite the opposition leader, Fred Fono’s claims that the government is trying to bribe opposition MPs to join its coalition.

Mr Fono says he has been offered various positions including Deputy Prime Minister.

Mr Kengava says he is currently considering a parliamentary position and, if his party decides to join the Sogavare government, he would consider a ministerial portfolio.

“Right now I am not thinking of taking up any ministerial portfolio not unless PAP becomes a coalition partner with the ruling government.”

Source: RNZI

Fono says Sogavare had offered him the Solomons Deputy PM post but he refused to accept it

The Solomon Islands opposition leader, Fred Fono, says he has been offered the position of Deputy Prime Minister by the Sogavare government which is trying to gain a two thirds majority.

Mr Fono says he has turned down various offers of ministerial positions since Sogavare’s Social Credit Party took power and he is now calling on opposition members to see beyond their political ambitions as the government steps up its campaign to lure members over to the ruling coalition.

The call comes as one MP from the Solomon Islands Peoples Alliance Party is reported to be joining the government’s coalition.

Mr Fono says as a believer in good governance, he was not tempted to join the Social Credit Party.

“Right from day one they’ve been trying to lobby me. I remain firm as a man of principle to look at how best the governance of this nation is. I remain firm on principles of good governance, transparency and accountability.”

Source: RNZI

Chairman of Police and Prison Services Commission says the commission is unsure of how Solomons new Police boss was identified

Chairman of the Police and Prison Services Commission Edmund Andresen says the commission is in the dark as to how the new Commissioner of Police was identified.

Mr Andresen says all that was in the commission's minutes was it's decision to advertise the post both locally and overseas.

He says the Public Service Commission was going to advertise the position.

Mr Andresen says as far as the Police and Prison Services Commission is concerned, the post had not yet been advertised.

He says even if the appointment of Fiji national Jahir Khan was special, the commission was not aware of it.

Mr Andresen says up until now, the commission have yet to know how Mr Khan was appointed.

He says recommendation for the appointment has yet to be formalised by the Police and Prison Services Commission.

Mr Khan was sworn in by Governor General Sir Nathaniel Waena at Government House on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Police and Prison Services Commission chairman Mr Andresen denies reports by Solomon Star news paper that he had attempted to block the swearing-in-ceremony of the new Police Commissioner on Tuesday.

Mr Andresen says at no time did he say the swearing in ceremony should not take place, nor had he intended to delay it.

Mr Andresen says he informed a Government House Official that morning that the process of formalising the recommendation by the Prime Minister has not been done by the commission, and a swearing in ceremony could be un-procedural and open for a challenge by any interested party.

Mr Andresen denies saying the swearing in was unconstitutional.

He says the procedure he referred to was the same process that was followed in the appointment of previous Police Commissioners.

He says his presence at Government House that morning was not to witness the swearing in, but was a result of an unprecedented order by the Governor General to explain the position of the commission to those present.

Source: SIBC

Honiara city council campaigns against perception that it is one of the dirtiest cities in the region

The Honiara City Council in Solomon Islands is launching an aggressive campaign to fight the tag of being one of the dirtiest cities in the region.

Warning letters are being sent to all city businesses and residents asking for their rubbish to be cleared from their premises by June 4, or face penalties.

Honiara City councillor Lawrence Makili says the council is taking the matter very seriously and is pulling out all stops to remove rubbish from the streets of the capital.

"We have ordinances that stipulate clearly that any garbage or any scraps or any pieces of metal lying around on the streets should be removed," he said.

Source: Radio Australia

Solomons private law firm plans lawsuit against government and RAMSI

A Honiara law firm is planning to take legal action against the Solomon Islands government and the Regional Assistance Mission, RAMSI.

Director of A&A Legal firm, Charles Ashley says his company is representing a number of Solomon Islanders who claim their constitutional rights have been breached.

Mr Ashley says they include the two men, James Tatau and John Ome, who were acquitted last week of the murder of Australian peacekeeper, Adam Dunning in Honiara in 2005.

Source: Pacific Beat

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Solomon Islands football zip up the chart in latest FIFA World rankings released yesterday

Solomon Islands football has maintained a steady positive rise within the last three months from being ranked 163 in March to 152 in the latest FIFA world ranking released yesterday.

Late last year, Solomon Islands has slipped down the ranking ladder to 164 in November 2006, eleven places behind closest Melanesian rival Fiji who were ranked 153. In March this year, Solomon Islands was ranked at 163rd position with just 81 points.

During last month's rating, the Solomons moved up by 17 points from 81 in March to 98 in April. This enabled them to move up the ranking from 163rd position in March to 154th position in April 2007.

However, the latest statistics released on the FIFA website yesterday showed that Solomon Islands is now ranked at 152nd position just four places behind Fiji who are ranked at 148. Solomon Islands has increased its points from 98 in April to 109 in May after a gain of 11 points.

According to information from the FIFA website, the monthly world ranking procedure is based on factors including the number of international matches played, results achieved, strength of opponents, importance of matches played, and regional strength.

Pacific ACP Trade Ministers kick start two-day meeting today in Nadi, to consider EPA related issues

Pacific ACP Trade Ministers have begun a two day meeting in Nadi, Fiji today to consider issues relating to the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) being negotiated with the European Union.

“The negotiations of the EPA have reached a critical stage with the deadline looming to conclude the process. There are a number of important issues that the Ministers need to consider and reach a common regional position,” Peter Forau, Forum Deputy Secretary General said.

The meeting will consider issues including:
- EPA negotiations since November 2006;
- EPA Development Needs and Adjustment Costs for PACPS;
- EPA Adjustment Facility; and
- EPA related studies including one on the potential benefits of the proposed Multilateral Fisheries Partnership Agreement; and a Clean Development Mechanism.

The Trade Ministers will also discuss the Pacific Island Trade Agreement (PICTA), get an update on World Trade Organization issues and consider the position of Chief Trade Negotiator for the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) negotiations with Australia and New Zealand.

The meeting will consider the way forward on the EPA negotiations including a Regional Negotiating Machinery, its Work Programme and Budget under the Pacific Regional Integration Programme (PACREIP).

Source: PIFS

Coach Ryan Burns confident of Solomons Basketball squad for Samoa Games

Solomon Islands National Basketball Head Coach Ryan Burns is optimistic that the men's and women's squads will compete well in the upcoming SPG in Apia, Samoa.

"The training has been excellent and for both squads since January the 8th. We train six days a week which is good and this Sunday the men's and women's squad will play two Honiara select", says Coach Burns. "Both games are part of their preparations for the SPG in Samoa"

Coach Ryan Burns stated that a final selection should be made tomorrow. The men's squad of sixteen will therefore trim down to twelve players only. Coach Burns indicated that overseas based players will be eligible for selection as well.

"The other issue here is the availability of US based player Waige Turureke and Anthony Prince in New Zealand. There are also two other players who are still in Fiji" said coach Burns. "Waige will arrive on the 5th of June before the tour to Brisbane on the 14th"

According to Burns there is also a possibility that players may have to be sidelined from the final team list if overseas based players arrive in the country.

Asked about the chances of Solomon Islands, Coach Burn had this to say "John Hoyle, the Oceania Basketball officer who has toured the Pacific countries, says that the National team's potential has the competitive ability to make the top four in the SPG"

Source: Solomon Times

Trip of Solomons Acting Attorney General to meet Australian Justice Minister cancelled for the second time

The Solomon Islands Acting Attorney General, Mrs Nuatalia Tongarutu's scheduled trip to Australia had been cancelled without an official explanation.

A press statement from the Australian High Commission office in Honiara says prior to Mrs Tongarutu's departure on May 15th, they were informed on May 14th that the trip was cancelled.

The statement says Mrs Tongarutu could not board her flight to Australia on orders and directive from the Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare.

Mr Sogavare requested that the Acting Attorney General postponed her travel to Australia until he returns from Taiwan. Prime Minister, Sogavare is currently on a two week state visit to the Republic of China or Taiwan.

The Australian High Commission office says the postponement of the trip had meant the cancellation of arranged meeting with the Australian Minister for Justice and Customs Mr David Johnston scheduled for May 15th.

The High Commission office says an earlier arrangement for a meeting by Mrs Tongarutu and Mr Johnston, on May 7th was also cancelled when the Acting Attorney General postponed the trip giving logistical problem as reason for the cancellation.

Source: SIBC

PINA President to miss Honiara conference as he prefers to attend to his business commitments in the US

The president of the Pacific Island News Association (PINA), Ken Clark (pictured) says he will not attend the very important association's biannual conference in Honiara next week due to business commitments in the United States.

The Managing Director of the Papua New Guinea's EM-TV, Ken Clark was appointed as president of PINA at its last conference in Tonga in 2005.

A Canadian by birth, Mr Clark was the first expatriate to be elected to the office. But critics says the association has floundered in the past two years. Mr Clark has business commitments in the United States, which mean he won't be in Honiara to attend the conference next week.

However, it is not clear whether Clark's decision to miss the Honiara conference has anything to do with earlier statements that he voiced out on February 15 with regards to the Media Association of Solomon Islands' (MASI) decision to accept financial support from Taiwan without consulting PINA, its board of directors or its members.

"MASI did not consult PINA, its board of directors or its members on its decision to accept financial support from Taiwan for the PINA conference in Honiara in May," said Mr Clark.

“It came as no surprise that the People’s Republic of China expressed concern about Taiwan’s involvement in the conference,” Mr Clark said.

Source: Pacific Beat

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