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, January 31, 2008

Australia to implement a three-year Development Research Strategy to prove the quality of Ausaid

As a first step in the long process of improving the quality and effectiveness of Australia's overseas aid, the Australian Government is implementing an enhanced three-year Development Research Strategy.

Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance Bob McMullan said 'it is not good enough to just increase the quantity of aid.

He said although that is important, we must increase the quality of the aid as well.

'Therefore, McMullan said the Australian Government will provide 8.8 million dollars for 27 new Australian Development Research Awards.

He said good research leads to a more effective aid program.

The research will provide decision-makers with practical solutions to the most difficult development challenges in the Asia-Pacific region.

Mr McMullan announced the strategy and the Development Research Awards at an international development conference in Brisbane.

Solomon Islands received millions of dollar each year from Ausaid.

Source: SIBC

Students call upon Solomon Islands' National Training Unit to speed-up scholarship selection process

New students waiting for new scholarships to undertake university studies this year are complaining that the National Training Unit in the Ministry Education and Human Resources Development are slow in dealing with their case.

A Solomontimes visit to the NTU saw students queuing up in front of the office doors, eager to see any available officers with the new academic commencing next month.

"NTU is very slow and they should leave the old students and deal with us first," a disgruntled former form seven student, Philip Kay, told Solomon Times.

Mr. Kay said that new students selected should be leaving this week "but due to delay from the NTU office, it has been moved to next week".

Solomon Times gathered that the NTU is currently still focusing on extension students who are trying to secure space at the main campus in Suva, Fiji, to complete outstanding units.

Speaking with the Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Education, Ms. Maelyn Kuve, she said that the National Training Unit had a meeting today.

Ms. Kuve said that the meeting had agreed that priority be placed on the new students.

"I told the NTU to leave the extension students and first focus on the new ones," said Ms. Kuve.

She revealed that new awards are in place for last year's form seven students "but it depends on their GPA aggregates".

The newly sworn-in PS Education said that NTU is now screening aggregates of the new students and "the focus will be on students with marks above the GPA".

"NTU will also want to know how many units each student would like to take up, which is why it's been agreed in the meeting that the focus will be on new students," Ms. Kuve said.

She said that students with grading below the GPA are not put into consideration by the NTU.

"I have informed NTU that ongoing students and extension students will have to wait until all the new students are dealt with," Ms. Kuve said.

The PS Education said it is hoped all that is to be done for new students should be completed for next week's departure for Laucala Campus in Suva.

Source: Solomontimes

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Two Malaitan women to contest Solomon Islands' national parliamentary seats

Two women will be contesting in the by-elections for East Malaita and Aoke Langalanga constituencies.

Taeasi Sanga, wife of the late East Malaita MP Joses Sanga, and Helen Huniehu, wife of East Are’are MP Edward Huniehu will be contesting in the upcoming by-elections.

Mrs Sanga will be contesting the East Malaita seat while Mrs Huniehu the Aoke/Langalanga seat.

Reports from Malaita Province said a total of eight candidates have confirmed they will be contesting in the by-elections. For East Malaita four names have been confirmed, Mrs Sanga, Billy Farobo, David Toisai and Honiara City Mayor Alfred Maetia. Aoke Langalanga also confirmed four names.They are Mrs Huniehu, Charles Ferani, Billy Manu and Matthew Wale.

Reports from Malaita said these numbers would increase when the official date for the elections is declared. The by-elections are proposed for March. Voters’ registration lists are now released to the constituencies and these should be finalised soon.

Intending candidates will start campaigning after the election date is declared.

Source: Solomonstar

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

SkyAirWorld launches cheaper airfares for Solomon Islanders who want to visit Aussie

SkyAirWorld yesterday launched its ticket sales towards its Brisbane-Honiara-Brisbane service which will start on March 3.

The company's representative Peter Schott told Solomon Star that ticket sales have already gone up.

The new airline's ticket price starts at AU$249 (SB$1,500) to AU$699 (SB$4,400). Mr Schott said AU$699 is the business class where passengers will enjoy inflight meals, power, entertainment and lounge access.

Mr Schott also adds that the AU$249 is not an introductory fare but is permanent.

The new airline is hoping to service its Brisbane-Honiara-Brisbane route five days a week.

Sikua loses top man from his government's helm

Newly appointed special secretary to the Prime Minister (SSPM) Bob Pollard has declined to take up the offer.

It is undertsood that Mr Pollard had already expressed his regret to prime minister Dr Derek Sikua of his decision not to take up the job.

Solomon Star reports that the government allocates the SSPM's position to the Democratic Party, which Mr Pollard is a member. The position is currently occupied by Matthew Wale, who is also a member of the party.

However, Mr Wale will be contesting the Aoke/Langalanga seat and sees Mr Pollard as the long term replacement.

Former President of the Democratic Party and acting Attorney General Gabriel Suri confirmed Mr Pollard's decline.

"I knew he declined the offer which was allocated to our party," he said.

Mr Suri had resigned as the president of the party as he is now a public officer. Reports revealed that the party had a series of discussions to find Mr Pollard's replacement.

It's understood that most of the party's members are businessmen or employees with other companies which may make it difficult for them to find a suitable replacement.

Mr Pollard runs a private consultancy firm. It is not clear whether Mr Pollard declined the appointment on committment to his business or some other grounds.

Source: Solomon Star

Monday, January 28, 2008

Malaria cases record drop by 17% in the Hapi Isles

Solomon Islands had recorded a significant drop in malaria incidence over the past five years.

Last year malaria incidence was reduced by 17 per cent from 2006 in most of the provinces. Deputy Director of the Vector Bourne Disease Control Programme (VBDCP) Leonard Boaz confirmed to Solomon Star that the incidence seems to be declining since 2003. “By the look, the trend for malaria in the whole country seems to be going down,” Mr Boaz said.

“This is a good news for the country with the effort being doubled up to reduce the incidence.” He said although provinces like Temotu, Malaita, Guadalcanal and Central Province are yet to send in their December laboratory report, there should be no difference made.

Despite the overall decrease, two provinces have recorded an increase in malaria. “Data for each province indicated that the malaria cases in Western and Central Provinces increased in 2007 compared to 2006.

The rest of the provinces continued to reduce their malaria incidence,” he said. The highest malaria incidence in years was in 1992. At that very point, the malaria programme was decentralized.

The government helped fund the programme which saw some reduction in malaria incidence but that funding stopped during the tension. In 2003 Global Fund stepped in and continue funding the malaria control programme until today. Other agencies such as World Health Organisation, Japanese International Cooperation Agency, Rotary Against Malaria and USAID also helped.

Mr Boaz said the main reasons for the continuous reduction of malaria was due to the availability of funds provided by these overseas aid donors. He said intensive malaria activities were also carried out by the malaria officers such us,distribution of long lasting mosquito nets, prompt diagnosis and treatment of malaria cases,more community awareness and more indoor residual spray.

Guadalcanal Province to protest the newly proposed shopping mall in Honiara

The Guadalcanal Province says it will try to re-possess the plot of land which its Headquarters used to be located in Central Honiara.

The Province's Deputy Premier, Braddley Tovosia, says the Province would seek help from both the national government and the courts to re-possess the land.

Mr Tovosia says the former Provincial Government of Ezekiel Alebua sold the land to a Korean company which had started developing the land.

"Under procedures the Guadalcanal Premier is only a custodian of any land that belongs to the province. Only the Provincial executive not the Premier can make the decision to sell any provincial land. I believe the sale of land to the Korean enterprise is only for the benefit of the former Premier Ezekiel Alebua and the company."

The Guadalcanal Deputy Premier Mr Tovosia says the Province will be sending a letter of protest to the Korean Enterprise which last week had a ground-breaking ceremony to build a shopping mall on the land that is being disputed.

Source: SIBC

RAMSI congratulates Australia on their National Day

RAMSI Acting Special Coordinator Jonathan Austin has congratulated Australia on its National Day, 26 January.

Dr Austin, who is from New Zealand, said that Australia’s significant role in the regional partnership between 15 Pacific countries and Solomon Islands was of fundamental importance as Australia provides both personnel and funding to RAMSI.

“On behalf of the rest of the Pacific contributing countries, I would like to acknowledge that without Australia’s support for RAMSI - it would not exist.”

Mr Austin said the positive comments made this week by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd during Prime Minister Derek Sikua’s visit to Australia were a confirmation of Australia’s continued commitment to a close working partnership with Solomon Islands Government, RAMSI and its regional partners to ensure a successful mission.

“Since the arrival of RAMSI in July 2003, many hundreds of Australian civilians such as lawyers, economists, development specialists, together with police and soldiers have participated in RAMSI in its task of working together with Solomon Islanders to restore law and order and help the rebuild government and the public service so that it can deliver the services that people need”, Mr Austin said.

“They have worked alongside their Pacific regional partners to help Solomon Islands”.

“I thank these people on behalf of RAMSI for their contribution, spending time away from family and friends to help a neighbour.”

Australia has contributed some $1.3 billion to RAMSI since 2003. This also involves a substantial deployment of around 170 police supported by over 130 Australian Defence Force personnel. Around 120 Australian civilian advisers are also working in and with the Solomon Islands public service.

Mr Austin said that Australians working with RAMSI has brought Australia closer to Solomon Islands and the region.

“The lives of the Australians who have worked in RAMSI have been enriched by the experience”, he said.

“They have taken home with them very fond memories of their time in Solomon Islands, and many have been active in maintaining links with Solomon Islands since their return home.”

“In fact just last week my office was contacted by Solomon Islanders living in Australia wanting to get in touch with Australians who have worked with RAMSI in the past.”

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

Source: RAMSI

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Solomon Islands government appoint nine political appointees to serve in Prime Ministers's political office

The Dr Derek Sikua-led Coalition for National Unity and Rural Advancement Government has appointed nine political appointees to serve in the Prime Minister’s Political Office.

The Cabinet Office made the appointments January 18 on the advice of the Prime Minister through the Public Service Commission.

The political appointees are: Bob Pollard (Special Secretary to Prime Minister), Ashley Wickham (Head of the Policy Evaluation Unit), John Moffat Fugui (Secretary to Caucus), George Palua (Private Secretary to Prime Minister) and George Atkin (Press Secretary to Prime Minister).

The other political appointees are Joseph Nielson, Ferrol Wilfred and Wilson Mamae who are political analysts while Silas Atu is Chief Administration Office dealing with the welfare of Ministers and Backbenchers.

The Coalition for National Unity and Rural Advancement Government retains only three of the 21 political appointees who served in the Prime Minister’s Political Office which included Mr Palua, Mr Nielson and Mr Atu.

The appointment of the nine political appointees fulfils a commitment made by the CNURA Government when it took over the reign on December 21 to reduce the size of the Prme Minister’s Political Office.

Source: Peoplefirst network

New Honiara Shopping Mall to boost Solomon Islands' struggle economy

A new 'Honiara Shopping Mall' will soon be under construction at the former Guadalcanal Province headquarters site.

The site was officially launched with a ground breaking ceremony yesterday.

Developer, Korean Enterprises Ltd promises "the largest retail and commercial building in Solomon Islands", which will 'upgrade' the image of the capital city.

The developer's general manager, Durk Kee Kim said the shopping mall will be providing employment "from the very beginning to the end".

"This shopping mall will crate job opportunities and is expected to boost the economy of Solomon Islands," Mr. Kim said.

Designed by Pacific Architect Limited, the three-storey building will cover 10,000 square meters and will be constructed in two stages over an expected period of 15 months.

It is expected that the new shopping mall will be an attraction for visitors to Honiara.

The building is expected to house shopping units, restaurants, commercial offices, banking services, diplomatic offices and an eatery.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Honiara City Mayor Alfred Maetia said the establishment of a shopping complex is an advantage to the Council on its aims and objectives for the city's facelift.

Mr. Maetia added that the shopping mall will provide employment for some 60% unemployed citizens in Honiara.

He urged the public to respect the progress of constructing the building, and called on everyone to "respect the shopping mall once completed".

The Honiara City Mayor congratulated the Korean Enterprises for taking such an initiative that will help upgrade the city.

Mr. Maetia described Mr. Kim's partnership with the Solomons as "a sign of business confidence".

Source: Solomontimes

Mr Konairamo explain the priority areas for the ministry of forestry in Solomon Islands

The Ministry of Forests has among others highlighted the government's priority areas of the forestry sector.

The Under-Secretary of the Ministry, Gordon Konairamo, explained those priority areas to participants of a one day conference in Honiara yesterday.

"The priority areas under the forestry sector under the Coalition for National Unity and Rural Advancement government are as follows. One, re-forestation of logged areas and small holder plantations, the second is small holders saw milling projects for down stream processing of timber and the third is the review of relevant Acts and legislation to better support and facilitate the protection and development of the sector for the maximum benefit of Solomon Islands."

Mr Konairamo says the forest policy says the functions of the Ministry are: forestry management and development, smallholder reforestation development, forestry research and extension services.

The others are: logging and milling licensing and sustainable forestry resources utilisation.

Those involve in the forestry sector including government, the private sector and non-government organisations representatives attended the one day conference yesterday in Honiara.

Source: SIBC

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

SI's clerk to Parliament is resign in a bid to contest the vacant East Malaita parliamentary seat

Solomon Islands Clerk to Parliament is resigning to contest in the upcoming national by-elections for East Malaita Constituency.

Taeasi Sanga, wife of former East Malaita MP, the late Joses Sanga, will be replaced by Fred Ganate.

It's been reported that this Friday will mark her last day in Parliament Office.

The by-election is scheduled to take place March, to fill the seat vacant following the death of the late Hon. Sanga May last year.

New Clerk to Parliament, Mr. Ganate, is the former Permanent Secretary for Provincial Government and Constitutional Reform.

Source: Solomontimes

Solomon Islands' PM meets Australian counter-part

Prime Minister Doctor Derek Sikua will meet his Australian counter-part, Kevin Rudd today.

This will be the first time the two leaders meet after they both took over government late last year.

SIBC's Walter Nalangu who is travelling with the Prime Minister's delegation reports that although the meeting will not be long it is expected that they will touch on a number of issues of interest to both countries.

The Prime Minister Dr Sikua this morning visited an Australian Federal Police Base where they train police officers before deployment overseas, these include officers deployed to the Solomon Islands under RAMSI.

Assistant Police Commissioner looking after the base told the Prime Minister that more than 400 regional police officers have gone through training at the base before being deployed to Solomon Islands under RAMSI.

Some 18 Solomon Islands police officers have also passed through the base both as trainees and trainers.

The Australia Assistant Police Commissioner Paul Jevtovic said the number of regional police officers coming through the base is expected to increase.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister William Haomae had an audience today with Australia's parliamentary secretary Duncan Kerr.

Mr Haomae is also travelling with the Prime Minister Dr Derek Sikua.

Source: SIBC

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

OFC's ruling infavor of Bilikiki disappoints Fiji's Haniff

Fiji FA Futsal/Beach Soccer Commission Director Younas Haniff is disappointed with Oceania Football Commission after it nominated Solomon Islands to represent the region.

OFC says the region including Fiji did not have an international pitch to host the tournament but Haniff does not agree. "We show deep disappointment on the action taken by OFC," Haniff said.

"We have earlier written three letters expressing our intention to take part in the qualifying rounds,"Haniff said. He said Fiji still could host the tournament at the Laucala Sports City.

"Tahiti and NZ have temporary pitches while Fiji had international standard beach soccer ground which is used by Beach Volley Ball competition in 2003 SPG games . But we have been ignored for a reason unknown to us," he said.

"I have written to the president of OFC stating our disappointment and FFA."

"We spent a lot of time, effort, money to play in the competition which was done in a very organized manner.

"It all comes to a whipping a dead horse."

Source: Fijisun newspaper

Schools in Northern region of Malaita will start classes late

North Malaita's Senior Education Officer Lency Waneatona has expressed concern over the Province's delay in meeting teachers' return travel expenses to resume duty.

Mr Waneatona told SIBC from Malu'u that most schools in the North Malaita region have not started classes yet as most teachers, who have gone back to their respective homes for the holidays have not returned.

He says according to the newly approved teaching service handbook, each province is responsible in meeting travelling expenses for it's teachers at the end of the year.

The Senior Education Officer says it is important that teachers' travel expenses are met so that students are not victimised from the delay.

Source: SIBC

Monday, January 21, 2008

Police arrest man in relation to note against Malaitans

A man has been arrested in relation to a note written against Malaitans. While not disclosing the suspect's identity, police confirmed that the man, reported to be from Malaita, is in custody and investigation is continuing into the matter.

The note was reportedly written as "a set up" and the suspect admitted to police to being the one responsible.

The note was posted in front of the Honiara Magistrates Court Thursday morning, said to have contained racial slur against Malaitans.

A group of Malaitans gathered in protest at the Cultural Village, situated opposite the Central Police Station, demanding compensation from the national government for the written contents in the note.

Unconfirmed reports stated that some money was given to the group.

Speaking at a press conference Friday, Deputy Commissioner of Operations, Peter Marshall warned the public that police will not tolerate any mischief.

The press conference was told that police are working closely with chiefs from Reef Islands and Malaita to reach a mutual agreement.

Mr. Marshall warned the public that police will not be tolerating any misbehavior from people involved in the disagreement.

Source: Solomontimes

Friday, January 18, 2008

In Sport: Former SI coach takes over PNG U23

PNG Football Association has secured the services of former Solomon Island national coach George Cowie to boost its Under 23 Olympic qualifier in March. The Australian-based Scottish, the man behind the reemergence of soccer in Solomon Islands, will now take charge of PNG Under 23 team.

The Olympic qualifier from March 1-13 has attracted six teams from the Oceania region, which include New Zealand, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Cook Islands.

Cowie replaces Brazillian Marcos Gusmao whose contract was unceremoniously terminated by Papua New Guinea Football Association for failing to produce the results with the Under 20 team.

The Scottish said having been to Solomon Islands in the last three years, he should have a fair bit of idea how Papua New Guinea players behave. He said he was happy with his short contract and would give his best shot.

He said it was a very short time and urged PNGFA to bring all the players as soon as possible. “The sooner we start and get moving in preparing the team,” he said.

Cowie said he was proud to be selected from the strong field of coaches to help PNG take soccer into the next level. “I am totally committed to do what I am suppose to do and can’t wait,” he said with a smile.

He also demanded a 100 % commitment from the players selected. The players must have a strong mind set, fit and very strong and can play a very good football. Cowie said he did not want to make promises but asked the players to make their commitment when they are in the camp.

PNGFA technical Chairman Joe Turia said OFC strongly recommended Cowie to PNGFA for a short stint and if everything went well, they might extend it further for some months.

Source: The National Newspaper.

Leader of Opposition challenge the Sikua-led government to tell the thruth about the fund allocate for tsunami victims in his previous government.

Leader of Opposition, Manasseh Sogavare is urging Prime Minister Dr. Derek Sikua to tell the truth about allocation of funds by the Sogavare-led government for tsunami victims of Western Province. Mr. Sogavare's call follows Prime Minister Sikua's accusation leveled at the former Sogavare government of "having neglected the tsunami victims".

The accusation was described as "a slap in the face" for the Western Provincial government and its hundreds of homeless people victimized by the April 2007 tsunami.

Mr. Sogavare told SIBC news that his government prioritized the rehabilitation of the tsunami victims, and millions of dollars was allocated for the rehabilitation programme.

The Leader of Opposition reiterated on his claims that the money was misappropriated by the MP for Gizo/Kolombangara, Gordon Darcy Lilo who was Minister of Finance at the time.

Mr. Sogavare said it was for that reason that he removed Mr. Lilo from the Ministry of Finance and Treasury, a move that led to the toppling of his government.

The Opposition Leader told SIBC that instead of accusing the former Government of negligence, Dr Sikua should demand Mr Lilo, now Environment and Conservation Minister to apologize to the Western Provincial government and people for corrupting the rehabilitation funding.

Mr. Sogavare said Dr Sikua must always remember the painful truth that his government was formed out of corruption and that his attempts to suppress the truth would not prevail.

The former Prime Minister told SIBC that it was his stand against corruption, and for the truth, that resulted in his downfall and he was proud of that record.

Source: Solomontimes

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Government revealed its aim to increase number of tourist arrival in 2009

The Coalition for National Unity and Rural Advancement Government aims to double the number of tourist arrivals next year.

Addressing people in Gizo this week Prime Minister Doctor Derek Sikua said the government would like to see the number of tourist arrivals double the current 15-thousand visitors per year to 30-thousand next year.

Dr Sikua says to reach the target the government is planning to build a second international airport in the Western Province, which is taking the lead in the tourism industry.

He says a second international airport is important to the government's overall objective because this will have significant impact on rural development and village livelihoods not only in Western Province but also across the country.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister commends Western Province for making a significant contribution to the economic, political and social development of Solomon Islands.

Source: SIBC

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Aussie Prime Minister Plan visit to heal wounds create by Howard's arrogant attitudes towards PNG and other Pacific Islands States

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is expected to make a five-day visit to PNG beginning on March 3 -- the first of any State visit by an Australian Prime Minister in many years.

The visit is aimed at healing wounds created by his predecessor John Howard’s arrogant attitude towards PNG and other Island States resulting in strained relationship between PNG Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare and Mr. Howard.

Howard has never made a State visit to PNG during his 11-year term in office as prime minister except to attend the Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Port Moresby two years ago.

PNG Foreign Affairs sources told The National yesterday that Mr. Rudd will have talks with Sir Michael on a number of bilateral issues including Australian aid to PNG, the Defence Cooperation Treaty (DCP), and the Enhancement Cooperation Programme (ECP).

The sources said the Julian Moti issue was also likely to be raised.

Former Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer had accused PNG leaders and senior bureaucrats of breaching various local and international laws by organizing a clandestine escape for Moti from Port Moresby to Solomon Islands in a PNG Defence Force aircraft in defiance of Australia’s request for his arrest and repatriation back home.

In an angry response, the Australian government cancelled all ministerial forums between Australia and PNG. The forum was a key gathering of ministers of both countries in which issues such as aid support, border matters, trade and technical cooperation were discussed.

Sir Michael and Mr Rudd are expected to meet and agree on re-convening of the ministerial forum.

The ECP, under which Australian police personnel were deployed alongside their PNG counterparts under PNG commanders, came to an abrupt halt in 2005 after a successful court challenge by Morobe Governor Luther Wenge.

It is understood the leaders are expected to agree on a review of the ECP and make it workable within the constitutional framework of PNG.

Rudd’s visit follows an invitation by Sir Michael during their meeting in Bali last December.

Rudd accepted the invitation in Bali and was quoted as saying that he would visit PNG sooner than later in 2008.

While the Australia High Commission is mum about the dates of the visit because of security reasons, officers in Waigani were up-beat about the visit because it heralds a new era in PNG’s relationship with its former colonial administrators.

Sir Michael arrived in Port Moresby yesterday from his holiday in Fiji and Tonga. Sources said he was briefed at the airport on his arrival and endorsed the visit by Rudd.

His officers said the PM would resume normal duties this morning.

"The Prime Minister expects all his ministers to be at work in Port Moresby to prepare for the first session of Parliament this year," he said yesterday.

Meanwhile, Staff of the Foreign Affairs Department were busy at work over the weekend putting their final touches to the new-look foreign policy which is expected to be launched at 9am today in Port Moresby.

Source: Pacific Islands Report

Monday, January 14, 2008

PM Wants National Educational Institution on Malaita

Prime Minister Dr Derek Sikua has said his Government would like to see a national educational institution set up in Malaita Province.

He said this while addressing the Malaita Provincial assembly members and heads of government departments in the provincial capital Auki this week.

Dr Sikua said it would be in the national interest to set up either a college or a university as it has a third of the country's half a million population.

He said a national educational institution on Malaita would foster better understanding of the province, its people and cultures by students from other provinces who would study there.

The Prime Minister says lecturers and other employees would have a better insight of the province, a major contributor towards the country's economic development and the labour force.

"Where do we go from here, to have an institution of national status on Malaita? I'd like leave it to you honourable Premier and government to consider. What about a national institution of some kind? Should it be the national university? Think about it."

Source: SIBC

Friday, January 11, 2008

Prime Minister Sikua Apologises for Offence Against Malaitans

Prime Minister Sikua apologises on behalf of Guadalcanal and Solomon Islands to the people of Malaita for the offences and injustices that were committed against Malaita people.

Prime Minister Dr Derek Sikua has apologized to the people of Malaita for the offences and injustices that were committed against Malaita people during the recent ethnic tension.

In a public address in the provincial capital Auki yesterday, Dr Sikua said he acknowledged that Malaitans have felt they are not welcome in other parts of Solomon Islands.

Prime Minister Sikua said the public apology is being made on behalf of Guadalcanal and Solomon Islands for the treatment.

Dr Sikua said he was committed to ensuring that his government will work extra hard to achieve meaningful reconciliation between all peoples, as well as Malaita and Guadalcanal Provinces.

The Prime Minister said he was glad to learn that the Malaita Provincial government had commenced some reconciliation in the province.

Dr Sikua encouraged the Malaita provincial government to support the national government achieve this goal.

"Reconciliation can only be meaningful if it is based on truth. Forgiveness is only possible if there is sincere repentance. Truth, sincere repentance, and forgiveness are the prerequisites for true meaningful reconciliation."

More than 30 leaders including chiefs, community and church leaders met Prime Minister Dr Sikua and attended a luncheon hosted by the Malaita Provincial government for the Prime Minister yesterday.

Source: Solomontimes

Thursday, January 10, 2008

PM Dr. Sikua made his first official visit to Malaita Provincial town

Prime Minister Dr. Derek Sikua is on a brief visit to the Malaita provincial capital, Auki. Dr. Sikua left for the provincial town this morning.

This is the first official visit by the prime minister outside of Honiara since becoming prime minister. He was elected to the highest political post three weeks ago on December 20.

In his visit Dr. Sikua is expected to hold talks with in Auki with the Province's executive.

In an earlier report from SIBC, Dr. Sikua is requesting an up-to-date report on the Auluta Palm Oil project in Malaita from the ministry of Agriculture.

Prime Minister Dr. Derek Sikua says the action taken by his office indicates the importance of the project to his government. He said the project is important, not only to the people of Malaita, but Solomon Islands as a whole.

Prime Minister Sikua said many young people from the province who want to work could be engaged.

At the same time, he said people in and around Auluta Basin area would expect spin-off benefits from the project.

The Auluta Palm Oil project will be developed in the East Fataleka and East Kwara'ae areas of Malaita's Eastern region.

The Prime Minister says his government maintains the Auluta Basin project as a national priority.

Source: SIBC

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Draw released for OFC mens olympic qualifying tournament

The Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) has released the draw for the OFC Men’s Olympic Football Tournament 2008 and it pits OFC heavyweights New Zealand against hosts Fiji in the opening round.

The tournament will run from March 1- 9 and the winner of the six team competition will earn a spot at the Olympic Football Tournament in Beijing in August. The OFC Men’s Olympic Football tournament will follow a round robin format with each team playing five games and the winner decided on points.

Tahiti and New Caledonia were eligible to play in the tournament but did not enter as they are not members of the International Olympic Committee and would not be able to compete at the Olympics.

New Zealand will face Fiji in the opening round on March 1st in a match which is likely to draw a large crowd from the local supporters.

Australia has won four out of the last five OFC Olympic qualifying tournaments. New Zealand won the tournament in 2000 (Australia hosted the Olympics and attained automatic entry) beating the Solomon Islands in the final. Australia defeated New Zealand in the 2004 final which was played over two legs after a 2-0 win in Australia and a 1-1draw in New Zealand.

This is the first year Australia will not be competing as an Oceania representative since switching to the Asian Football Confederation on Jan 1, 2006.

OFC Men’s Olympic Football Tournament Draw
Match Day 1 – 1 March 2008*
New Zealand vs Fiji
Cook Islands vs Vanuatu
Papua New Guinea vs Solomon Islands

Match Day 2 – 3 March 2008*
Vanuatu vs New Zealand
Fiji vs Papua New Guinea
Solomon Islands vs Cook Islands

Match Day 3 – 5 March 2008*
Fiji vs Cook Islands
Papua New Guinea vs New Zealand
Solomon Islands vs Vanuatu

Match Day 4 – 7 March 2008*
New Zealand vs Solomon Islands
Cook Islands vs Papua New Guinea
Vanuatu vs Fiji

Match Day 5 – 9 March 2008*
Cook Islands vs New Zealand
Vanuatu vs Papua New Guinea
Solomon Islands vs Fiji
*Kick-off times and venues to be confirmed.

Source: OFC

I voted for Derek Sikua because I was unhappy with former government's plan to grab G-assets: Peter Boyers

Controversial former finance minister Peter Boyers yesterday dropped a bombshell: "I voted for Dr Derek Sikua."

At the same time he revealed that he opposed the former Manasseh Sogavare's plan to sell G-vehicles to themselves.

Mr Boyers' stunning revelation enlightens government guesses as to which MPs voted with their solid 26 to make a 32-15 landslide victory over Patteson Oti last month.

"No man is my master - I made my own decision," the MP for West New Georgia/Vona Vona said.

Mr Boyers added that he voted against the former government because he was unhappy with their intentions to grab government assets including vehicles in the dying hours of the previous coalition.

He stressed that he had objected to the idea of selling the government vehicles because he knew it was a wrong thing to do.

Meanwhile, Mr Boyers has appealed to his colleagues who are still holding onto government vehicles to return them. He said the vehicles belong to the government and they need to be returned to ministers to perform state duties.

Mr Boyers is the first former minister to return his vehicle. He confirmed surrendering his vehicle saying he has no right to hold onto it after he was removved from office.

Source: Solomon Star

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Dr Sikua- led government to reduce number of political appointees

The new Solomon Islands government is hoping to finalise political appointees today.
It is hoped that appointments will complete today and names will be presented to Prime Minister Dr. Derek Sikua.

Government Caucus Chairman, Enele Kwanairara earlier reported that Sikua's government has halved the number of political appointees.

It was also reported that salaries for the new appointees will cut down.

In the previous government led by Manasseh Sogavare, salaries alone for political appointees cost taxpayers more than SBD$3 million a year.

Whilst the Sogavare had 21 appointees, the new Sikua government will only appoint 11 people.

The cut back indicates the possibility of holders likely to lose their positions of the top jobs.

Source: Solomontimes

Attorney General job up for grab

The Government is most likely to advertise the post of Attorney General in a bid to promote transparency and accountability of that position. “We want be transparent so the position will be advertised,” a well-placed government source said.

The attorney general’s position came under the spotlight in the past 15 months when the previous government sacked Primo Afeau and handpicked controversial Australian lawyer Julian Moti.

Many, particularly local lawyers, strongly opposed to Mr Moti’s appointment. Regardless of his academic record, many believe he should return to Australia to clear his name before he could take up the top legal job.

Mr Moti was attorney general for only six months before the new government deported him less than two weeks ago. He now faces seven counts of child sex charges in the Australian courts.

Now, the Sikua-led government is reportedly considering advertising the position. Two names linked to the top are former Attorney General Mr Afeau and private lawyer Gabriel Suri. Mr Suri had told the Solomon Star that he’s ready to take the job provided the government met his conditions.

Mr Suri has been defending the Opposition – now the government – in the political crisis leading up to the ousting of the Sogavare government. The Solomon Star understands that Mr Suri is considering a government offer to be the acting attorney general while the position is being advertised.

Mr Suri will acting for up to six months. Mr Suri runs a successful private legal practice.

Source: Solomonstar

Monday, January 07, 2008

The World Bank rated logging in Solomon Islands as one of the worst in the world

The World Bank estimates logging in Solomon Islands has increased from two to three times what is sustainable to as much as four times the level that the environment can sustain.

The World Bank estimates logging in Solomon Islands has increased from two to three times what is sustainable to as much as four times the level that the environment can sustain.

It says logs are grossly undervalued for the purpose of duties and other taxes while politicians and their cronies are among those with snouts in the trough provided by Malaysian, Australian and other logging operators.

Islands Business International says that high-level activities include transfer pricing and kickbacks paid through front companies in Hong Kong and accounts in tax havens such as the British Virgin Islands.

It says although RAMSI has much to be proud of in containing the recent ethnic violence improvements in many areas of public administration, there has been a failure to bring the logging industry to heel.

Islands Business says that there is also over-exploitation of the marine environment through cheating on tuna catches or the live dolphin export trade.

Its says independent experts estimate there is only a further five to seven years of commercial logging possible at the present rate of felling.

Australian officials with RAMSI warn the Solomon Islands Government is losing hundreds of thousands of dollars a week in revenue through abuse of logging money.

Source: SIBC

Friday, January 04, 2008

TARD delivers donated medical supplies to Malu'u Area Health Centre

Twelve boxes of medical supplies donated by the Medical Aid Abroad New Zealand (MAANZ) to the To'abaita Authority for Research and Development (TARD) student volunteer group had been delivered to Malu'u Area Health Centre on December 19 2007.
The boxes of medical supplies being shipped from Honiara to Malaita on its way to Malu'u

The supplies which came on a Royal New Zealand Air Force in early December was shipped from Honiara to Malaita on December 13th with freight assistance from the Member of Parliament for North Malaita Constituency, Hon Daniel Enele Kwanairara.

The donation was handed over by TARD members to the Malu'u Clinic staff and community members on Wednesday December 19th.

In receiving the supplies, the clinic head staff and clinic committee chairman thanked the New Zealand organisation for their continuous assistance in terms of medical supplies to North Malaita through the TARD group. This is the third time for MAANZ to donate supplies to North Malaita clinics in partnership with TARD.

Foreign Policy expert says the Mission to the Solomons should be reviewed

A leading foreign policy expert at Australia's Lowy Institute says the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands should be reviewed.

Radio Australia reports, Director of the institute's Global Issues Programme, Michael Fullilove, believes the new government of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd must take a more sustainable view of its Pacific policy.

Mr Fullilove says RAMSI needs an audit to demonstrate its long-term effectiveness.

He says a new government brings the opportunity to do an audit and to look at missions like RAMSI - which is highly expensive in terms of people and money.

He says the Rudd government has to make clear what Australia is doing in the Solomon Islands, what the end game is and how Australia can make RAMSI better so that they can improve things in a sustainable way in the Solomon Islands.


TARD's free North Malaita 2007 Xmas Games successfully completed

The annual North Malaita free christmas games, an initiative by the To'abaita Authority for Research and Development (TARD) student volunteer group, has been completed successfully in Malu'u on December 19 2007.
Australian High Commission Second Secretary, Anthea Blaikie, delivering her speech at Malu'u during the TARD 07 Xmas Games opening ceremony

The free games comprising soccer for men and netball for women is the second of its kind to be coordinated by TARD for rural North Malaita sports clubs after the success of the 2006 free Christmas Games which attracted widespread support from both the leaders and people of North Malaita. Funding for both the 2006 and 2007 free Xmas games was generously provided by the Australian High Commission office in Honiara.
The Green Snails soccer club from Bita'ama who won the 2007 TARD Soccer trophy

According to Australian High Commission's representative, Ms Anthea Blaikie who witnessed the games from December 17-19, Australia is really glad to support such a sports initiative that meets the need of the young people whilst engaging them in something useful that can contribute to the reduction of crimes.

At the close of the free games, the first prize in soccer was won by Snails Yellow from Bita'ama collecting the TARD trophy plus $600 cash. Second prize of $400 was scooped by Columbia United whilst the third place was awarded to Aurafu Blue ($300 cash). In netball, first prize of TARD trophy plus $300 was won by Arao girls from West Baelelea; second ($200) was taken by Dry Kaibia girls at Walo whilst the third place went to Columbia girls.

The Australian High Commission has provided a total funding of $4,500 towards the free games and a planned sports coaching workshop. In 2006, the same office supported TARD with $3,680 for the first ever free Xmas Games in North Malaita.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Twenty Four Solomon Islanders selected for 2008 United Nations Recruitment Exams

Twenty four Solomon Islanders have been selected by the United Nations office to sit the 2008 United Nations Recruitment Exams in Honiara late next month.

The selected nationals are from various backgrounds, including the public, private and NGO sectors. In a list that was obtained by TARD from the Solomon Islands Foreign Affairs Department, the selected nationals include:
1. Edward Danitofea (Environment)
2. Exsley Taloiburi (Environment)
3. Thomas Bebeu (Environment)
4. Douglas Aitorea (Environment)
5. Nixon Aranani (Environment)
6. Marson Lilopeza (Environment)
7. Milligan Pina (Environment)
8. Fiona Indu (Environment)
9. Lawrence Iroi (Finance)
10. Matthew Pitavato (Finance)
11. Walter Malau (Finance)
12. Basilio Solevudu (Finance)
13. Karen Galokale (Human Rights)
14. Anderson Kesaka (Human Rights)
15. Phillip Tagini (Human Rights)
16. Ronney Kenitahana (Information Technology)
17. Lynnold Wini (Information Technology)
18. Marlon Houkarawa (Information Technology)
19. Luke Cheka (Political Affairs)
20. Simon Fuo'o (Political Affairs)
21. Gabriel Manetiva (Political Affairs)
22. George Hickson (Programme Evaluation)
23. Hilda Maeda (Programme Evaluation)
24. Rose Tungale (Programme Evaluation)

The UN organized exams are confirmed to be held on 26th of February 2008, at the University of South Pacific Center in Honiara from 8am to 12 noon.

The second phase will include an interview mid this year. Once final selection processes are completed the candidates will be deployed to various UN positions globally.

Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Jeremiah Manele has congratulated the 24 nationals selected to sit the United Nations Recruitment Exams this year.

Mr Manele says Solomon Islands is yet to meet its UN Staff quota and the selection of the individuals marks another step towards achieving that goal.

He says the Ministry wishes the candidates well in their exam preparations.

The UN had advertised posts in the sectors of Environment, Finance, Human Rights, Information Technology, Political Affairs and Programme Evaluation.

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