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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

People VS DCGA

---TSI Survey hits hard on Parliament extension...

First female rangers help save leatherback turtles

SASAKOLO beach looks like any other in...

Coastal villages hit hard by rising seas

By EDDIE OSIFELOThe threat of sea level...
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SORE BOOTED

Former Honiara City Council Clerk Rence Sore. Photo: Charles Kadamana

HCC terminates controversial Clerk’s contract

BY ALFRED PAGEPITU

THE Honiara City Council (HCC) Executive Committee has terminated the contract of Rence Sore as City Clerk.

Deputy Mayor Francis Idu told Island Sun yesterday the decision was reached on Tuesday, with Mr Sore receiving the termination letter yesterday.

Sore is being investigated over allegations of corruption. However, Idu said HCC executive were in one-mind to get rid of him.

Sore did not return phone calls made to him last night for comment.

Deputy Mayor Idu said the executive is doing what former Mayor, Wilson Mamae hesitated to do.

“Seven Councillors have decided to terminated Sore after the Councillors Committee members meeting on Tuesday 6th April 2021 held at the HCC Chamber decide to terminate Sore’s contract as the Clerk.”

Idu said the decision is based on the grounds that there is sufficient evidence to terminate the City Clerk; one of the main reasons is illegal sale of Council land PN. 192010-33.

“HCC Legal team stressed that any decision to terminate the City Clerk must come with good grounds to avoid any repercussion.”

Idu said despite this the executive committee favoured terminating the City Clerk with immediate effect.

“There were two options that were considered, and that is either to suspend the City Clerk and allow for investigations to be carried out or to immediately terminate the Clerk.

“We the executive committee’s decision now is to terminate the appointment of the City Clerk immediately.

“During the discussion on the motion put forward to terminate the Clerk, Cr Eddie Siapu stated that it would be in the best interest of the Council and the public to terminate the City Clerk.

“Most of the councillors who joined the meeting shared the same sentiment that termination of the City Clerk needs to be done immediately to clear way forward for the council.

“The executive committee resolves to terminate the appointment of the City Clerk with the immediate effect based on reasons stated on April 6, 2021 meeting.”

Idu said the executive committee resolved to revoke and remove the City Clerk’s signature from the Council’s Bank Account, and resolution was passed by majority.

Meanwhile, Idu said they have appointed the current Deputy City Clerk to be the acting City Clerk until such time a new Clerk is appointed by the full Council.

Present at the meeting were Councillors Francis Idu, Dorah Huapii, Robert Oge, Mostyn Saferio, Clement Terewauri, Luciano Sade and Eddie Siapu.

Ex-officio present were Paul Inifiri, William Floyd and Vincent Kohata.

Malaita PS challenges Public Service over ‘unlawful’ suspension

By EDDIE OSIFELO

MALAITA Provincial Secretary Fredrick Fa’abasua is challenging his suspension.

The province said Fa’asubua will initiate legal proceeding unless the Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Public Service, Nego Sisiolo “withdraws the unlawful suspension on him”.

Premier Daniel Suidani confirmed this in a statement yesterday after PS Sisiolo issued the suspension letter to Fa’abasua last Friday.

Suidani said Sisiolo accused Fa’abasua of financial allegations that were “untrue, and in the same letter, he ordered the suspension of our PS, effective immediately”.

“Unfortunately, in doing so, Sisiolo did not follow the process set out in the Public Service Act and its Regulations,” Suidani said.

“The Public Service Act and its regulations have a specific legal process set out, by which such accusations can be taken up and acted upon,” he added.

Suidani said this legal process provides the opportunity for natural justice, and this process was not, repeat was not, followed by Sisiolo.

He said the Public Service Act sets out a process by which any officer alleging misconduct and having supervisory responsibility over the PS must have a report about this accusation filed to the PS of Public Service. 

The PS of Public Service in turn must give a minimum period of seven days to the officer to respond.

“None of these steps have happened or if it had happened the PS has not been aware of it, and therefore our PS has decided to put these issues before the Permanent Secretary of Public Service for him to do the right thing by following the clear process that is set down.

“Soon these matters will be at court but for now I will say the following:

  1. PS Fa’abasua has been an exemplary public officer and a real servant to Malaita people.
  2. His hard work and integrity has led to the repayment of millions of dollars of outstanding debt left by previous provincial executives.
  3. His dedication and faithfulness have seen the charging of fair business licenses on the logging companies ripping our people’s land.
  4. His careful diligence has given pride and hope to the people of Malaita Province.”

Suidani said it is sad after all this work, two different ministries have tried to remove PS Fa’abasua from serving the people of Malaita Province.

Last year in December the Ministry of Provincial Government demanded the removal of PS Fa’abasua back to Honiara.

Suidani said no reason was given in this demand and the PS kept serving the people of Malaita.

He alleged this current action by Sisiolo from Ministry of Public Service is similarly motivated. 

“He (Sisiolo) is trying to remove PS from Malaita Province, this time by trying to suspend him without any proper evidence put against the PS and without even complying with his own regulations.

“I am not sure of the real reason for these constant attacks on PS Fa’abasua, but the timing of this action by Sisiolo will have some severe effects on the people and province of Malaita,” he said.

Suidani said his Executive is scheduled to meet today Tuesday, March 16, to pass the budget for Malaita Province.

“If Sisiolo’s action succeeds, then our PS will be suspended when he should be helping the Executive pass this budget. Malaita Province will then have no budget to spend this year and this will have serious impact on the people of Malaita.

“In light of this seriousness, I appeal to Sisiolo for the withdrawal of the order to immediately suspend PS Fa’abasua. If he has genuine concerns for upholding the rule of law, I invite him to proceed as set out in the Public Service Act,” he said.

Suidani said the PS of Public Service without any good reason is attempting to discipline the PS of Malaita Province, yet he is allowing a person who has been found to be a foreigner by the High Court of Solomon Islands to continue holding senior sensitive political jobs in the Prime Minister’s Office.

“That person too has contravened the Electoral Acts of this country yet the leaders of this country including the PS of Public Service are turning a blind eye on that situation. 

“The PS of Public Service needs to explain that to the people of Malaita.  Why is he tolerating wilful and reckless behaviour by a foreigner and harassing a national without due process?” he asked.

However, PS Sisiolo said the suspension decision is due to serious allegations around unaccountable sum of government revenue in which the PS is alleged to have directly involved in.

“As part of protecting the credibility of the service and upholding better governance, my office deemed it is prudent to suspend the officer from duty to allow investigation into the allegations.

“As usual, the PS will be accorded natural justice process as we pursue the disciplinary process,” he said.

PS Sisiolo said the incumbent of the office of the provincial secretary is an extremely important public office because it administers service delivery that affects the affairs of the rural people.

“Therefore any decision that will affect the said office expected HR capacity is accorded thorough thinking,” he said.

A statement from the Ministry of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening (MPGIS) yesterday stated that the Provincial Secretary for Malaita Province is suspended based on allegations raised by former disgruntled Malaita workers.

“Based on documents submitted, the Ministry of Public Service (MPS) perused those matters reported by former employees. Based on the allegations, the MPS carried out a preliminary investigation and decided to suspend the Public Officer to give way for a full investigation.

“These cases were brought forward by concerned and aggrieved citizens and not in any way reflect any attempts by the MPGIS or the Solomon Islands Government to tarnish either the PS or the Malaita Provincial Government,” the statement said.

People VS DCGA

National Parliament of Solomon Islands

—TSI Survey hits hard on Parliament extension plans

By EDDIE OSIFELO

A survey carried out by Transparency Solomon Islands (TSI) found that majority of total respondents (83 percent) strongly disagreed with the proposed extension of Parliament from four to five years.

Only four percent strongly agree with the proposed extension.

The result shows that be it in their age groups, children (13-18 year), youths (19-34 years), adult (34 plus years), men and women, the majority do not believe extending Parliament term from four years to five years is a good idea, nor is it in the interest of citizens, country, and democracy.

“In their view it will set a very bad precedent.

“Extension of term of Parliament will not make any difference in terms of programme implementation and any positive change nor delivery of services,” survey found.

Many believe the reasons given by the DCGA Executive Government are not good enough and irrelevant.

“The Constitution is the Supreme Law of Solomon Islands and should not be tampered with for an Executive Government that has become too comfortable in its number and has failed miserably to consult the citizens on its many controversial policies and decisions.

“It is of great concern to them that they are being left out of the debate nor consulted,” the survey stated.

“This is an election issue and a matter best left to the people to decide, at election time.

“DCGA political party must put this policy in this election campaign policy and platform to the people at the 2023 National General Election,” Survey said.

“It should not pre-empt the right of the voters to choose.

“It is irresponsible and unacceptable to jump the gun before election 2023,” it said.

“A government that is irresponsible, non-transparent, and with no accountability to the people of Solomon Islands is not needed in Solomon Islands.

“A “representative government” as always argued by the Prime Minister but one that is manipulated by him and the politicians in his camp for their own political agenda, an Executive Government that got into power as a result of undue influences on elected representatives,” it said.

Furthermore, of the Facebook groups 930 respondents, 94 percent were against the proposed extension of Parliament and only 4 percent agree with the proposal.

TSI conducted the public opinion survey on the opinions and views of the citizens of this country on the proposed extension of the parliament from 4 to 5 years between March 16 to 1st April 2022.

The interviews were by phone, face to face and online reaching 1,248 respondents.

On Facebook group pages 930 respondents were reached. A total of 2,178 respondents participated in the survey.

Of the 1,248 respondent’s 42 percent are female, and 58 percent male.

On age cohort’s 9 percent of the respondents are age groups 13-18 years (children), 50 percent are age group 19-34 years (youth), and 41 percent are age group are 34 plus years (adults).

First female rangers help save leatherback turtles

Ranger Madlyn Ero

SASAKOLO beach looks like any other in the South Pacific: a strip of sand buttressed by coconut palms, low green hill rising in the distance.

Located near Kafulapu community, this unassuming patch of land is one of the most important—and perhaps the largest—leatherback nesting beaches in the South Pacific. 

From October through February each year, a dozen or so turtles emerge from the waves each night, hauling themselves scooch by scooch up the beach.

They measure up to 6.5 feet long and weigh up to 1,300 pounds, dwarfing the rangers that look on from a distance.

Leatherbacks, like many other turtles, are long-distance ocean travelers.

The same turtles that can be seen by divers off the coast of southern California cross the width of the Pacific Ocean to nest on the narrow, palm-fringed beaches of the Solomon Islands.

A Last Chance for Leatherbacks

While the species is considered vulnerable at a global level, the subpopulation in the Western Pacific are faring far worse than others.

Scientists estimate that this population has declined to just 1,400 breeding adults, leaving them critically endangered.

Without action, it will continue to get worse.

Leatherbacks, like many other turtles, are long-distance ocean travelers.

By 2040 years, scientists predict that the Western Pacific subpopulation will be whittled down to just 100 nesting pairs each year. “They’re crashing hard, and it’s going to continue unless we arrest the decline,” says Peter Waldie, a fisheries scientist with The Nature Conservancy (TNC).

But conservationists can’t protect these turtles without data: where, when and how often they nest, how many hatchlings clamber from sand to sea and how many nests are washed away by rising tides.

TNC is partnering with the Solomon Islands government to start gathering these data from critical nesting beaches in Isabel Province, with funding from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

In late 2021, TNC-trained rangers resumed monitoring at Sasakolo for the first time in more than 10 years.

And, in a first for the Solomon Islands, women rangers will now join the monitoring program.

Breaking Barriers to Save a Species

Strict gender roles dictate much of Melanesian culture.

“There are specific jobs for men and women, which creates a balance in communities,” explains Madlyn Ero, who leads TNC’s gender equity work in the Solomon Islands.

“And most of the time the roles that women play are domestic, they are in the house with children, cooking and other domestic-type work in the village.” 

Meanwhile, men dominate jobs that require technical expertise and make the majority of the decisions for family and community.

Ero explains that getting women to attend meetings about conservation or natural resource management can be difficult, even when those decisions impact their lives on a daily basis.

“Unless you specifically require women to attend, only men will turn up,” she says.

Rangers collect data and tag a nesting leatherback turtle.

But as conservation organizations like TNC build gender equity requirements into their work, the tide is slowly shifting. 

Five women attended TNC’s turtle ranger training in November, and three of those women are now working at Sasakolo.

Ero says that all three women showed up on the first patrol—even though they weren’t scheduled to work that evening—to shadow more experienced rangers and continue learning.

By far the biggest challenge, though, is convincing men in the community to accept that women are capable of the work. 

“We have to work hard to change how men think, so they realize for themselves that women can do this work,” says Ero. Usually, they need to see it to believe it.

Ero and her colleagues are consulting with the community to learn what else they can do to facilitate more female rangers to join.

The goal is to build the program to a 50/50 gender parity.

To get there, Ero says they will need to take into account the women’s safety, figure out ways to help offset domestic duties while women are working and build a separate family-friendly facility so women can bring their children and partners with them while they work. 

Long Nights on the Beach

Work as a ranger means long nights walking the beach by torchlight, searching for the tell-tale signs of a nesting turtle: tire-like tracks up and down the beach, or a very large, dark lump of heaving, snorting, salt-covered turtle in the dark.

When they find a female, the rangers wait patiently while she digs a hole in the sand and lays her clutch of eggs.

If they get the timing right, rangers can count the number of eggs in the nest as they drop from her cloaca.

Having laid her eggs, the female leatherback returns to the sea.

Then they mark the location, before gathering data about the female turtle and attaching a small metal identification tag to her flipper. 

Rangers on these patrols also check the older nests, looking for signs of hatching or disturbance.

Solomons Islanders can legally harvest turtle eggs for food, and many nests are predated by people.

Eventually, Waldie and his collaborators at NOAA hope to incorporate satellite tagging at Sasakolo to learn where these turtles travel during their non-breeding years.

Similar research from the Arnavon Islands, a significant hawksbill nesting site nearby, discovered that those turtles migrated as far as Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Building Long-Term Community Partnerships

All of this data will feed back to TNC and NOAA, who will use Sasakolo as an “index beach” to better understand what is happening to the Western Pacific subpopulation.

Sasakolo beach.

“The tricky thing with turtles is that they are a very long-lived species, so you need long-term data for 9 to 10 years to really understand a population’s nesting trend,” says Irene Kelly, NOAA’s sea turtle recovery coordinator for the Pacific Islands.

She says that most of the data on the Western Pacific sub-population comes out of Indonesia, with very little data available from Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

“The West Pacific leatherback turtle population is a difficult one to study because nesting areas are so remote and logistically challenging to access,” she says.

“But the more we look, the more we learn.” 

Data on how often females return to nest, the number of nests laid and hatchling survival rates will all feed into NOAA’s population models and status assessments.

Those, in turn, will help the agency better protect leatherbacks by refining management measures to mitigate interactions between turtles and US commercial longline fisheries.

They will also inform NOAA’s work with international governments and partners to help conserve the species.

Kelly emphasizes that, at the end of the day, NOAA alone can’t save the western Pacific leatherbacks.

“We need and rely on partnerships,” she says.

“We don’t want to just collect the data and leave, that’s not sustainable or realistic.

“We need to engage with communities and local partners to build capacity, so they have ownership over the project, which builds longevity.”

“We’re fighting against extinction at this point” Kelly adds.

“But there’s still hope and enough turtles, we believe, that the western Pacific leatherback population can recover. We haven’t hit the tipping point, yet.”

And that’s exactly what TNC and the community at Sasakolo are doing: fighting against extinction, one turtle at a time. – Source: The Nature Conservancy

Coastal villages hit hard by rising seas

During high tide, water overflows on Buala wharf in Isabel Province. Pappa Steeviey

By EDDIE OSIFELO

The threat of sea level rise on the sea coasts of Solomon Islands is real.

The country lies east of Papua New Guinea and northwest of Vanuatu and 3,280 km to Australia, has nine big provinces and more than 900 small islands.

Most of the 700,000 population live alongside coastal areas in Solomon Islands.

Evidence shows some parts of the country have hit hard by sea level rise.

 At Buluabu village in Lilisiana, Langa Langa lagoon, Malaita province, the water has reached the floor level of some houses in the village.

Sea intrusion into Buluabu village in Langa langa lagoon in Malaita province. John Selogaga

While at Buala wharf in Isabel Province during low tide, the sea level drops very low but at high tide, the salt water

Furthermore, Solomon Star female reporter, Esther Nuria published a story and photos on the impact of climate change on people of Walande in South Malaita.

She covered the story after attending the Anglican Mother Union meeting in Walande.

The story landed her the first prize at the end of the six weeks National Security Reporting Course organized by Media Association of Solomon Islands and Australia Pacific Security College.

David Hiba Hiriasia, Director of the Solomon Islands National Meteorological Services in reference to sea level rise, said La Nina contributed to this as well.

Hiriasi said the trade winds push more warm water on our side of the Pacific and so sea level is expected to be higher than average

COP 26

Solomon Islands hoped for a decision to reach on Long Term Finance at United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNCCC), Conference of Parties 26 at Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom from 31 October to 13 November 2021.

Deputy Secretary (Technical) of the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology, Chanel Iroi, said the endorsement of the LTF would not only provide financial leverage to struggling small island states but also honor the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage which was one of the resolutions of Paris Agreement.

Iroi said Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on the effect of climate change in the coming years reemphasized the need for world leaders to endorse and roll out the LTF to vulnerable countries.

He said ground work on Loss and Damages must continue at the same time global leaders must make the right choice to reduce emissions so as facilitating financial resources towards mitigation and adaptation programs.

Iroi said priority areas for slow onset events and non-economic losses on the international stage while incorporate “limits to adaptation” in National Adaptation Plans and other GCF proposals was important.

According to CarbonBrief, the “Glasgow Climate Pact” that emerged from the summit was welcomed by many for its commitment to doubling adaptation finance and requesting countries to present more ambitious climate pledges this year.

“Others were disappointed that this COP once again failed to provide vulnerable nations with the money to rebuild and respond to the unavoidable impacts of climate change.

“Much was also made of a last-minute intervention from the Indian environment minister Bhupender Yadav that saw language around moving beyond coal weakened in the final text,” CarbonBrief said.

It said the call to “phase down” unabated coal use is, nevertheless, unprecedented in the UN climate process.

COP 27

Solomon Islands and other Small Islands nations are preparing for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, from 7-18 November 2022.

Australia Foreign Minister, Penny Wong relayed positive messages to Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, New Zealand and Solomon Islands to tackle climate change.

Senator Wong told media following her visit to Solomon Islands that Australia is committed to reach 43 percent by 2030 and plan to host a United Nations Climate conference with the Pacific Islands nations.

“That would lead to in terms of renewable energy, that is 82 percent of our energy being renewable being provided from renewable energy sources. So, we are serious about this,” she added.

Furthermore, Senator Wong said other thing she want to talk with Pacific Islands countries is stronger engagement potentially holding Conference of the Parties to try and press issues.

“When I was Climate Minister and still today, I think the voices of smaller island nations have been powerful and authentic in the UN negotiations,” she added.

However, the new Labour government is to adopt a policy to deal with coal and fossil fuel in Australia.

Australia is showing commitment to address climate change through infrastructure design for projects.

Tony Telford, Infrastructure Management Leader in Hub for Solomon Islands Infrastructure Program said the impacts of climate change is real in the Solomon Islands after their scoping visits to Malu’u (Malaita), Buala (Isabel) and Seghe (Western).

“Just focusing on climate change and disaster resilience, certainly climate change is a very real threat and it is something that is considered at the very start of any design process.

“At Malu’u, the shoreline coming closer, so that is something we need to consider at the very start of the design process,” he said.

Furthermore, Telford said the other thing that they noticed at Buala, there is a wharf next to the market and looking at photos, the wharf is under water at few times each year.

He said that is another visible impact that climate change has and forefront on design process.

Strong message from UN GS

António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations speaking ahead of the COP27 said the answer lies in renewables – for climate action, for energy security, and for providing clean electricity to the hundreds of millions of people who currently lack it.  Renewables are a triple win.

“There is no excuse for anyone to reject a renewables revolution. 

“While oil and gas prices have reached record price levels, renewables are getting cheaper all the time,” he said.

“The cost of solar energy and batteries has plummeted 85 per cent over the past decade.  The cost of wind power fell by 55 per cent. 

“And investment in renewables creates three times more jobs than fossil fuels,” he said.

The UN GS said of course, renewables are not the only answer to the climate crisis. 

He said nature-based solutions, such as reversing deforestation and land degradation, are essential. 

“So too are efforts to promote energy efficiency. 

“But a rapid renewable energy transition must be our ambition,” he said.

“As we wean ourselves off fossil fuels, the benefits will be vast, and not just to the climate. 

“Energy prices will be lower and more predictable, with positive knock-on effects for food and economic security,” Guterres said.

“When energy prices rise, so do the costs of food and all the goods we rely on. 

“So, let us all agree that a rapid renewables revolution is necessary and stop fiddling while our future burns,” he added.

While world leaders are still finding ways to phase out coal and encourage big nations to adopt renewable energy, the low-lying islands in the Solomon Islands are sinking as well in the Pacific.

Climate Change changes the atolls lifestyles

The island of Ontong Java in Malaita Outer Island.

By EDDIE OSIFELO

CLIMATE change is changing the social fabrics of the tiny atolls of Malaita Outer Islands in Solomon Islands.

The small community which practised communal system, starting to see it eroding because of the changing calamities that affects their way of live, scares food security due sea level rise, land disputes between families and increase criminal activities among youths.

Malaita Province government and National Government have been talking about relocation policies to relocate the islanders to mainland Malaita Province, but they struggled to implement them because of land issues and people reluctant to leave the atolls.

As part of adaptation programmes, Anglican Church of Melanesian has worked with Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) to initiate food security projects, but was a setback because of salt water intrusion.

Jenny Asua, who comes from the island confirmed to Island Sun in an interview in the past, the women of Ontong Java in Malaita Outer Islands used to harvest sea shells not far from the shores to sell for incomes.

She said today, the women abandoned their activities because the sea level rise has covered the harvesting areas.

“The women have to paddle far out of the shores to dive the sea shells,” Asua lamented.

She said this really makes life difficult for them compare to past years when the sea level was low.

As such, Asua said the women depends on men and boys to find money through harvesting of bech-de-mers or sea cucumbers.

Ontong Java is part of Malaita Outer Islands constituency which also includes Pelau, Luaniau and Sikaiana.

According to the statistics in the April 4 elections in 2019, there are 200 people living on Pelau, 1000 plus on Luaniau and 600 on Sikaiana.

The number on the islands normally reduced after the elections because the people returned to Honiara, capital of Solomon Islands.

MOI people are part of the Solomon Islands archipelago in the South Pacific, which her population expects to reach the 700,000 mark after the Census this year.

The elder of Ontong Java explains the salt water intrusion into their island that spoilt their kakake plant. Ontong Java

The country has a land mass of 28,896 km2 (11,157 sq mi) and the 22nd largest Exclusive Economic Zone of 1,589,477 km2 (613,701 sq mi).

However, the oceans are turning against the low-lying islands in the Solomons which are now vulnerable to climate change.

Fr Nigel Kelaepa, Mission Secretary of Anglican Church of Melanesia, said climate change is real for his people because it affects the economy, social and spiritual aspect of the island.

He said food security is an issue on the island because crops don’t grow well because the salt water has destroyed the swamps on the island.

“Our people depend on foods coming from Honiara and shops.

Fr Kelaepa said they cannot engage in fishing because you need freezers and blocks to keep them and transport to Honiara.

On the social front, Fr Kelaepa said due to the population increase on the island, there is also rise of land dispute among families because they compete for space to plant their food.

He said the communal system practised in the past has slowly eroded as family members resort to individual lifestyle as a means of survival.

“Families don’t share food with close relatives now,” he said.

Furthermore, Fr Kelaepa said there are also rise of criminal activities among youths, marriage breakdown among couples and underage marriage on the island.

He said youths are seen as bread winners because they get money from diving bech-der-mers.

“Some families allow their girls to marry the boys as means of survival because they can support them through earning money through diving bech-de-mers,” he said.

On the spiritual front, Fr Kelaepa said on Sundays, only old people and children attend the church service, while youths stay away.

Since 2010, Anglican Church of Melanesia and Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) have initiated food security projects on Ontong Java because crops like kakake and taro were affected by the salt water that intruded in their gardens.

The project under SPREP was called the Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change (PACC) which involved the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock.

However, Fr Kelaepa said the foot security project by SPREP and ACOM did not work out on the island because the crops did not grow well on land.

He said it is still the fear of the people on the loss of garden crops that will affect their local diets.

ACOM with the help of University of New South Wales in Australia and University of Southampton in United Kingdom have commenced a project on environment and climate change on four sites in Honiara.

The four sites were Selwyn, Red Beach on Guadalcanal and Walande and Fanalei on South Malaita.

Fr Kelaepa said under the projects, poles were placed on the four sites to collect the rise of the seas.

“The data collected can be shared to the government,” he said.

As part of adaptation, he said the church plans to plant self-resilient crops on the atolls like bed fruits, Pacific Yams and coconut that grow at low level.

He said this project is to address the food security crisis on the islands.

Furthermore, out spoken activist, Lawrence Makili said the Atolls have been used as marketing tool by the national government in international forums for many years now.

Makili said there needs to be autonomy for the Atolls to negotiate with Government and international donors on addressing climate change affecting his people.

Moreover, Pastor Geoffrey Alacky, said a non-charitably group calls Alliance of Vulnerable Islands Across our Nation is formed to negotiate with Government and donors on climate change issues affecting them.

He said the group is expected to launch its constitution soon.

However, Malaita Premier Daniel Suidani said climate change is a big issue that the national government can handle it because it will involve relocation of people to another land.

Suidani said the province is currently negotiating with landowners to relocate people living on vulnerable islands to mainland.

“For example, the people of Kwai and Ngongosila have relatives living on mainland.

“We can negotiate with them for the people on the island to move inland,” he said.

Suidani said the people of Fanalei and Walande have already moved in land in South Malaita.

For the people of MOI, Suidani said his government is still to find land for them.

Moreover, Director of Climate Change in the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology, Hudson Kauhiona said climate change on the Atolls is very complex because it involves land issue when it comes to relocation.

Kauhiona said currently, there is no specific policy or strategy to deal with climate change on the Atolls.

However, he said past governments and current government have allocated $1.5 million for the Low Carbon Emission Programme and Solomon Islands Climate Action Programme in the national budget.

Kauhiona believes one option the government can take as part of relocation is to build a second home in urban centres that are closer to schools, health care and employments for relocation.

Solomon Islands government has presented the country’s case of climate change in regional meetings and international meetings like the United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNCCC), International Conference on Climate Change in past until today.

As a Small Islands Developing State (SIDS), Solomon Islands is part of the Association of Small Islands States (AOSIS), which includes countries in the Pacific and Caribbeans.

The future of Solomon Islands and members of AOSIS look bright if they see the global average temperature rises are limited to well below 1.5C; and that parties must reduce emissions by 45% below 1990 levels by 2020, and by 95% come 2050.

This should be complemented with adequate support for capacity building, technology transfer and a comprehensive, equitable and robust outcome.

All in all, the Atolls people of MOI are leaving in the reality of the climate change which already impacted their social, economic and spiritual lives.

Their only hopes if worse comes to worse is for the people in authority to relocate them to the mainland of Malaita province and the landowners to embrace them in their settings.

New vehicle for Renbel

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Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure Development, Manasseh Maelanga, hands over a new hilux to Renbel Premier, Japhet Tuhanuku, while Renbel MP, Dr Tautai Angikimua Kaitu'u looks on.

By EDDIE OSIFELO

RENNELL and Bellona Provincial government will find it easy to deliver its services on land transportation on the island.

This was after Ministry of Infrastructure Development donated a new brand hilux to the province in Honiara yesterday.

Minister of MID and Deputy Prime Minister, Manasseh Maelanga said the hilux is funded under MID that looks after transport.

He said MID donated the new hilux to Renbel following request from its government to assist them in its administration work.

Premier of Rennell and Bellona Province, Japhet Tuhanuku thanked MID for the assistance and said it is gift that breaks the heart of the people in the province.

Tuhanuku said they will use it to do service delivery to the people of Renbel.

Wood tops SI export to NZ

Wood remains Solomon Islands top export to New Zealand

BY BEN BILUA

Gizo

WOOD remains top of Solomon Islands exports to New Zealand valued at $10.,159 million in 2021.

In 2020, wood exports to New Zealand dropped, after a steady progress in 2019 but in 2021 they bounced back significantly.

Second on the list of top exports is coconut oil export, followed by canned tuna, cocoa beans and chocolate, flour, meal and powder.

Coconut oil exports have steadily increased since 2019, accelerating in 2021 to $1.154 million. In 2019, exports of cocoa beans and chocolate wer valued at $56,663.00 rising in 2020 to $87,663.00

Similar trend has been seen for canned tuna. Canned tuna export has shown progress in 2020 and 2021.

Exports of Canned Tuna were valued at $102, 728.00 in 2020 and $273,674.00 in 2021.

Flour, meal and powder exports also showed  growth in 2019, 2020 and 2021. Flour, meal and powder export were valued at $24, 018.00 in 2019, $107, 414.00 in 2020 and $181,731.00 in 2021.

The total value of Solomon Islands exports to New Zealand generated from these commodities by year are as follows; and $8.883 million in 2019, $8.246 million in 2020 and $11.873 million in 2021,

Speaking to Pacific Journalists earlier this week, Pacific Trade Investment New Zealand, Trade Commissioner, Glynis Miller said Solomon Islands is rich with natural resources yet to find their footprint at the international market.

She said frozen agricultural products – which for one New Zealand supermarket chain is set to grow by 10% in 2 years is an immediate opportunity. 

Miller said the future for Solomon Islands export is in fresh produce and kava as well food and beverages.

She said Pacific Trade Investment New Zealand will visit Solomon Islands when international border opens and meet with businesses on the ground as well as alongside governments to improve the country’s export.

End///

NZ to support tourism here

(L-R) New Zealand High Commissioner Jonathan Schwass, Acting PS of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism Barney Sivoro, and PS of Ministry of Finance and Treasury McKinnie Dentana with the signed funding arrangement.

A funding arrangement of NZD$550,000 (SBD$2.8m) to support the tourism sector in Solomon Islands was signed on Tuesday at the New Zealand High Commission, between New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and the Ministry of Finance and Treasury.

A statement from the NZ High Commission said the agreement will support the recovery of the tourism sector after the challenges that have accompanied the pandemic.

“It will support the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to continue working with operators to use COVID-19 safety protocols and keep visitors safe; drive the development of tourism products and minimum standards, including investing in key national tourism assets ahead of the Pacific Games; and improve sector coordination,” the statement said.

“The aim is to drive a growing, sustainable, and inclusive tourism sector in Solomon Islands,” it added.

The agreement is part of a wide range of work underway to support the recovery of the tourism sector.

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism, with support from Strongim Bisnis, have trained operators in COVID-19 safety protocols, so that venues are ready to open their doors as tourists return.

New Zealand will also support technical advice and grant funding to Tourism Solomon Islands, to drive marketing and online communications, as well as small grants to tourism businesses through Business Link Pacific.

High Commissioner Jonathan Schwass noted the importance of partnership in rebuilding the tourism sector.

“New Zealand has been supporting tourism since 2017, because we see the tourism sector as critical to economic development in Solomon Islands, particularly in the provinces,” Schwass said.

“This arrangement represents a new chapter in New Zealand’s support to tourism, and we are excited to be seeing this work progress,” he added.

In acknowledging the support, Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism Barney Sivoro thanked the New Zealand government for the assistance, and noted that it is timely as the country looks forward to the opening of international border in July.

Call to upgrade rundown Maluu nursing facilities

One of the facilities of the old Nursing School at Malu’u in north Malaita.

BY SAMIE WAIKORI

Auki

THE Ministry of Health and Medical Services has been urged to consider upgrading the dilapidated Malu’u old nursing school building in north Malaita.

Community Health Nurse Consultant for the Northern region, Lawrence Irobaea recently made the call with further suggestion of integration the buildings with the current health facilities at the Malu’u Area Health Centre.

Irobaea said since the nursing school closed some decades ago, the buildings were not used and are down at the moment.

He said whilst the facilities structures are there, the Ministry of health should consider upgrading them and merging them with the current facilities at Malu’u AHC.

Irobaea said the old nursing school is behind the Malu’u AHC and any plans to upgrade the facilities will be of benefit to the expansion of the health centre.

He also said integrating of the old nursing buildings will also address the demand for health services in the northern region of the province.

He said Malu’u AHC serves more than 50,000 people in the region and the expansion of the health centre should be a priority to cater for the population.

He said the proposal to take onboard the initiative will be an advantage to support the growth of Malu’u AHC in the delivery of health services for the people.

Irobaea said as somebody on the ground, he is prepared to provide support towards the interest to upgrade the old Malu’u nursing school for the expansion of Malu’u AHC.

Parties yet to settle negotiation on Nehemiah case

0

BY JENNIFER KUSAPA

THE case of a man alleged of obtaining credit by false pretence from Smart Technology shop at Chinatown in 2019 has adjourned to July 6 for prosecution and defence to settle negotiation and also for setting new trial date.

Police Prosecutor Iete Tebakota said there are some sort of ongoing negotiations regarding the case between the prosecution and defence.

However, since the presiding magistrate is currently on court circuit the matter can be adjourned to another date.

Principal Magistrate Tearo Beneteti then adjourned the case to July 6 and to be relisted before Principal Magistrate Fatimah Taeburi.

This is the case of Martin Pola Nehemiah who is facing three counts in relation to the alleged incident that alleged to have occurred on February 5 2019.

The allegation said the accused met with the owner of the shop and introduce himself as the president of the Accelerate Christian Education Schools of Solomon Islands.

Upon their discussion the shop owner at Smart Technology convinced and agreed for the accused to collect the items discussed and will be re-paid when the school grants are ready.

Later on, February 28 2019 around 10am the accused came and collected one mobile phone at a cost of $2, 250 as according to the agreement and walked out with a proforma invoice, again on 15 March 2019 he collected one notebook laptop14 inches and 1X 8c honour brand mobile, later on March 28 2019, he again went to the Smart technology shop and collected two Redmi mobile handsets.

The total cost of all items collected is $12, 150.00, couple of months later the shop owner made several attempts to call the accused to settle his credits but was unsuccessful.

The shop owner gave him enough time but till this year March 2021 the accused never turned up to settle his credits and the matter was reported to the police in which the accuse Nehemiah was arrested and charged.

Police Prosecutor Iete Tebakota appears on behalf of his colleague Watson Akwai yesterday.

Veke: Australia and Solomon Islands share a robust relationship

Minister Veke present certificate of appreciation to Commander Paul Osborne

The relationship between the Australian Government and Solomon Islands is ‘always robust’.

Anthony Veke, minister of police, said this during a farewell dinner for the Royal Solomon Island Police Force (RSIPF) and Australia Federal Police (AFP) Policing Partnership Programme (RAPPP) Commander Paul Osborne in Honiara on Tuesday this week.

“We have too much shared history, that it would be wrong not to acknowledge it. This country is forever grateful to Australia, and we will always be appreciative of your support especially in security and policing. It is my hope that this partnership will continue to grow and not cease.

“The partnership that the AFP and RSIPF share and continuity to nurture, is a clear testament of that relationship.

“We have a programme that is beneficial and outreaching in its span, and I expect that this will be built on in the years to come. It is the government’s hope that the RSIPF will grow into a discipline force with a capacity and capability that can be self-sustaining in the future.

“In the future you can all look back and see that RSIPF has grown positively with pride, and know that this was all possible because of your hard work, commitments and partnership. The RSIPF has a lot of areas required for improvement, and we are in a working progress with all our able partners. Therefore, I wish upon us to see it so, and work together to achieve those expected progress.

“Thank you so much for your time as leader of both the RAPPP programme and Deputy Commissioner under the Solomon International Assistance Force (SIAF) programme. These are not easy tasks, to tackle two priority areas simultaneously, and you have again proven yourself capable. I understand last year was not an easy time for our security since the November riots, and SIAF have since then been working hard to restore law and order, as well as, bring trust to our Police Force.

“I understand a lot is expected of SIAF under this program and I hope that as we continue we will address them collectively. I am sad that Commander Osbourne will be departing us at this time, but I trust that the SIAF programme will be in good hands.”

The farewell dinner programme concluded with some presentations of gifts to the outgoing commander.

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