BY BARNABAS MANEBONA
SOLOMON Islands Broadcasting Corporation (SIBC) makes it clear for concern that they are broadcasting messages on Short Wave frequency which covers the whole country.
SIBC Radio Operations Manager Ronnie Buaoka said this to assure the Solomon Islands Maritime and Safety Administration (SIMSA) over querying if they are still broadcasting weather messages.
SIMSA Acting Director Captain Tim Harris concern for this matter is nobody is receiving weather forecasts or strong wind warnings.
He shared that one common thread between all nations is educating boat users especially small boat operators of the dangers of going to sea without proper preparation and when bad weather is forecast.
“Cost of educating boat users compared to the cost of mounting a search with boats, planes and helicopters is miniscule,” said Captain Harris.
However according to SIBC’s Radio Operations Manager, the shutting down of their Medium Wave off-air is what might be causing a bit of confusion.
He said the Medium Wave frequency only reaches within and around the Central Solomon of Guadalcanal and Malaita Provinces and the tips of Isabel and Makira Provinces which is why the decision for its closure was made as SIBC is currently facing a non-payment issue.
“We are still broadcasting but on Short Wave frequency and not on Medium Wave frequency. Honiara residents can still listen to SIBC but on Wantok FM,” said Mr Buaoka.
“If talking about safety messages for the people during such bad weather season, it is the Short Wave that reaches everyone and not the Medium Wave.”
SIBC’s Radio Operations Manager briefed that because of facing a situation of non-payment from the government heavily burdening their operation, the other alternative is to cut some of their services so that the operation can be maintained until such time the National Government will honour its non-payment bills.
“The government is aware of our situation and is helping in the best way they can, but everything depends from the availability of finance.”
“Though we are also aware that our decision will be affecting a lot of people especially during bad weather seasons, we had actually made the decision with a heavy heart.”