Monday, January 31, 2011

Opposition attempted to smuggle sick government MP to their camp

The CNRA government has accused the Opposition group of using extraordinary measures to topple the government. 

The allegation came after Opposition member and MP for East Honiara, Douglas Ete was alleged to have used an ambulance to try and smuggle sick government MP and Chairman of Caucus from his home to the Opposition camp.

Speaking to Radio New Zealand International, Prime Minister's Press Secretary, Alfred Sasako, said that the incident was reported and: "when the police arrived at the scene and opened the ambulance door they saw the member for East Honiara sitting in there in the ambulance. There were no doctors in there. There were no other paramedics. The family members just told the police to get the ambulance moving or it would be stoned,” he said. 

Numbers back in favour of CNRA government?

Unconfirmed reports from Honiara have suggested that the numbers are back in favour of the government.

This came after claims by the government that Stanley Sofu has rejoined them to make their numbers to go up to 25 and 23 for the Opposition.

However, the Opposition maintained that Sofu is with them and that the number still stands at an equal 24 - 24.

Prejudiced understands that the government has planned a swearing-in ceremony for Sofu at the Government House this afternoon.

However, despite them submitting relevant papers to the Government House, Sofu was physically unavailable for the ceremony to eventuate.

Sofu is the former Minister for Public Service in the CNRA government who resigned from the port folio on Saturday 22 January to join the Opposition.

Sofu is the MP for East Kwaio, who first entered Parliament in 2006 general elections. He is serving his second parliamentary term.

He and the other  MPs like James Tora, Mark Kemakeza and Martin Sophage are known to be easy targets during chaotic political situations.

Those in their category won't hesitate to 'cross the floor' several times and in many cases the reasons given for their actions are childish and self-serving.

It is therefore of no surprise that now the focus is on him.

As it is the situation remains highly unpredictable and  fickle. 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Constitutional Crisis Looms over 'Hapi Isles'

Solomon Islands is heading towards a constitutional crisis after Martin Sophage rejoined the government after only 5 days with the Opposition.

Mr. Sophage is the second MP to rejoin the CNRA Government after Mark Kemakeza made a similar move few days ago.

The move by Sophage now put the number balance at 24 - 24 for both the government and the opposition.

At 24 - 24 any intended motion of no confidence by the opposition will be defeated if the votes are reflective of the number balance as any equal votes in a no confidence motion is a defeated motion.

In addition, at the current number balance, the CNRA government is still surviving at the brink as it is still not a minority government.

Hence, despite the fact that a notice for a motion of no confidence has been submitted to the Clerk of Parliament and should be effective seven clear days after it has been submitted, at this point there is no pressure on the PM to recall Parliament to sit and debate a no confidence motion.

As we know, according to relevant sections of the Constitution, on normal occasions, Parliament can only be recalled by the Governor-General in consultation with the Prime Minister. However, in crisis situations, such as in the event of a constitutional crisis, using his reserve powers, the Governor - General can recall Parliament to meet to decide on the national budget.

The CNRA government has scheduled the 2011 budget sitting for March.

In that case, a constitutional crisis will only happen if a budget is tabled and not passed, or if between now and March the number shifts in favour of the Opposition and for that reason the PM refuses to consult the Governor-General for Parliament to sit.

So from now until March we hope and pray that things will turn out positively for the betterment of Solomon Islands. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Former Minister left government because he owed money

Former Minister of Police and National Security, James Tora left the CNRA government because he owed money to Dodo Dettke, another CNRA defector. 

This was revealed to the media by the Prime Minister's Press Secretary, Alfred Sasako yesterday.

Speaking to Radio New Zealand International yesterday, Mr. Sasako said that Tora told the CNRA government that he left them because he owed Bodo some money and that he would return once he has made the repayments.

Mr. Bodo however denied the allegations saying that this, along with the government's claims that he owes the country millions in tax and failed to deliver on an airfield building project are not true.

Mr. Tora, however is renown in Solomon Islands politics as one of the sneaky and slippery ones. Just like in this occasion, those in his category often use childish and rather short-sighted excuses to justify their actions. 

The irony is that though not very influential, these 'hang-loose' types as they are called in the streets of Solomon Islands are the power brokers. They hold the balance of power with their ability to swing the numbers to whichever side that offers the highest bid. 

Their movements are very unpredictable and given their illusiveness they are ones that can most financial gains out of such political crisis situations. It is indeed sickening, but true. 

Another of this category is the MP for Ngella, Mark Kemakeza, whom the local media reported now holds the balncing vote between CNRA and the Opposition.

Like Tora, people like him make decisions, based not on matters of national significance and urgency but on their own personal interests and ambitions.

It is those in this category, the 'hang-loose' ones that make Solomon Islands politics even more defying.

Political drama unfolds - the only certainty is uncertainty

Yesterday, Prime Minister Danny Philip had come out fighting in the media, releasing 'secrets' of certain MP's, mainly Opposition members.

It was clearly a desperate move by the PM to try and save the CNRA boat from sinking to the bottom of the Iron Bottom Sound.

The implicated MP's told the local media that they will defend themselves when the time is right and that they will revel more secrets of Members of the government side. Since then we have heard nothing from them in the local media.

Personally, there is little doubt in my mind that the allegations by PM are true. Some of these revelations were already known to some public officers, only that they were never made public through the mainstream media.

Thus, it would be very difficult for some of them, like the Deputy Leader of Opposition to rebut the claims made by the PM.

Instead, what might see transpire as we move along would be a tit-for-tat exchange of political arsenal by both sides just to to try and save face and possibly convince Solomon Islanders that the other party had committed more wrong than the other.

In my view, both parties are throwing stones at each other from inside glass houses.

Despite the PM's desperate move, with the petition now submitted to the Government House and signed by 25 MPs, it has become apparent that the CNRA boat is living its last moments on the surface of water. It is very likely that few days from now, the boat will submerge into water and another will be floated as the new vessel to lead Solomon Islanders.

The question now is, how good would that new vessel be?

The real answer to that will only be known when a new government is formed. Before that we can only speculate.

However, if history is something to go by, we can almost be certain that about a third or more of the new government will be made up of crew members of the current vessel and thus at the end of the day only a few of the new group will stand out as good or better performers.

For the rest, the status quo will remain the same- unproductive, slippery and sneaky, corrupt, dubious, self-serving and so forth.

Thats the reality of politics in Solomon Islands; that most of our political leaders are leaders only to and for themselves, their relatives and their cronies- not for the rest of Solomon Islands and the nation as a whole.

Whenever the moment dawns on them to stand up and make a difference by being respectable, honest and reliable, they turn their back to Solomon Islanders and seek ends that only them benefit from.

That is the problem we have; a leadership crisis. What we need are leaders with vision and heart for the people. Leaders that can lead to serve others and make sacrifices for the greater good.

Off course, no person or any political leader for that matter will be perfect. But aspiring for perfection is what our political leaders should focus on.

On the basis of the above considerations, the current Opposition group must be careful and make sure that dubious characters that are now within their own group and with those that have eloped to their side from the government must not be included in any new political grouping that forms the government.

They should try and put together like-minded people that have a similar vision and level commitment for the rebuilding of Solomon Islands. This as we know, would be a very difficult thing to do in the case of Solomon Islands politics. But for sure, it is not impossible. It can be done.

Otherwise, even with the formation of a new government, we will still be sailing through chartered waters- same old route as in the past.

It would be very interesting to see how the current Opposition group lines up its port folios. I suspect that despite their strong bond, the candidacy for PM will be highly contested.

For now, we can only sit and watch as the drama unfolds. The least we can do is sit, pray and hope for the better. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

News Links

To all Prejudiced readers, this is to inform you all that Prejudiced has created separate Links for its News items, namely World, Regional, Local and Sports News.

As you know the news published in these links are taken from other mediums. However, it is our believe that by bringing together all these new articles to a common blog it will make your web-browsing needs easier, less time consuming and convenient.

This is a community service we are pleased to be part of.

The links are at the upper left corner of the blog.

Happy blogging.

SIBC News Headlines...

SIBC News,
25 January 2011


The Danny Philip led-government is about to fall with the resignation of Police Minister James Tora.

Tora's resignation means the Opposition now has 25 MPs, while the Government has 23 MPs.

Government House Private Secretary Nigel Maezama confirms that NCRA government's police minister, Tora's resignation letter was submitted to the Governor General's Office today.

Mr Tora is the fifth NCRA cabinet minister to have resigned so far, citing in local reports that he no longer had confidence in the government.

On the question of what options the Prime Minister has, Mr Maezama says there are two options open for Mr Philip to take.

"There are two options that are opened, that the Prime Minister resigns if he knows that he does not have the numbers, which I think it is not possible for him to do. The next option is for him to call a Parliament meeting so that Parliamentarians go through the budget or a vote of no confidence. That's up to them. But they should know the government controls Parliament business. The Government House is monitoring the situation closely."

Meanwhile, Government House Private Secretary Nigel Maezama says the Parliamentary Opposition also submitted a petition to the Government General to summon parliament.

The Opposition plans to hold a media conference tomorrow to explain the details of the petition it submitted to Government House.


The Member of Parliament for North Malaita's two year nine month sentence imposed last year by the High Court has been reduced to one month one day, after being granted a 95 percent remission by the Minister for Police and National Security.

The sentence was reduced when he was released on licence on the 14th of this month.

Speaker of Parliament Sir Allan Kemakeza explains in a statement that the Minister granted Mr Lusiba'ea further remission through powers vested on him under Section 38 of the Correctional Service Act and Regulation 198 of the Correctional Service Regulation.

Sir Allan says this is in addition to a one third remission to the sentence imposed by the High Court, granted to every prisoner under section 37 of the Correctional Services act.

He says the Correctional Service Act defines effective sentence as the term of imprisonment that a prisoner is to serve after taking into account remission granted under the Act, thus it is this effective sentence of one month one day that Mr Lusiba'ea is released on licence to serve outside prison.

Sir Allan says because the effective sentence is now one month and one day, Mr Lusiba'ea can still perform functions and responsibilities as a Parliament member as the sentence is less than 6 months.

The Speakers says under the constitution, an MP is required to vacant his or her seat if the sentence imposed by court is six months or more.

Meanwhile, Sir Allan says the Police Minister exercised his powers under relevant laws and that he as the Speaker does not have the legal mandate to decide otherwise.

On the question of whether the Minister had exercised his discretionary power in a lawful manner, Sir Allan says this is for the courts to decide and that only the courts have jurisdiction to make a decision on such matters.


A witness has testified this morning in Court that three thousand dollars was promised to him if he voted for the M-P for Central Kwara'ae during the National General Elections last year.

John Isu from Gwaisalia village of Central Kwara'ae told the Court a campaign agent for Jackson Fiulaua went to his house on the 3rd of August before Election day and told him he was going around with a list of registered voters in the constituency.

Mr Isu said the agent, Philip Ragi told him that if he and members of his family put their names as supporters of Mr Fiulaua and voted for him, they would received three thousand dollars each from the Rarasu Motel Fiulaua owns at Auki.

However, he said said after voting took place he went down to Rarasu Motel at Auki to check for the promised money but was told there was no such thing and that Mr Fiulaua had gone back to Honiara.

Mr Isu was one of three new witnesses who testified before the Court this morning during the trial of the election petition against Mr Fiulaua.

Former Deputy Prime Minister in the last Government and former M-P for Central Kwara'ae Fred Fono lodged the petition case again his successor and the Electoral Commission after the National General Elections last year.

Mr Fono is claiming that the Minister for Infrastructure and Development used bribery, undue influence and particulars of treating to induce voters of various villages in the constituency for votes.


A witness has testified this morning in Court that three thousand dollars was promised to him if he voted for the M-P for Central Kwara'ae during the National General Elections last year.

John Isu from Gwaisalia village of Central Kwara'ae told the Court a campaign agent for Jackson Fiulaua went to his house on the 3rd of August before Election day and told him he was going around with a list of registered voters in the constituency.

Mr Isu said the agent, Philip Ragi told him that if he and members of his family put their names as supporters of Mr Fiulaua and voted for him, they would received three thousand dollars each from the Rarasu Motel Fiulaua owns at Auki.

However, he said said after voting took place he went down to Rarasu Motel at Auki to check for the promised money but was told there was no such thing and that Mr Fiulaua had gone back to Honiara.

Mr Isu was one of three new witnesses who testified before the Court this morning during the trial of the election petition against Mr Fiulaua.

Former Deputy Prime Minister in the last Government and former M-P for Central Kwara'ae Fred Fono lodged the petition case again his successor and the Electoral Commission after the National General Elections last year.

Mr Fono is claiming that the Minister for Infrastructure and Development used bribery, undue influence and particulars of treating to induce voters of various villages in the constituency for votes.


The only thing delaying the Electoral Commission to conduct bye-elections for Shortland Islands and Baegu/Asifola constituencies is funding from the government through the Ministry of Finance and Treasury. 

Constituents from these two constituencies have called on the Electoral Commission to quickly schedule a time for elections as they need a leader to represent them in parliament.

Speaking to SIBC News today, Chief Electoral Officer Polycarp Haununu says preparations are well underway to hold elections for both constituencies.

However, he says they are awaiting response from the Ministry of Finance and Treasury following their budget submissions requesting more than two-million dollars to hold bye-elections.

"We depend very much on funding and as soon as the Treasury releases funding to us we should plan what time to conduct election awareness in the Shortland Islands Constituency".


The Western Provincial government has launched a new football club called the Western United Football Club at the King Solomon hotel this morning.

This is part of the provincial governments' initiative to diversify its tourism sector, especially in combining sports and tourism.

Speaking at the launching today, Western Provincial Premier George Solingi Lilo said the province needs to diversify its tourism sector as it is part of the provinces' developmental initiative for 2011.

"One of the areas within this sector is sports tourism. It is already an endorsed policy of the Western Province government to diversify our tourism base. And as you know one of the key strategic areas of the Western Province is tourism. As such it is important for us not to look into beach tourism or accommodation tourism only, we must also diversify if we have to move tourism in this country we need to diversify tourism."

Meanwhile, on the provinces' initiative to combine sports and tourism Premier Lilo said after the ethnic unrest, sports is an avenue that can bring people together.

"After the tension, the only thing that pulled us together is soccer. We all went for Solomon Islands. That was the only time we declare that we are all Solomon Islanders. I am not a man from the West, Guadalcanal or Malaita. All of us said we are Solomon Islanders and the Western Province and I believe that rather than talking about it let's do it practically through sports tourism."


Prime Minister Danny Philip has called on Solomon Islands' overseas friends to stay out of the current political situation that the country is going through.

Speaking in a press conference attended by government ministers and media personnel, Mr Philip reminded the country's overseas friends that they should remain aloof from the political situation that is happening in the country.

He said this is not to say that the NCRA government refrains from its overseas friends but wants them not to meddle in the country's politics.

Meanwhile, Mr Philip said that parliament will meet in March this year.

He said government has came with a budget framework, aims and objectives and should finalise it in two weeks.

Mr Philip said Parliament can pass the budget if members of parliament support it.

He appeals to opposition MPs not to engage in cheap politics and invites them to join the government to advance the interest of the nation.

Parliament last year passed a resolution for government to continue to spend money till the end of April during which it has to pass a budget.

The Police Force Maritime Unit has apprehended two foreign fishing vessels that were suspected of illegal fishing in the Solomon Islands waters.

Police and the National Fisheries Department have been monitoring the two foreign long-line fishing vessels and suspected them of fishing illegally in the country's waters for more than a week.

Police say the vessels were easily located and monitored by the the Police Maritime Unit through the Vessel Monitoring System which is linked with the Forum Fisheries Agency regional monitoring system.

Patrol boat Auki last Thursday intercepted and apprehend the two foreign fishing vessels illegal fishing in the northern part of Solomon Islands Exclusive Economic Zone.

The vessels are now in police custody at the Police Maritime Base in Honiara pending further investigation and advice from the Fisheries Department.


Four Japanese volunteers are in the country to help teach in various schools as part of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, JICA's, volunteer program.

The four will spend two years each in the country.

Speaking to SIBC Japanese Volunteer Program Coordinator Naka Hara says JICA will meet the volunteers' living allowances while requesting organizations provide accommodation.

The four will teach in three community high schools and a rural training center.

ABC Radio Australia Asia Pacific News Update

25th January 2011

Solomons PM dismisses plans to reconvene parliament

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Danny Philip has dismissed plans by the opposition to petition the governor general to force a sitting of parliament.

The opposition claims it has a parliamentary majority but Danny Philip says he has the support of 24 MPs which is enough for him to lead the government.

The Solomon Star says four ministers who had reportedly joined the Opposition have pledged their allegiance to stick with the Prime Minister.

Danny Philip says the government is stable and intact.

"I appeal to you the people in the opposition if you truly have a heart for this country, come over and serve. We have a program," he said.

"If you want to take over the government, what are you going to do? Push another resolution, who will be your prime minister?"


Cyclone Wilma moves towards Fiji

A gale warning is in force for Fiji as tropical cyclone Wilma moves towards the Lau Islands.

The category three cyclone is now approximately 90 kilometres west of Nuku'alofa in Tonga.

Earlier on Tuesday, Cyclone Wilma passed over Tonga's Vava'u and Ha'apai Islands.

Disaster management officials are waiting on word from authorities in Ha'apai where it's believed the cyclone has caused some damage.

There is concern for people in low-lying areas because the cyclone hit during high-tide.


PNG orders investigation into attack at LNG site

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister has ordered an investigation into the attack on builders working on the country's multi-billion dollar Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project.

Sir Michael Somare has instructed Foreign Minister Don Polye to lead a government team to Hides in the PNG Highlands, where workmen for a gas conditioning plant site were attacked.

Four employees of Clough Curtain Joint Venture, a contractor to the PNG LNG gas project, were injured last Friday.

The attack was sparked by the death of a 4 year child who allegedly consumed powder like substances used at the construction site.

The developer, ExxonMobil says it has shut down construction work on the gas conditioning plant site at Hides until the safety of its employees is guaranteed.

The government has deployed additional security forces to prevent further trouble.


CNMI considers educational-tourism program with Taiwan

The governor of the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, Benigno Fitial, has returned from a trip to Taiwan where he met President Ma Ying-jeou to explore economic, trade and investment  opportunities.

The governor's office says he is particularly interested in pursuing an educational-tourism program to allow Taiwanese students to study English in the CNMI.

Marianas Variety reports Taiwan's president expressed his appreciation for the implementation of the Guam-CNMI Visa Waiver Program, which allows Taiwanese nationals to enter the CNMI and Guam, without a visa.

He said the program makes it more convenient for Taiwanese tourists to visit the Northern Marianas.


Fiji strengths ties with Kiribati

A delegation from Fiji's interim government has met representatives from Kiribati to strengthen bilateral relations.

Fiji's delegation visited Kiribati last week.

The two nations signed a Memorandum of Understanding last year, which includes working closer together on areas such as trade, education, labor mobility, immigration, health and fisheries.

Kiribati Foreign Affairs Secretary, Tessie Lambourne, says Kiribati has an important trade relationship with Fiji

"One thing that needs to be understood is the role of Fiji, the role that Fiji plays in region and especially for the smaller countries like Kiribati," she said.

"Fiji is one of our major trading partners and a lot of the goods that we get from abroad come through Fiji if not from Fiji itself."


Funeral held for Fijian soldier killed Afghanistan

A funeral service has been held in Suva for Fijian British Army soldier Private Joseva Vatubua.

Fijilive news reports family, friends and the British High Commissioner attended the service at the Commonwealth War Cemetery.

Major Cliff Whithead who accompanied Private Vatubua's body from the UK said he was brilliant and a strong man who had many good qualities.

The 24 year old was killed on New Year's Day when an improvised explosive device went off near his patrol in Helmand province.

To view the above stories visit ABC Radio Australia Asia Pacific News at:

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

SIBC News Headlines...

24 January 2011

Prime Minister Danny Philip has revealed that his government is commanding the support of 24 members of parliament and that included Ngella MP, Mark Kemakeza who revoked his own resignation on Saturday.

Prime Minister Philip, however, also revealed that East Makira MP, Alfred Ghiro is yet to decide his position.

SIBC understands that Mr Ghiro decided to switch sides to opposition again- after the government had not given him a ministerial portfolio.

The Prime Minister, however, says government does not condemn the Ministers who have resigned saying government will still welcome them if they opt to return.

Prime Minister Philip also reaffirms that he doesn't want to involve in what he termed as cheap rhetoric in media.

He challenges the opposition to bring it on- on the floor of parliament during the March parliament meeting.

A political commentator in the country says the underlying cause for the government's instability is because leaders have less regard for the needs of Solomon Islanders.

 Speaking to SIBC News John Roughan says there seems to be a lot of different voices coming from leaders trying to explain recent major factors causing the current instability within the government including the bech-der-mer saga, the fining of a Taiwanese fishing vessels, and the payments made for the PNG Chancery building in Honiara. 

Dr Roughan says the resignations of ministers is a sad thing for Solomon Islanders. 

He says the political elite fail to see the country as number one but rather its resources wanted by outsiders primarily for their own interests.

"It's sad that our political elite, those who are leading the country don't seem to see the country as number one. That's the most important thing. The resources wanted by other people people and other countries, that is second to our well being as a nation." 

Dr Roughan says that if Opposition takes over government, the country's governance must be strengthened with political leaders realising that their duty is to make sure Solomon Islands becomes strong and better.

A business woman, Ruth Fera, has appealed to critics of the Danny Philip led-government to give the administration a chance to run the country.

Ms Fera says the moves taken by members of Parliament to resigned from the government and join the Opposition is premature.

She says the government has hardly settled into office, and is yet to translate it policies into programmes that it can implement but is already facing uncertainty.

Ms Fera says for MPs including Douglas Ete and Bodo Detke to cross the floor and join the Opposition is both premature and not in the interest of the stability of the country.

As a business women, she says such unstable political environment is bad bad for business and investment in the country.

She says if Ministers disagree with any government decisions they should discuss and settle them in Cabinet rather than changing sides and causing uncertainty in the country.

Meanwhile, a group calling itself "Urban Peoples" movement for stability and unity has cautioned people against unfairly criticising the government.

Interim President of the group, Henry Star Dora, says issues highlighted in the media recently have caused uncertainty, doubts and confusion in the minds of the ordinary people of the country.

Mr Dora says Solomon Islanders should let the government come up with its development programmes and put together the national budget so that the country can continue to operation in the coming financial year starting May this year.

Six witnesses have testified as the petition against Central Kwara'ae MP Jackson Fiulaua began at the High Court in Honiara.

Former Central Kwara'ae MP Fred Fono took the case against Mr Fiulaua over allegations of bribery and inducement prior to last year's national general election on August 4.

Mr Fono lost the Central Kwara'ae seat to Mr Fiulaua with more than 500 ballots.

The six witnesses including a woman told the court of varying amounts of money allegedly dished out by Mr Fiulaua and his supporters during the campaign period at different times and locations.

Thomas Apisia of Ano'asa village told the court that Mr Fiulaua gave him and his wife two-thousand dollars prior to the election on August 3, 2010.

Mr Apisia said the money was given to him to rebuild his burnt-down kitchen but he told the court that it was given at the wrong time.

Hilda Kwaiga of Siubongi village told court that she and two other women were given 50 dollars each by Mr Fiulaua during a campaign gathering at Fousadeo village.

Others have alleged that key campaign managers of Mr Fiulaua's team have given them between 50 to 100 dollars for sugar and tea prior to the Election Day.

The hearing continues at the High Court at 9:30am tomorrow.


The government has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community for the roll-out of a rural Internet connectivity system in the country.

Dubbed PacRICs, the system will provide Internet access and access to real time information to over twenty hospitals and schools in the country.

The sites include around 21 provincial-based hospitals, rural health care centres and rural-based schools.

The system would enable local health workers and doctors to access medical information and to connect with other medical professionals in the region and the world in the course of their practice.

School students will be able to access a digital library or information database with such a rural Internet connectivity system in the course of their learning.

SPC's Director-General Dr Jimmy Rodgers-Bird says Solomon Islands is the first regional country where multiple government ministries have joined together to sign the PacRICs M-O-U.

"They've agreed by the signature to jointly support the on-going costs. And they are also by that very signature now showing a new mode....government sectors will work together with various types of resource constraints which each ministry has will be set and hopefully provide more service to the people."

The Director-General also says that S-P-C is working towards rolling out the Rural Internet Connectivity System at the first 17 sites within the next six months.

"We hope to ave all 21 centres operational in 2 months. We are putting in 280-thousand US dollars worth of equipment, and that is remaining as we speak. In fact in anticipation of this signing we have already put in orders for some of the equipment to come in. So I guess we hope that within the first six months of this year we would have at least 17 of those up and running and within the 12 months all 21."

Key ministries involved include the Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Education and Health and Medical Services.

Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Minister Peter Shanel describes the M-O-U signing with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community as a significant milestone for the country's rural-based people.

Speaking at press conference following the signing this afternoon, the Foreign Affairs Minister says PacRICs is a cheap and reliable Internet solution for the country.

Mr Shanel says a pilot PacRICs project at the Gatokae College in Western Province has already proven successful and the rural Internet connectivity will enable people in rural communities to reach out to the outside world.

The people of the Shortland Islands Constituency in the Western Province want a representative in Parliament.

The Faurau, Mono and Alu or Famoa Council of Chiefs in a statement says their people are ready to participate in a bye-election for their Constituency after the seat was left vacant following the death of their MP last year.

The statements says the Famoa Council of Chiefs has advised that the government that chiefs and people have completed reconciliation and peace ceremonies addressing election related tensions between supporters of both winning and losing candidates during last year's general election.

It says the government should now schedule to hold a bye-election for the Shortland Islands Constituency.

Meanwhile, the Famoa Council of Chiefs says before the bye-election, a team from the Electoral Commission should conduct election awareness program in all eleven villages of Fauru, Mono and Alu groups.

The Council says the election awareness is important to teach the people the process of democratically electing a peoples representative.

The Guadalcanal Province Liquor Licensing Board is meeting for the first time in nine years to consider the back log of liquor licence application.

Provincial Finance Minister Rolland Seleso says the provincial administration is taking measures to ensure the collection of all revenue from all rates, tax and licence payers before the current financial year ends on March 31st.

He cautions all property owners, business owners and other tax and rate payers to settle their dues and become good partners with the province.

Mr Seleso says that the current administration under the new government vows to step up revenue collection and will do everything in its powers to ensure everyone concerned complies with provincial regulations.


The Opposition is expected to lodge the first of its petitions to the Governor General starting this week.

Deputy Opposition Leader Matthew Wale announced the Opposition's intentions last week following the resignation of the former Fisheries Minister and former Forestry Minister.

The petition is purposely to see if NCRA still has the numbers to remain in office.


The Opposition is claiming that another eight government ministers have pledged their support for their side.

Solomon Star newspaper today quoted recently resigned Ministers Ete and Detke as saying that the eight ministers have already signed their resignation letters and will be delivering it to the Governor General tomorrow.

SIBC News understands that only a total of four government ministers have officially resigned their portfolio's.

Meanwhile, the Government House has confirmed to SIBC News this morning that so far they have only received four resignations.

MP for North west Guadalcanal Bodo Detke, and Parliament member for East Honiara Douglas Ete handed in their resignation letters to the government house on midnight Thursday while MP for North Guadalcanal Martin Sopage, and East Kwaio MP Stanley Sofu handed in theirs on Saturday morning.

SIBC News understands that intense political lobbying between the MPs which started over the weekend is still current with more MPs from the NCRA government expected to crossing the floor this week.


With the recent political developments the numbers stands at 24 on each sides of the parliament house.

Bodo Detke and Douglas Ete had tendered their resignations last week while Stanley Sofu and Martin Sopage had over the weekend tendered their resignations from the NCRA government to join the opposition.

Speaking during a press conference over the weekend Deputy Opposition Leader Mathew Wale assured local media that they are expecting more resignations.

He said they are expecting two more members of the NCRA government to cross over early this week.

Mathew Wale explained that the resignations of the ministers show clearly their lack of confidence in NCRA leadership.

The daily newspaper Solomon Star front page today has the headline "eight more to resign".


The company planning to drill for copper and gold off Papua New Guinea says it is setting a new benchmark in its environmental planning.

Radio New Zealand International reports that concerns have been raised in PNG, that the government has not done financial due diligence, or looked at the environmental impact of the project.

Nautilus Minerals has been granted the twenty year lease to develop its copper-gold project by searching for mineral deposits across almost 60 square kilometres of sea floor in the Bismarck Sea.

The CEO of Nautilus Minerals, Stephen Rogers, says it is natural for people to be worried about the impact.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

CNRA in rough predicted.

Just about five months into his tenure as Prime Minister, Danny Philips' Coalition for Reform and National Advancement government (CNRA) is sailing the roughest waters of its short voyage. 

Latest reports have alleged that about four government ministers will be submitting their resignation to the Prime Minister soon to join the Opposition.

The reports said that the Minsters; Dodo Detke, Martin Sophage, Mark Kemakeza and Douglas Ete had a 'reconciliation ceremony' of some sort last night at the Office of the Leader of Opposition with their former SIDP and CNURA colleagues. 

This ceremony was held purposely to iron out differences so that the four MPs can rejoin the Opposition and remove the government from power. 

If these rumours are true, the next sitting of parliament will be a very interesting one as it will almost be certain that a motion of no confidence will be moved against the PM.

On a personal note, I think the move taken by the five MP's is a good one. 

The current government is so dominated by self-serving characters that even the Prime Minister himself cannot get under control. As revealed in his letter to the media, even the PM himself was blindsided by the most influential of the 'big boys'- Lilo. 

If true, this perhaps is the beginning of the end of the voyage of Mv. CNRA and may well be the closing chapter in their log book. 

As you may have seen in the media, the government has been faced with one controversy after another; thanks to the 'big players' of the group. 

Even at the beginning of the process of government formation, there was already in-house rivalry between these so-called 'power players' or big boys. We all read about it the media of how Hon. Gordon Darcy Lilo and Hon Snyder Rini fought over the finance port folio. No body wanted to settle for the second-best. 

In the end its was not surprising to see that GDL became the Finance Minister. The current PM and GDL are very close allies. 

As if things have settled down enough for the new government, the next hurdle was just around the corner. The scene was set in the forests of Solomon Islands, when the Forestry Minister was alleged to have acted insubordination to the wishes of the PM, GDL and their cronnies, those Asian Loggers. 

The forestry minister himself has been under immense pressure from Transparency Solomon Islands and the Civil society since getting the forestry port folio. He is a logger himself and clearly possessing vested interests in the industry it was rightfully deemed incorrect for him to be the Minister. His appointment amounted to conflict of interest. 

We then witnessed the next hurdle, a power-play which was set in the shores and waters of our economy- the Fisheries/ becher-de-mer saga, involving GDL, the previously sacked and now 'reshuffled' former Forestry Minister, Dodo Detke, and an Asian businessman. 

The issue was settled but to the dismay of most Solomon Islanders. As far as many Solomon Islanders are concerned the manner in which the government handled the issue was not suspicious and therefore was undesirable.

Just when people's frustrations were at boiling point, the Government through the Minister of Police and Justice appointed the Parole Board to endorse the early release of their former colleague minister for fisheries and former MEF militant commander Jimmy Rasta Lusibaea. 

Frustrations are expressed in the media from all sectors of the society. 

In the midst of all these controversies the lone voice for the government has been doing a remarkable job. The SSPM to the Prime Minister is doing exactly what is expected of him, and what he is being paid for.

But perhaps, even some members of the Coalition can no longer bear the guilt they are carrying within them- the guilt of letting their people down in being part of a government that after almost five months has done little to the people of Solomon Islands, but to serve their own interests and political ambitions. 

Instead of serving Solomon Islanders, they have deserted them... what the people receive in return is nothing but a big slap on their (Solomon Islanders') faces.