Friday, June 24, 2011

SIBC News, 24th June 2011

The Government has set up a Constituency Scholarship Fund, effective immediately.

Minister for Education and Human Resources Development, Dick Haamori, confirmed this following Cabinet’s endorsement of the Fund last week.

Announcing this today, Mr Haamori said Cabinet’s decision meant that each year the Government would make available five million to the Constituency Scholarship Fund.

He said details of how the Scholarship Fund would be administered are being worked out.

Mr Haamori said that funding will be restricted to students studying in in-country tertiary education institutions meaning only students undertaking studies in tertiary education institutions based in Solomon Islands are eligible for scholarship award

He said Constituency students attending foreign institutions operating out of Solomon Islands are also eligible.

Minister Haamori said the Government felt the use of Grade Point Average, as the main measurement or in many instances the only criteria to determine who receive scholarship awards does not provide an acceptable distribution of scholarships to all Solomon Islanders.

He said by creating the Constituency Scholarship Scheme tertiary education development opportunity is facilitated to be available to all Constituencies of the country, instead of only a privileged few.

Finance Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo has endorsed a National Provident Fund request to make a major loan to Solomon Airlines to purchase an aircraft to consolidate and expand the Airline's domestic air services.

Speaking this week during a seminar on State Owned Enterprise, S-O-E, Mr Lilo said Solomon Airlines had received major support from the Government and from donors in recent years.

He said NPF is in a transition period to accessing normal commercial lending, and is in a position to explore options for private equity involvement as well.

Mr Lilo challenged the staff of S-O-Es to rise up to the opportunities and behave like a commercial business in a competitive market.

The Solomon Airlines is seeking an alternative aircraft to serve it's international routes to Australia.

A statement from the airlines says because of the ash cloud disruptions in Australia and additional work by the current operators, Our Airlines, Strategic Airlines and Alliance.

Strategic Airlines has sent one of its planes for maintenance whilst Our Airlines has taken on many ad-hoc charters thus preventing their aircraft use this weekend and Alliance has no aircraft available in Brisbane.

Despite the set back, Solomon Airlines says the company has secured an aircraft for Sunday evening which will only cater for today's flight disruption.

The Sunday flight will now be operated on Monday evening.

The company also anticipates to operate from Our Airlines aircraft on Wednesday and Friday next week, when the company completes it's charter work.

Solomon Airlines has also contacted various airlines all of whom have indicated nothing available whilst they recover the Ashes flight disruptions in Australia.

Meanwhile, the company is trying to find a timely solution of operating its own Airbus A320.

A United States delegation will arrive in Honiara for a short visit next Wednesday.

The Assistant Secretary of State to South East Asia and Pacific Kurt Campbell will lead the delegation for brief talks with the Prime Minister Danny Philip and senior government officials.

This will be the first time that a U.S. Assistant Secretary of State has visited the Solomon Islands.

Mr Campbell will be accompanied by the Commander of the Pacific Fleet, Admiral Patrick Walsh, Brigadier General Richard Simcock and U.S. Agency for International Development Senior Administrator Nisha Biswal.

The U-S Consul office in Honiara says the schedule for the high-level delegation in Honiara will be tight.

The General Secretary of the Solomon Islands National Union of workers says the 63 workers allegedly terminated by Soltai company are still on the job while waiting for the Commissioner of Labour to deal with the situation.

A front page article in the Solomon Star newspaper today said the workers had been terminated by Soltai Company because they refused to renew their personal contracts with the company.

The paper also stated that the Trade Disputes Panel has refused to handle the case because they did not have the legal rights.

However, Tony Kangovai says the 63 workers are still working with the rest of the employees and are waiting for the Labour Commissioner to arrive to sort out the matter.

Mr Kangovai says Josiah Manehia is expected to arrive in Noro on Sunday.

He also confirms that the Trade Disputes Panel has refused to take up the case because they did not have the legal jurisdiction.

The first part of the Malaita Development Program under the Israel assistance to the province will start next month.

Honorary Consul of Israel to Solomon Islands says the Jewish Agency, TAG International Development, is preparing logistics arrangements for its work with the Malaita Chazon Authority.

Both the Director and Deputy Director of the Authority, Patrick Taloboe and David Toifai, have been undertaking training in Israel over the past few weeks for the setting up of the Authority in Auki next month.

Save the Children Solomon Islands commends the local media for helping it disseminate children's rights and issues when all other means seem difficult.

Child Advocacy program manager, Emmanuel Maesua says, Save the Children will seek to improve its relationship with the local media.

He says without the influence of the media, the 2011advocacy program which ends today would not have been successful. 

A research into the lives and daily experiences of people living with disability in the Solomon Islands will soon be carried out in communities on Guadalcanal.

The project is titled 'The Social and Cultural Context of Disability in the Solomon Islands' and will identify culturally appropriate solutions to disadvantage.

The research will jointly be carried out by the Monash University, People With Disability Solomon Islands and will be supported by the Australian Government and the Australian Research Council.

Brooke Winterburn an Assistant Researcher with the Monash University who is in the country to carry out the pilot stages of the research told SIBC News in an interview that the research will be carried out over a period of three months in communities in east and west Guadalcanal.

Ms Winterburn says key questions will include the social cultural beliefs and the attitude and behaviour towards disability, among others.

People of North Malaita support the efforts of Transparency Solomon Islands, TSI, in the country.

SIBC's correspondent, John Kiri, reports that people of North Malaita say the work of TSI in trying to ensure Solomon Islanders in all walks of life are transparent, accountable and fair to assist develop the country.

He says since the country became independent more than 30 years ago, corruption through nepotism, bribery and self-service had taken root especially among leaders and government officials in decision making positions, slowing down development in the country.

Mr Kiri says the practice is continuing today and if nothing is done to stop it, millions of dollars allocated to the people through the various funding such as the Rural Support Constituency Development, Millennium Development, the Micro Project, Livelihood Fund and Fishery Funds will not reach the people.

He says leaders must be transparent in how they distribute the aid money and the services they are obliged to provide to the people.

Narasirato pan pipers are playing at various musical festivals in Europe starting tonight.

The 10-member band will at the Glastonbury Festival in England tonight and tomorrow night.

Narasirato will perform at the Roots Festival in Amsterdam, the Netherlands on Monday and in Norway on July the 1st.

In addition to the live performances, Narasirato will lead cultural workshops for Greenpeace and workshops in Europe.

The traditional pan pipers group left Solomon Islands last Friday and will return after spending one month touring Europe.

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