Monday, June 20, 2011

SIBC News, 20 June 2011


Prime Minister Danny Philip announces, his government is a step closer to resolving the 8 year old Russell Islands Plantation Estate Limited which was forcefully shut down as a result of a dispute in 2004.

In a media conference today, Mr Philip said government took up the initiative to address the RIPEL dispute following his visit to Yandina earlier this year.

Mr Philip expressed the government's gratitude to stakeholders, Lavukal, Central Islands Provincial government the Solomon Islands National Union of Workers for supporting NCRA's proposal.

He said, the outcome so far has been positive.

He said, the government formed a three member committee which led a process of consultations and negotiations with all stakeholders resulting in a settlement proposal with RIPEL mortgagees that will essentially enable the company clear outstanding debts.

The Prime Minister said that because the proposal is still subject to the signing of a formal legal agreement between the government and RIPEL, he would not elaborate on the details.


The best way to resolve issues resulting from Solomon Fish and Processing company worker's sit-in protest last week is best left to the Trade Disputes Panel.

Workers of the company in Noro, Western province went on strike on Friday as a result of various issues relating to their alleged unfair treatment by the company management.

Speaking to SIBC News the National Union of Workers' General Secretary, Tony Kangovai, says these issues relate to unfair working conditions provided by the company management.

The Union's General Secretary sayss that the best way forward is to let workers resume work while the matter is before the Trade Disputes Panel.

SIBC News understands that the more than 600 workers affected are expected to resume normal duties tomorrow.


The N-C-R-A government is planning to pour in a sizable amount of money for the redevelopment of the Yandina Plantation in Russel Islands.

Speaking to local media this afternoon, Prime Minister Danny Phillip said that N-C-R-A is planning to redevelop the disabled plantation to be the flagship area for many more developments yet to come in other provinces as well.

He said that funds for the redevelopment will come from private-public partnership arrangements while stating that talks have already been made with European Union and other donor partners.

Prime Minister Danny Phillip said that his government plans to increase the number of investors in Russell unlike before where there is only one investor and sub divide Yandina into commercial blocks.

He said with these blocks the government will try to improve necessary services from health, education and communication as well as other commercial services such as gold coast.


The Solomon Islands Government encourages the Melanesian Spearhead Group to be ready to cooperate.

Minister of Police, National Security and Correctional service, Clay Forau says the the group must engage in exchange programmes and for every members to voice their concerns in a more comfortable forum that is apolitical, unbiased and not easily influenced by external players in the Melanesian way.

He says the Melanesian region must take ownership of any process to resolve its own problems and do not let external forces to drive what is unique in Melanesia.

Speaking this morning during the opening of the Melanesian Spearhead group Police Commissioners forum in Honiara, Mr Forau called on the Melanesian block to join hands to prevent future security threats.

He said, the strength of the MSG success are the unique cultures, traditions, natural resources and the common ancestral heritage.

Reciprocating the welcome extended by the Police Minister, PNG Police Commissioner, Anthony Wagambie reiterated that Melanesian problems are best left for Melanesians themselves to solve.


If urbanisation reaches 50 percent by 2050, at least half-a-million people will be residing in Honiara which almost equals the current total population of the country.

Speaking to SIBC news New Zealand based researcher Professor David Craig says 50 years ago during the first census in Solomon Islands, the total population stood at 125-thousand.

He says that this is equivalent to the current population in Honiara which means that urbanisation has grown to 125 thousand approximately the total population 50 years ago.

Meanwhile, Professor Craig who has long term interests in cities, migration and opportunities in the Pacific says that urbanisation does not come free but also with a huge cost to the country's environment, economy and even people's lifestyles.

He says many countries around the world have dealt with urbanisation successfully while others are struggling to cope with its negative impacts.

Professor Craig says to avoid the negative effects of urbanisation politicians need to come up with good and effective policies.

He says whilst the economic growth centres proposed by the government will help in alleviating the rate of urbanisation it takes more than the growth centres to influence the rate of urbanisation.


Finance Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo will be delivering a speech to the members of the Economics Association of Solomon Islands this Wednesday.

A press statement from the Economics Association says that Mr Lilo had recently attended an Asian Development Bank Pacific Leaders Conference on S-O-E reforms in which he invited Richard Prebble, a lead speaker in the conference to come to Solomon Islands and address chairman and General managers of SOEs in the country.

It is expected that in his speech the finance minister will draw on the Solomon Islands experience, the lessons learnt from other pacific islands state owned enterprise reforms and the lessons from other leaders.

During the presentation, the Minister Lilo will also be inducted as a honorary life member of the association.

Mr Lilo has been a very strong advocate of discussion of major economic issues and a strong supporter of the economic association since he entered politics in 2002.

With the induction on Wednesday, Finance Minister Lilo will be the second national economist to be conferred honorary life membership.


Transparency Solomon Islands, TSI, says citizens of the country have the right to the information of how aid money is being used and on what it is being used for.

It says the people need to know and see whether aid money is used to improve their livelihood because that is the main reason of it being given to the people.

TSI says recent media reports that the Taiwanese government the Rural Community Development Fund 2011 funding support is good.

But it says the report said that only 46 Constituencies have returned their 2010 acquittal reports with four still to be received.

Transparency Solomon Islands it will be very interested in see these reports.

TSI says it believes that the Republic of China and the Ministry of Rural Development are transparent with these reports.

It says this is the only way people can be able to hold their leaders accountable and make sure that the money is used for the right reasons.

TSI says receiving money is a good thing but putting it to use in the best interest of everyone is a big problem for the country.

It says people want to see the funding bring genuine benefits to the majority of Solomon Islands in rural areas and enhance their welfare.


The Central Honiara Constituency Office has embarked on a series of awareness meetings to communities in the constituency.

A worker from the Central Honiara Constituency Office, Isaac Kiriau, told SIBC News that the awareness programme is to tell the people in the constituency about the work of the office and what the member of Parliament wants to do for the constituency.

Mr Kiriau also says the visits to communities is to explain to the people how they can access the various fundings that the government has allocated for the Central Honiara Constituency.

They are the Rural Support Constituency Development, Millennium Development, the Micro Project, Livelihood Fund and Fishery Funds.

He says people in Central Honiara who want to apply for help under the various funding must process their applications through established committees in their respective zones.

Mr Kiriau says officers from the Constituency Office have already held awareness talks in four out of the five zones in Central Honiara.

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