Latest News Archive February 2021

He says he has now sought information from the Buin police post, regarding the incident.

Bougainville Police Chief Sorry for Border Incident

The Bougainville Police Chief, Francis Tokura told Solomon Times Online he is sorry about the incident that occurred at the border between Solomon Islands and PNG.
Hon. Sogavare further stated, “The late Sir Michael Somare was a political pioneer and a pillar of strength not only for Papua New Guinea, but for Melanesia and the wider Pacific region.”

PM Sogavare Pays Tribute to Late Grand Chief Sir Michael Somare

Prime Minister Hon. Manasseh Sogavare has expressed his message of condolence following the passing of Papua New Guinea’s first and four times Prime Minister, late Grand Chief Sir. Michael Somare.
With the roll out plan in place, all frontline staff including health workers and those from other government agencies such as police and customs will be the first to be vaccinated followed by the elderlies, 55 years and above and people with underlying sickness such as diabetes, cancer, high blood and the remaining people in Honiara.

Solomon Islands is First Country in the Pacific to Place COVID-19 Order With GAVI

Solomon Islands is the first country in the Pacific to have its COVID-19 vaccine order placed by the Gavi COVAX facility through UNICEF’s supply division.
“While I condemn the action of the Bougainvilleans involved in the strongest of terms, the inadequate arming and resourcing of the border police has been an ongoing issue attracting little or no attention from the government."

Wale on Border Incident, Calls on Government to take Immediate Steps

Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Matthew Wale expresses grave concern over the incident involving our local border police and a group of Bougainvilleans, at the Western border resulting in the intimidation of our officers and the illegal seizure of a Police drone.
Prior to independence, Somare was the chief minister of the Australian-administered territory of Papua New Guinea. He most recently served as the country's leader briefly in 2011.

Papua New Guinea's Founding Father Sir Michael Somare Dies Aged 84

Papua New Guinea's first prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, has died aged 84, his daughter confirmed earlier today.
The accession to the Bunkers Convention was triggered by the grounding of MV Solomon Trader in February 2019, which spilled more than 300 tonnes of heavy fuel oil into Kagava Bay, Rennell Bellona Province.

Accession to “Bunkers Convention” Critical to Pursue Oil Spill Compensation

The Solomon Islands recent accession to the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage (‘Bunkers Convention’) is critical for pursuing compensation regarding the recent oil spill damages in the country.
Mr. Soaki conveys his deep gratitude to the Fijian people for the warm hospitality and friendship. He is confident that the relationship will continue to thrive in the future.

High Commissioner Soaki Pays Farewell Call on Fiji Prime Minister

Outgoing Solomon Islands High Commissioner to the Republic of Fiji, His Excellency William McDonald Soaki paid a farewell courtesy call on Hon. Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji on Monday 22 February 2021.
“My good people of Lauru, prosperity require sacrifice, dedication and unity with one another. Unity gives us purpose, makes our country resilience and strong. We must continue to learn and appreciate each other and live in harmony,” Prime Minister Sogavare said.

“Thank You Choiseul Province”: PM Sogavare

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare today has joined hundreds of people around Choiseul Province to celebrate the province’s 2nd Appointed Day in Taro.
“I must say that our PRT boys are very professional. They try to ensure that there is always peace. In terms of policy, border security is a priority for the Ministry," Veke said.

Solomon Islands to Establish Outpost at the Border with Support from Australia

The Minister of Police, National Security and Correctional Services, Hon. Anthony Veke, says that the Solomon Islands will soon establish a patrol boat outpost in the Shortland Islands. This is with support from Australia.
UNDP Solomon Islands Project Manager Vardon Hoca.

UNDP and UNODC Bring International Experience to the Solomon Islands Independent Commission Against Corruption

Challenges faced at the inception phases of independent commissions against corruption and best international practices were at the focus of the webinar held in Honiara on 18 February.
The Prime Minister inspects a guard of honour in Kulutanai, Shortland Islands, where he also met with  frontliners.

PM Visits Frontliners at SI/PNG Border

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has saluted frontliners for their continuous commitment and sacrifice in keeping our border safe.
Hon. Maelanga further acknowledged the commitments and assistances rendered by the Government of Japan as a revelation of Japan’s spirit and bond of friendship towards its traditional partners like the Solomon Islands.

DPM Conveys Well Wishes to His Majesty, Emperor Naruhito of Japan

Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Manasseh Maelanga, MP has conveyed his well wishes to His Majesty, Emperor Naruhito of Japan.
Solomon Islands Chess Federation has endorsed Fred Resture to represent Solomon Islands in the 2021 Oceania Zone 3.6 Hybrid Competition for the World Cup Selection.

Resture to Represent Solomon Islands in Oceania Chess Competition

Fred Resture has won the National Youth Rapid Chess Championship held on the 20th and 21st of February 2021 in Honiara.
Choiseul’s Director for Provincial Health William Timba briefs Prime Minister Sogavare and his delegation.

PM Visits Taro Hospital

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and his delegation have taken time to visit the Taro Hospital in Choiseul province.
Hundreds of Taro residents including school children were also at the airport to welcome Prime Minister Sogavare and his delegation.

PM Arrives in Taro for 2nd Appointed Day Celebrations

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has arrived in Taro today to a rousing welcome ahead of the 2nd appointed day celebrations, Thursday this week.
Members of the Solomon Islands alumni of the Emerging Pacific Leaders Dialogue (EPLD) and the Commonwealth Study Conferences (CSC).

Solomon Islands EPLD/CSC Alumni Meet to Strengthen Group

Solomon Islands alumni of the Emerging Pacific Leaders Dialogue (EPLD) and the Commonwealth Study Conferences (CSC) have met to strengthen the group.
He says the risk for transmission of the virus in the reactivation stage is very low and the public need not panic. All six of the new reactivation cases are being kept in isolation units and not the central field hospital as alluded to by members of the public.

Dr Rodgers Explains COVID-19 Reactivation Cases in Solomon Islands

Secretary to the Prime Minister Dr. Rodgers says the country has recorded six additional confirmed cases from the recent Philippines flight. Three of them are Solomon Islands nationals and the other three are overseas residents.
Wendy Hale, one of the best-performing athlete from the Solomon Islands.

Government Services Integration Committee on Pacific Games 2023 Hold First Meeting

The Officials Core Ministerial Committee of the Government Services Integration Committee (GSIC) on Pacific Games 2023, held its first meeting last Friday to review the Ministries preparations and plans for the upcoming Pacific Games 2023.
The Home Affairs Ministry is working to connect with the country’s embassies and missions overseas to enhance the implementation of the dual citizenship program.

First 56 Approved for Dual Citizenship

The Citizenship Commission has approved the first fifty-six successful applications for dual citizenship following the commencement of the Dual Citizenship Act 2018.
“It is senseless to have a list of approved applications that are incomplete, especially the amount approved for funding”, he said.

Wale Demands Clarifications on Economic Stimulus Package (ESP) Payments

Opposition Leader, Hon. Matthew Wale reiterates his call on the Permanent Secretary (PS) of Ministry of Finance and Treasury to clarify and explain the current status of the ESP.
Qoloni says his province is looking forward to hosting guests who will be attending the province’s second appointed day.

Choiseul to Mark Provincial Day in Taro

Choiseul province will commemorate its second appointed day on Thursday 25th February 2021.
Project recipients/farmers will collect their day old chicks, stockfeed and equipment from Vuvula Poultry Limited.

MAL Assists 20 Poultry Farmers

A total of 20 poultry farmers has been supported by the Livestock Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) to boost their farm productivity.
On arrival Jason said he turned to volunteer work to keep himself busy, while he searched for a job. He said despite the setbacks caused by the pandemic he was optimistic about getting a full-time job in 2021.

Recruitment Freeze Big Blow to Recent Graduates

The news that the government has enforced a recruitment freeze for most public service positions has come as a big blow to recent graduates.
He says dental services for the North Malaita region is an important one as people usually only receive these services once the dental team from Kiluúfi makes a visit to the health centre in Maluú.

New Dental Clinic for North Malaita

The people of North Malaita will soon take delivery of a new dental clinic at the Malu’u area health centre.
Some of the specimens collected by BSI officers.

Biosecurity Officers Investigate Alleged Beetle Incursion on Noni

Officers of the Biosecurity Solomon Islands (BSI) within the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) are currently investigating an alleged Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (Oryctes Rhinoceros) attack on Noni plant at Baunasaitonga Noni Farm in East Guadalcanal.
The Opposition Leader goes on to say, “I am concerned that reassignment in this case may only mean the transfer of an entrenched culture of malpractice or corruption in the public service from one point to another."

Wale Calls for Transparency on Allegations Against Reassigned ESP Officer

Leader of the Opposition, Hon Matthew Wale says the government continues to say one thing and do exactly the opposite when it comes to taking a strong stance against malpractice or corruption within the public service.
Jackson Akwasia with his homemade ukulele.

Spreading Music Through a Simple Homemade Ukulele

“Music is the food of love when its played, it heals the human soul when you are sad, makes us forget all our troubles,” the words of the late Lucky Dube.
At the heart of any policy redirection is the need to redirect – which means not just a reallocation of funds or prioritizing spending, but a change in approach.

Rebooting the Local Economy Post COVID-19

Vaccine for the COVID-19 is coming, so perhaps now is the time to start talking about the local economy post COVID-19.
The MASI workshop on ‘leadership development’ targets editors, sub-editors, MASI Board members and senior media practitioners.

MASI Successfully Holds Leadership Session for Senior Media Practitioners

The Media Association of Solomon Islands (MASI) recently hosted a three (3) days session for its members.
“The intention of the government is to have this budget passed within early or before the end of April so that implementation can be done as soon as possible”, Dentana says.

Pandemic and Economic Recovery Top Priority for 2021 Budget

Tackling the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recovery are the priority areas for the national government’s budget for 2021.
“The timing has been good, given current weather conditions, so this has really been good for students,” Mr. Hihiru said.

80 Years Later Tenaru School Switch to Gas

More than 80 years after St. Joseph’s Tenaru national secondary school was first established the need to collect firewood to cook food is now a thing of the past.
UNDP Project Manager Mr. Vardon Hoca emphasized UNDP’s commitment to the partnership with Solomon Islands Government (SIG) and other partners, build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels, thus contributing in the efforts of Solomon Islands authorities in their fight against corruption.

CSOs and UNDP Raise Public Awareness on Anti-corruption

The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) recognizes the role of civil society in combating corruption by calling on governments to increase transparency, improve public access to information and to promote public contributions to the government decision-making process.
He says that such support will enable the company to purchase 75 tonnes of Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) at SBD$24, valued at SBD$1.8m, of which SBD$670,000 will be paid directly to coconut farmers.

Gov’t Injects Additional SBD$150k into Coconut Industry

The Government has signed another agreement with Kokonut Pacific for an injection of a total of SBD150,000 under the Economic Stimulus Package initiative.
Bosamata says following the COVID-19 pandemic the SIG scholarship was not implemented on time, hence the reason why the SIG scholarship will only become effective in the second semester.

Government 2021 Scholarships Effective in Semester Two

Government scholarships for 2021 will not be effective until the second semester of 2021.
The Prime Minister informed the New Zealand High Commissioner that the Government’s two objectives now are to protect citizens of the country and to keep the economy afloat.

NZ High Commissioner Pays Courtesy Visit to PM

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare received a courtesy visit from the New Zealand High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, Her Excellency Georgina Roberts.
"The public is sick and tired of these sorts of reports. State power is conferred by law of the free will of our common people. Leaders and public officers in custody of such powers owe it to our people to abide by the law at all times."

Wale Calls for Investigations into Tubi Scandal

Leader of the Opposition group Hon. Matthew Wale calls on the police to investigate reports implicating the Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Meteorology.
He says if anyone should have a complaint against any of the staff involved in the implementation of the ESP, they should report this to his committee so that they are dealt with.

Finance Officer Moved Because of Discrepancies in Economic Stimulus Package

The Finance Permanent Secretary has revealed that an officer within his ministry has been moved following reports of discrepancies.
Dr Strahan said the two new boats had been delivered in addition to two aluminum fast boats gifted to the RSIPF in 2020, which boosted operations at the western border, including in relation to COVID-19 preparedness.

Australia Delivers RSIPF a Further two Aluminum Fast Boats

The Australian Government has handed over two more new special purpose aluminum fast boats to the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) to assist with patrol and response operations at the western border.
"It is very sad to see people sleeping with drips in their hands outside the outpatient in an open space, and others lying on the bare floor with no proper beddings,” Niko said.

Emergency Ward Needs More Attention

“I arrived at 11pm that night and waited for about four hours for someone to attend to me,” a frustrated Niko said.
The New Zealand High Commissioner says New Zealand will continue to carry on working to enhance the partnership between Solomon Islands and New Zealand.

New Zealand Continues Support to Upgrade Provincial Airports

New Zealand is aiming to complete its long-standing projects in Solomon Islands this year which includes the upgrade of provincial airports.
USP Vice Chancellor Professor Pal Ahluwalia has been deported by the Fijian government over whistleblowing allegations which angered authorities.

Wale Calls on Government to Take Informed Position on USP Saga

Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Matthew Wale has expressed great concern over the ongoing interference of the Fijian government into the operation and affairs of the University of the South Pacific (USP).
Better seed systems for the Solomon Islands! PHAMA Plus has partnered with Kastom Gaden Association to help address food and nutrition security concerns in the country by improving seed distribution and support systems for increased agricultural production.

Better Seed System for Solomon Islands

About 2,000 farming households in the Solomon Islands will now access a stronger seed system following a partnership launch between Kastom Garden Association (KGA) and the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Plus program (PHAMA Plus).
For Jefferey though, it is much more than just keeping one’s culture and traditions alive – it has now become a way of earning much needed income.

“The Art of Living”: How Traditional Skills Help Sustain the Rural Populace

Our traditions and culture are being overwhelmed by modernity, but a lot of people in the rural areas are keeping certain aspects of it alive – not because they are fighting against modernity, but because of necessity.
Sogavare said the aim is to get 40% of the AstraZeneca doses during the 1st quarter of 2021, and the remaining 60% during the second quarter of 2021.

Government Pushes for AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine

The government is preparing for a nationwide vaccination campaign against COVID-19.
The Lord Howe settlement is said to be one of the highest priority hotspot areas targeted by HURCAP as it is located at the river mouth of the Mataniko river and lies 0.5 metres below the current high-water mark.

Work Underway to Help Communities in Honiara Adapt to Natural Hazards

Honiara is a city at risk of natural hazards such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and tropical cyclones due to its location. In more recent times, rapid urbanization is stretching the city’s ability to accommodate the increase of rural-urban migrants moving to Honiara.
Maxwell Ham (R) trying to salvage whatever he could from his farm after the damage caused by the recent weather.

Big Loss for Tilapia Farmer as Wild Weather Passes

A local Tilapia farm in Aruligo North West Guadalcanal has lost more than 7,000 tilapias (Mozambique species) when his hatchery pool was inundated by king tides associated with the recent bad weather.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and Madam Sogavare pay their last respects at the funeral service.

PM Pays Final Tribute to Late Sir Paul Tovua

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has paid his final respects to the late Sir Paul Tovua.
"We are confident that many young and new players will be drawn to the championships this year," the President of the federation Anthony Maelasi says.

National Youth Rapid Chess Championship 2021

Solomon Islands Chess Federation will host the first National Youth Rapid Chess Championship on Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st February 2021.
The Pacific Islands Forum is the region’s premier political and economic policy organisation. Founded in 1971, it comprises 18 members within the Pacific region.

Micronesia Bloc Withdraws From PIFS

The leaders of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Kiribati, Marshall Islands and Nauru say they will follow Palau in withdrawing from the Pacific Islands Forum (PIFS).
Sisiolo said effectively all vacant positions are now unbudgeted for and will be deemed inactive.

Government Enforces Freeze on Public Service Recruitment

Government is putting a freeze on new recruitments into the public service sector effective as of January 1, 2021.
“The proof of the quality of their work is the absence of community transmission of COVID-19. To date almost 9,000 tests had been conducted by the Molecular lab,” he said.

“Molecular Labs of the Highest Standards:” Sogavare

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has assured the public that the standards and quality controls implemented by our molecular laboratory are of the highest standard.
Sir Paul Tovua, as Chairman of the National Peace Council, making a presentation during the Emerging Pacific Leaders’ Dialogue in 2006.

Alumni Mourns Passing of Former Chair

Solomon Islands Alumni members of the Emerging Pacific Leaders Dialogue (EPLD) and the Commonwealth Study Conferences (CSC) are mourning the passing away of one of its senior members Sir Paul Tovua.
He says the latest development means the total cases of positive COVID-19 recorded in the Solomon Islands is now 18.

Sogavare Announces New Positive COVID-19 Case

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has announced this afternoon that there is now a new positive COVID-19 case recorded. The latest case is a student that returned from the Philippines on the 21st of January 2021.
The suspect was arrested on 16 January 2021 and has been placed at the Gizo Police Station Watch House.

17 Year Old Charged With Rape of 13 Year Old Girl

Officers of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) at the Gizo Police Station in the Western province have arrested and charged a 17-year-old male suspect for the alleged rape of a 13-year-old girl at Suanatali Village on Vella la Vella Island between January and December 2020.
Bidding farewell to the Late Paul, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said, “Rest in Peace, Son of Guadalcanal. Rest in peace Giant of Solomon Islands. I salute you. Solomon Islands salute you.”

State Funeral for Late Sir Paul Tovua Finalized

The body of the late Statesman, Sir Paul Joseph Tovua, KCMG, OBE, and CSI, one of the founding fathers of our Nation will be accorded ‘Official Funeral’ on Tuesday 9 February.
Seleso, a first time National MP, took on board with him, working class South Guadalcanal people in Honiara to be a part of his ‘think tank’ committee.

South Guale MP Impresses International Organization for Democracy

The MP for South Guadalcanal will be profiled in a webinar program initiated by the International Republican Institute (IRI).
Whilst on the ground, the Team will also assess the oil leakage from the wreckage of MV Tremax, a sunken vessel at the Lata wharf in 2014.

NDMO Responds to Oil Spill Reports in Temotu Province

The Solomon Islands Government through the National Disaster Management Office, NDMO, has deployed a Multi Sectoral Technical Assessment Team on an oil spill operation in Graciosa Bay in Temotu Province on Friday 05th February 2021.
Seeds confiscated during the operation.

Businesses Comply as they Settle Biosecurity Non-compliance Fines

Six businesses in Honiara has paid their fines of $5000 each to the Biosecurity Solomon Islands of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) for violating the country’s (SI) Biosecurity regulations.
Commissioner Mangau says “The police officer looking after the RSIPF Exhibit Room has been suspended on half pay. But until then, the officer is innocent until proven guilty.”

Police Suspends Officer Over Missing SBD$300,000 One Link Exhibit Money

The Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) Professional Standards Internal Investigation (PSII) is continuing with an investigation into more than $300,000.00 exhibit money that has gone missing from the RSIPF Exhibit Room at the Rove Police Headquarters in Honiara.
"My favourite announcers were Bart Basia, Jeffery Alexander and Modie Nanau. They were my icons back in the days and I always listen to their programs, staying up late sometimes,” Job recalled with a smile.

Dreams Can Come True

“It has always been my dream, to one day be a radio announcer – back in the days that was my only form of entertainment, just listening to the radio,” said Job Rongo’au.
In suspending the jail sentence, Justice Andree Wiltens said Salwai had contributed a lot to the development of Vanuatu during his 18-year parliamentary career.

Vanuatu’s Former Prime Minister Found Guilty of Perjury

Vanuatu's former prime minister, Charles Salawi, has been handed a suspended jail sentence after being found guilty of perjury.
Dr Rodgers has had wealth of experience within the region, having once served as the Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Communities (SPC).

Dr Jimmie Rodgers Misses Out in PIFS Secretary General Election

The Special Secretary to the Prime Minister, Dr Jimmie Rodgers, has missed out in the election of the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS).
“There are some Chinese shops that are selling seeds that are unauthentic or not genuine as they are not sourced from BSI approved suppliers. Even some were found to be selling vegetable seeds with labels on the seed packets that are different from what is actually inside the packets,” Mr. Tsatsia said.

Farmers Urged to Purchase Seeds from Genuine Suppliers

Local farmers and the general public are told to be mindful when purchasing seeds from shops in Honiara as some were found to be selling unauthentic seeds.
The school principal says that such adjustments are necessary to ensure that mitigation measures are practiced inside the school and becomes the new norm.

COVID-19 Safety Measures Kicks in as Schools Resume

Students in most parts of the Solomon Islands have started classes this week. High in the minds of education authorities is the need to maintain and practice COVID-19 safety measures.
Chief Fisheries Aquaculture Officer Wesley Garofe and John Bakeleng Provincial Fisheries Assistant Officer, for Shortland Islands transferring prepared seaweed lines for planting at the farm site at Maliae.

Support for Livelihood Projects in Shortland Islands in the Western Solomon’s

Remote communities in the Shortland Islands and Malaita Outer Islands, who are highly dependent on fisheries and marine resources, have had their normal trading routes impacted by border closures as a result of COVID-19.
Hoca says emphasis must be placed on a free and independent media if the media is to effectively report on corruption.

Free and Independent Media Crucial to Fight Corruption

“The extent to which journalists can assist in detecting corruption depends on whether the media is free and independent”, says UNDP’s Project Manager, Vardon Hoca.
"I want my kids to have a bright future and learn from my struggle."

Taro Farmer Puts Children Through Formal Education

While some are pressuring their MP to pay for their children’s education there are those that work hard to put their children through formal schooling.
“During our search and interview with shop owners it is evident that they have breach the Biosecurity Act 2013 because they do not possess or displayed any permit to import plants and plant product into Solomon Islands," Samuel Hone of the BSI Compliance & Auditing said.

BSI Warns: Imports & Selling of Seeds Without “Import Permit” is Illegal

Biosecurity Solomon Islands (BSI) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) has cautioned companies and individuals that it is illegal to import seeds and sell it in the country without obtaining an ‘import permit’ from the BSI.
“We are pleased to be standing with Solomon Islands in this challenging time. A significant COVID-19 outbreak in the country would put serious strain on the health system,” said Annette Leith, World Bank Resident Representative, Solomon Islands & Vanuatu.

World Bank Commits US$5m for Solomon Islands’ COVID-19 Response

The World Bank has approved a US$5 million emergency project for Solomon Islands to support the country’s COVID-19 preparedness and response while also strengthening critical health systems. The nation-wide project will provide immediate assistance that is designed to complement activities supported by other development partners.
The suspect has been charged for physical abuse and intimidation and will appear today (1 February 2021) at Auki Magistrates’ Court.

40 Year Old Man Arrested for Striking Wife with Firewood

Officers of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) at Auki, Malaita Province have arrested a 40-year-old husband from Aefa’ai Village in North Malaita after striking the forehead of his 30-year-old wife on 13 January 2021.