Latest News Archive April 2021

Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong.

Fiji Records 5 New COVID Cases

5 new COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Fiji while screening continued overnight after confirmation that a garment factory worker from Kalabu is one of the positive cases.
Corruption Index in Solomon Islands remained unchanged at 42 Points in 2020 from 42 Points in 2019. A country or territory’s score indicates the perceived level of public sector corruption on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

Anti-Corruption Commission Rolls Out Recruitment Plan

The newly established Solomon Islands Independent Commission Against Corruption (SIICAC) office is now rolling out its recruitment Plan.
“The people of Wagina in Choiseul Province have been longing to see the ground-breaking for the Wagina Police Station as it is the first of its kind in their community,” Police Commissioner Mangau says.

Police Station Established in Wagina

The Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) was part of the ground-breaking ceremony to start construction of the new police station at Wagina Island in Choiseul Province on 26 April 2021.
“I look around next to me and I realized some people were missing, I took my bag out and just prepared to jump if it got worse. I just held onto the rail and it felt like a long time.”

MV Taimareho Passenger Recalls Tragic Incident

It’s been a year since the MV Taimareho boat tragedy shocked citizens in the country. 27 people died when they were washed overboard when it encountered Cyclone Harold enroute to Malaita.
The team also provided an anthelmintic and antibiotics drugs injections to sick pigs.

MAL Rules Out African Swine Fever (AF) in Death of 21 Pigs at Aola

The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) has confirmed that the death of 21 pigs at Aola, East Central Guadalcanal, was caused by poor pig husbandry and management practices and not the African Swine Fever (ASF).
Choiseul Premier Hon. Watson Qoloni the first to be vaccinated with the vaccine roll out in Choiseul.

Choiseul Province Launches its COVID-19 Vaccination Roll Out

A fun filled COVID-19 vaccination roll out launch was held yesterday at the Taro Hospital, Choiseul Province with the Hon. Premier Watson Qoloni the first to receive vaccination.
"We see Silas as one of those fortunate to have this's a big blow to our family and community as a whole," he said.

Solomon Islander Seasonal Worker in Queensland Dies in Tragic Vehicle Accident

A Solomon Islander seasonal worker in Queensland Australia has died in a tragic vehicle accident.
He said the remaining four, including those still in isolation will continue with their follow-up within the 90 days after their first release into the community.

PM Says Solomon Islands Has Reclaimed its COVID-19 Free Status

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare stated in his nationwide address on Monday this week that the 20th case has now tested negative and will be released after 3 consecutive negative tests.
“While thousands of airlines around the world have gone out of business due to no revenue and grounded aircraft, Solomon Airlines has shown fortitude,” he added.

Solomon Airlines New Chairman Very Confident of National Carrier’s Future

Solomon Airlines newly appointed Chairman Mr Frank Wickham said today he was very confident of a sustainable future for the national carrier, despite financial challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic and closure of international borders.
Prime Minister Sogavare during the launching says the Govt has made significant reforms to construct an inclusive economy for all.

DCGA Government Committed in Building Inclusive Economy

The DCGA Government is committed in building a more equitable and inclusive economy by improving the social and economic livelihoods of all Solomon Islanders.
“This decision meant that our stock of cooking gas in the country was in short supply over the past few days. However, the decision taken by the exemption committee was appropriate to protect our country from a greater threat”, Sogavare says.

Cooking Gas Supply Boat Refused Entry After Positive COVID-19 Cases

The UK-flagged Inge Kosan with 12 confirmed COVID-19 sailors on board were also denied entry into the Solomon Islands.
The main components of the project include construction of a new international departure terminal, construction of a new taxiway and apron, refurbishment of existing infrastructure and installation of new flood control mechanisms and lighting.

International Airport Project Employs 100 Local Workers

The construction phase of the Honiara International Airport expansion project is employing one hundred local workers alongside forty overseas supervisors.
The world is experiencing a new wave of COVID-19 infection that is worse than before.

Sogavare Impose Travel Restrictions From High Risk Countries

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has directed the Government’s Covid-19 Oversight Committee to consider imposing travel restrictions from very high-risk countries in view of the current worsening global covid-19 situation.
Prime Minister Sogavare and members of the MASI executive.

MASI Pays Courtesy Visit to PM Sogavare

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare had a courtesy visit from the Media Association of Solomon Islands (MASI) yesterday.
The BSP main office in Point Cruz, Honiara.

CBSI Condemns Appalling Vandalism of Public Property

The Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI) is appalled by the recent destruction of the Bank of South Pacific (BSP) automatic-teller machines (ATM) in Honiara over the weekend.
As of March 2021, ADB had committed more than USD$750 million, including in cofinancing and technical assistance, to support Pacific countries respond to the pandemic.

ADB Approves USD$18.9 Million for Rollout of COVID-19 Vaccines in the Pacific

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved $18.9 million in grants to help four developing member countries (DMCs) in the Pacific roll out safe and effective vaccines against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“They need to come and sit down and talk with us. Or you go and see what is happening in the constituencies. You will be amazed”, Sogavare said.

Sogavare Take Aim at Transparency Solomon Islands

“People in glass houses must not throw stones,” Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare told parliament.
“The ministry has shared many information and appeal to all our people to support address this but has not been as expected. But we are fighting and will continue to fight,” Minister Filualea said.

Rhinoceros Beetle Fight Not Yet Over: MAL

The fight to control the spread of the deadly Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (CRB) that is threatening the country’s coconut industry and other palms is not yet over says the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) Honorable Senley Levi Filualea.
He says it is regrettable that the five Micronesian countries have decided to withdraw from the forum and says that it was quite a challenge for the leaders in last year’s voting process for the new Secretary General.

Solomon Islands Confident in Political Dialogue to Restore Pacific Unity

Foreign Affairs Minister Jeremiah Manele says Solomon Islands is confident that Pacific relationship with Micronesia will soon be resolved.
Several sources complain that the government was pressured by China to accept the donation of the Sinopharm vaccine well ahead of approval for emergency use by the WHO.

“Vaccine Diplomacy” Pushed in Solomon Islands?

The hastily prepared press statement released by the ministry of health this week shows something is amiss. What the Prime Minister has been saying seems clear, that the Solomon Islands will wait for the approval of the Sinopharm vaccine by the World Health Organization (WHO) before it will be administered to the public.
“With the support of our government to continue special flights under strict COVID-19 safety procedures, the steady income from our international operations has enabled us to keep flying and support continuity of our domestic network operation,” said Colin Sigimanu, Manager Commercial for Solomon Airlines.

250 Seats Now Available for Australia Until Mid-June 2021

Following approval by the Australian Government, Solomon Airlines has confirmed that passenger seats are now available for sale on flights from Honiara to Brisbane every Friday until mid-June 2021.
Prime Minister Sogavare said despite the impacts of the pandemic, work has progressed.

PM Gives Update on PG 2023 Games Facilities

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare says a lot of progress has been made in the planning and construction of the 2023 Pacific Games facilities despite the impacts of COVID-19.
Supervising Premier Hon. Isaac Tatapu ready to receive his vaccination with which was witnessed by (back row from left) MHMS Director Planning Mr. Ivan Ghemu, Health PS Mrs Pauline McNeil and Western Provincial Health Director Dr Dickson Boara.

COVID-19 Vaccine Roll Out Launched in West

Following two weeks of intense COVID-19 vaccine trainings, workshops and awareness by national and western provincial health workers in Gizo, Noro, Munda and Shortland Islands, COVID-19 vaccine roll out was officially launched.
“We are looking at USD50 million to USD60 million for the cost of the project”, Agovaka says.

200 Broadband Tower Project Progresses

Five constituencies are yet to identify sites and locations for broadband towers under the Government’s Telecommunication plan for the 200 broadband tower project.
“Statement made by Health advisor is merely a possibility of rolling out the vaccine in Solomon Islands that can be considered in the event of a community transmission and depending on the epidemiological situation and what the country is trying to achieve,” the MHMS says in a prepared statement.

Ministry of Health Clarifies Statements Made by Health Advisor Regarding Sinopharm

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) says it is aware of concerns raised on social media regarding contradictory statements made by the Prime Minister on his national addresses and health advisor Dr Yogesh Choudhri on the recent Sunday talk back show on SIBC, regarding use or roll out of the Sinopharm Vaccines.
The workers quarters at the new city west of Honiara.

Villagers Concerned with Mamara Tasivarogo Development

Dubbed the “new city” where dreams come true the Mamara Tasivarogo development is slowly taking shape, and so are opinions of people in nearby villages.
The Prime Minister said the Ministry of Health is working with the vessel’s agent to swab and test all the remaining crewmembers.

MV Cheefo Under Strict Quarantine: PM

The cargo vessel (MV Cheefo) that the latest COVID 19 case was detected on-board has now come under strict quarantine.
As of 16th April a total of 3479 within the prioritized groups for vaccination in Honiara have received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Health Ministry Expands Eligibility Criteria for Vaccine Jab

The ministry of health and medical services (MHMS) has expanded its eligibility criteria for the AstraZeneca COVID-19 jab.
“If through consultations the extension of the life of parliament is accepted by the people, then, in my view, it should be implemented during the 12th Parliament. Not during this current 11th parliament”, Kenilorea wrote in his statement.

Extension on Life of Parliament Passed?

The Member of Parliament for East Are’are, Hon. Peter Kenilorea Jr, says secret documents supposedly cabinet papers have shown that a decision on the extension of parliament was already made.
“If you are stuck in traffic sometimes it takes hours, we depend on people coming in and going out of the bus, so when we are stuck, we do not make any money."

Short Bus Route Is Not Our Fault: Bus Conductor

The issue of short bus route has dominated social media for the past few years, so much so that a special select committee was established by Parliament in 2013 to conduct an inquiry into the issue.
Chief Magistrate Emma Garo (far right) with officers from the Ministry of Health deployed for MOI. Team will stop over at Auki to pick up additional officers.

Government Sends Integrated Mission Team to MOI

An integrated (COVID-19 and non COVID-19 related) mission to Malaita Outer Islands (MOI), comprising of officers from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS), Justice and Legal Affairs and the Solomon Islands Police Force is now underway.
Superintendent Satu in a press statement says the driver of the vehicle was taken to Central Police Station watch house, arrested and placed in police custody.

Government Loses Vehicles as Ministers Talk of Minimizing Costs in Parliament

Two government vehicles were caught in separate traffic accidents over the weekend.
NZ High Commissioner, Her Excellency Georgina Roberts hands over keys of the buses to Health PS Mrs. Pauline McNeil.

Health Acquires New Buses for COVID-19 Operations

Management of arrivals into the country in the COVID-19 context has not been cheap.
"With rising infections, understandable fatigue with social restrictions, low levels of immunity among the population and the fragile health system, it's vital that it receives more vaccines as soon as possible."

COVID-19 Outbreak in PNG at 'Critical' Point: WHO

Papua New Guinea's battle with a surging COVID-19 outbreak is at a "critical" stage as health authorities battle a fragile health system, slow and limited testing and vaccine hesitancy.
"Criminality in every form, but especially those that a brazen enough to attack ordinary hard-working people without consideration of their family and lives must be condemned by all of us."

SICCI Condemns Brutal Attack on Business Owner

The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) strongly condemns the brutal attack on a member of the business community this week in the capital, Honiara.
In a recently released statement the National Disaster Council (NDC) says that the Response Plan was developed to step-up government’s capacity to respond to border incursions following the surge of COVID-19 cases in PNG.

Western Broder Response Plan Developed as COVID-19 Cases in PNG Surge

PNG’s National Pandemic Controller Office says as of this week 170 new cases of COVID-19 cases were recorded, bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases in PNG to 8,984. 2 deaths were also recorded during the same period. The Autonomous Region of Bougainville also recorded 2 new COVID-19 cases, bringing their total to 149.
“This attitude is against our village rules and culture. Full loaded vehicles and people just come in anytime they wish, I want this attitude to stop,” Chief Kaulake said.

Tamboko Chief Calls on Betel Nut Buyers to Respect Area

A Chief elder of Tamboko in North West Guadalcanal is calling on betel nut buyers to respect his community.
Hon. Gina explained that when we feel sick we run to health for advice and treatment and this should not be any different when it comes to prevention against sickness and diseases, in this case COVID-19.

Western Province Premier Throws Full Support Behind COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

“When AstraZeneca Vaccine is rolled out in the Shortland Islands Communities, I as the Premier, the leader of Western Province will be the first to receive the vaccine”.
The proposed markets are aimed to minimise overcrowding at the Central Market during the 2023 Pacific Games.

Government Earmarks Alligator Creek for New Market

The Government will build a market facility at the eastern side of Honiara City, Alligator Creek area.
“While the architectural drawing and BOQ will be pursued, talks will continue with potential investors possibly under the SCALE project or through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement,” Mr. Mesepitu stated.

Bonale Pineapple Factory Project Moves Forward

The National Government is progressing ahead with the Bonale Pineapple processing plant in West Kwaio, Malaita province this year with discussions to set up a Cooperative Society Partnership model for parties to the project.
The scene of the crime, body of the young female shop owner taken away by the police forensic team.

Government Denounces Brutal Death of Chinese Shop Owner

The Government has issued a statement denouncing the brutal nature of the death of a female Chinese national in Honiara yesterday and vows to bring the perpetrator(s) to face the full force of law.
Curious onlookers yesterday outside the shop where the body of the Chinese shop owner was discovered.

Police Investigates Suspicious Death of Chinese National in Honiara

Officers in the National Criminal Investigation Department (NCID) of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) together with the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) at the Honiara City Central Police Station are investigating the suspicious death of a 44-year-old female Chinese national in Honiara yesterday.
“COVID-19 is real. It is spreading very quickly across the border. Please, all of you above 18 years old are vaccinated. Protect yourselves, your families, your communities, your province, and your country by being vaccinated,” Sogavare said on Monday.

Sogavare Urges Border Communities to Get Vaccinated

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has repeated his call on people over eighteen years living in border communities to be vaccinated when the Government’s vaccination programme reaches them.
“AstraZeneca vaccine is currently the best protection any of us will have against COVID-19”.

AstraZeneca is Safe and Rollout Will Continue: Sogavare

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said on Monday that the AstraZeneca vaccine which is currently used in the country is safe and rollout will continue.
"It is time the nation builders train and equip young people, they should appreciate every youths of this nation because they are the future builders of this nation."

Youth at Work Rescued Me

Solomon Islands has a youthful population, but with that comes huge challenges for the government.
Crowd gathers outside the scene of the crime.

Chinese Shop Owner Found Dead

A Chinese women was found dead this morning inside her shop at Point Cruz.
He said this is an urgent issue for the Ministry of Agriculture. Maneniaru says food security is very important for the people.

Government Farming Activities to Move to Tenaru

The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock will be using the former Tenaru field experiment station to develop for its farming activities.
“That is to formulate some form of threshold, where certain number of contracts are reserved for indigenous businesses and individuals. This can be done not only for the construction industry but also for suppliers and across all industries,” Mr. Fuo’o, said.

Business Chamber Encourages Local Content in Big Infrastructure Spending

The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) encourages the Government and relevant authorities to ensure there is sufficient local content included in the billion-dollar worth of infrastructure projects that are planned for the next five years to enable the economic benefit to remain inside Solomon Islands.
To date there have been close to 8,000 confirmed victims of the virus and 68 deaths in PNG.

More Australian Aid for PNG Covid-19 Fight

The Australian Government is providing additional aid to help Papua New Guinea's response to Covid-19.
“The Ministry has put conditions that the vaccine will only be rolled out or distributed in the country, upon approval from WHO and the Emergency Used Listing (EUL)," Permanent Secretary in the Health Ministry, Pauline McNeil says.

China’s Sinopharm Vaccine Arrives

50,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine arrived in Honiara Sunday night from the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The Sinopharm vaccine is yet to be approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), government says it will be closely monitoring the approval process by WHO.
The government strongly believes that inclusive growth will lead to the alleviation of poverty and reduction in income inequality in the country.

SBD$342 Million Allocated for Rural Development

The Government’s Constituency Development Programme has received increased budgetary support in this year’s national budget with an allocation of SB$342 million including a SB$90 million injection from the People’s Republic of China.
Sir David, on behalf of the Government and People of Solomon Islands conveyed deepest condolences to Her Majesty the Queen and members of the Royal Family during this sad time.

Governor General Formally Announces Death of Prince Philip

The Governor General, His Excellency Sir David Vunagi has formally announced the death of His Royal Highness, Prince Philip in a broadcasted message on Saturday.
Group discussion session on differences between Gender and Sex.

Aspiring Youth to Reduce Conflict and Build Sustainable Peace

Since March 19, the UN Development Programme in Solomon Islands, in cooperation with the Government of Solomon Islands and the International Labor Organization (ILO), is delivering a one-month training leadership in peacebuilding programme for youths in the Weather Coast of South Guadalcanal.
The CEO of DBSI Tukana Borovo (centre) with two other senior managers appearing before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

PAC Calls For An Independent DBSI Board

The public accounts committee (PAC) has presented its report to parliament, with one of the key recommendations being the need to have an independent DBSI board.
The police are appealing to members of the public living near and around the area to come forward with any information that may help police with their investigation.

Police Investigates Suspicious Death of a Chinese National in Honiara

Police at the Naha Police Station are investigating the suspicious death of a Chinese national inside the compound of the Top Timber Company at Ranadi. The deceased was discovered inside his apartment on the early hours of Tuesday 6th April 2021.
The CEO urges all eligible voter to check the electoral notices at polling venue for detailed information on the polling day, voting procedures, campaign offenses and penalties, and most importantly to confirm that their names are on the voter list before the Election Day.

Six Candidates Nominated for South Choiseul By-Election

Six Candidates nominated to contest in the upcoming poll for South Choiseul National By-Election on the 19th May, 2021.
Launching the Strategy, Hon. Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama said the document is a key influencer for the shared prosperity and security of Blue Pacific, mirroring the Paris Agreement processes and aligning with the sustainable development agendas of the Pacific island countries.

The NDC Hub Launches 10-year Strategy for Climate Action in the Pacific

Laying out the game plan for Pacific climate action through its Nationally Determined Contributions for the next decade, the long-term strategy of the Regional Pacific NDC Hub was officially launched by the Chair of the Pacific Small Island Developing States, and Fijian Prime Minister Hon Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama in Suva today.
The Island’s remoteness and lack of communication facilities and police presence to look after the border is a concern to leaders and people of the island.

Sikaiana Reports Increased Number of Influenza-like illnesses

There is an increased number of influenza-like illnesses in Sikaiana.
The government also agreed to review the current tax regime on mineral exports in 2021 with the intention to impose export duty on the exports of mineral products.

Government Approves New Tax Measures to Boost Revenue

Revenue collection this year is expected to improve following the government approval of a number of measures to bolster revenue intake in 2021.
“It is our hope that COVID-19 vaccination will start rolling out in Western Province as early as next Monday, 12th April 2021 to be followed closely by the roll out in Choiseul province and then Malaita outer Islands”, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare says in his most recent statement on Tuesday 6th April.

Despite Slow Start Vaccination Rollout Program Continues

2,651 individuals have been vaccinated in Honiara since the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccination program.
Virivolomo clarified that while Facebook has its own internal policies to deal with such fake accounts it is important that the government develop its own policies.

Facebook Working with Government to Monitor Fake Accounts

The Ministry of Communication and Aviation (MCA) has confirmed that the government is currently working with Social Media tech giant Facebook to explore ways to better monitor fake accounts.
The signing of the partnership between Kastom Garden Association (KGA) and Oxfam is part of the Australian Humanitarian Partnership (AHP) COVID-19 response. Pictured are Oxfam Solomon Islands Country Coordinator Richard Sakiri (left), Oxfam Humanitarian Coordinator Nicholas Suava (centre) and KGA Chairman Frank Tabai.

Oxfam and Kastom Gaden Join Forces in Australian Humanitarian Partnership (AHP) COVID-19 Livelihood Response

Oxfam in the Pacific and Kastom Gaden Association on Thursday signed a formal partnership that will support Australia’s humanitarian response to livelihood and economic shocks of COVID-19.
"Any MOU between the churches and the government must protect this arms-length relationship and the prophetic voice role of the church,” added Hon. Wale.

Prophetic Voice of Churches Must Not Be Compromised: Wale

Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Matthew Wale reminded SICA and SIFGA to ensure that churches maintain a strong prophetic voice to the government and the nation.

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