20 July 2019
Solomon Water urges the government to help address the problem of water cuts
At the conclusion of the water forum held in Honiara on Thursday last week, the ongoing water cuts in Honiara were blamed on loggers operating in the Kongulai catchment area.
Ian Kaukui writing in the Solomon Star newspaper said:
“Solomon Water Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ian Gooden said the loggers failed to comply with their licence when they moved and operated within the catchment area.
“Mr. Gooden said development consent granted to Tabilo Timber Saw milling clearly stated they must not enter the water catchment areas.
“The logging operations have resulted in murky water every time the rain falls in the Konglai water source area.
“Mr. Gooden said Solomon Water was left with no option but to shut down its Kongulai source to protect its system when there’s heavy rain.
“We cannot releases sediments that will block our pipes, meters, equipment and that of our customers because it might spoil water appliances,” he explained.
“He added they have to do this because the water is unpleasant to drink and even to use for washing when it’s dirty.
“So with sediment in the supply and no water treatment plant available, the only thing we can do is shutdown the water.”
“Mr. Gooden explained the problem is a crises and a historic one for Solomon Water because they usually have up to 8 days shutdown per year but now they have 7 days plus per month, especially since mid 2018.”
“He said the wish is for the national government to step in and help address the situation.
“He urged all water users to help push for the government, through the responsible authorities, to act now given the nature of the problem.
“Those who spoke at the forum urged the Ministry of Forestry and Research to cancel the logging licence they issued for the area.”
Source: Solomon Star News.
20 July 2019
The practice of saluting the national flag a patriotic duty as a sign of pride, unity and love of the Solomon Islands
I was pleased to read a report, today, that the Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, together with the staff of his office, saluted the raising of the national flag one morning last week and has called on every ministry, school and provincial governments to follow suit, as was the practice in the past.
Indeed many years ago, I attended a flag raising ceremony at St John’s school in Honiara and felt honoured to have been present.
Only last week I wrote:
“Let, therefore, the spirit of the Pacific Games, the team-ship, comradeship and prowess on the field transcend into growing national pride and identity at home.”
The national flag of the Solomon Islands symbolises the spirit of patriotism and pride, unity and love for the nation.
It was under that flag the nation attained independence and starting building its future.
Under the flag lies the symbol of unity for all communities while striving towards building a united Solomon Islands nation in which the future lies.
The daily saluting and honouring the flag is therefore important and a simple pledge that might be recited at such a ceremony could be:
We, the citizens of the Solomon Islands, pledge ourselves as one united people,
regardless of our various cultures, languages or religion,
to build a democratic society
based on justice and equality
so as to achieve happiness, prosperity
and progress for our nation.
19 July 2019
Pacific countries targeting the niche Chinese tourists market.
Quoting Radio New Zealand.
“Twenty-three tourism operators from seven Pacific countries recently returned from a ten-day training trip to China.
“It was under the guise of the China Pacific Tourism Year, part of China's Belt & Road initiative.
“Delegates from Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu participated in the tour funded by China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Guangdong Province and the Jinan University.
“The head of the South Pacific Tourism Organisation, Chris Cocker, said the visit helped Pacific tour operators learn more about the Chinese market.
"The Pacific is more suitable for niche tourism from the Chinese market. The groups and also mass tourism has no place in the Pacific region, and that was a good understanding.
"A lot of it comes down to education and increasing of awareness of them understanding more of the Chinese tourists. And also, how to prepare for them."
“Mr Cocker said the Pacific is likely to target Chinese honeymooners, divers and people interested in culture.
“He said Chinese visitors made up over five percent of the overall 2.1 million air visitors to the Pacific region last year and it is important to focus on emerging markets.”
Copyright @ 2019, Radio New Zealand.
19 July 2019
Solomon Islands: Rural growth - setbacks and a possible option.
Most recently the Hon. Prime Minister, Manneseh Sogavara, spoke about his disappointment at the lack of developments in the country since independence was attained in 1978 and his comments focused my thoughts on rural growth.
I recall, perhaps 10 years ago, reading a government paper saying rural growth in the short to medium term would have to come from the rural economy.
The same paper mentioned the country’s size, fragmentation, and relative isolation from world markets and the low level of industrial skills of the workforce would make it unlikely that export-oriented manufacturing could be the mainstay of growth in incomes for the rural population.
It was mentioned the country had a potential in agricultural production for the domestic and export markets and for some downstream processing.
Over the next few years I then read of what were termed ‘Urban Growth Centres’ and later ‘Free Economic Zones,’ polices that promised to generate jobs, income and an improvement in the livelihoods of rural people, but the promise of such develops has not materialized.
I have to ask myself how have things changed for rural people and the “potential in agricultural production,” since the onset of climate change and a perceived lack of private sector investment in agriculture? I suspect little.
Actually, I was a little surprised when the concept of ‘Free Economic Zones’ was introduced bearing in mind what had been said about the unlikelihood of export-oriented manufacturing could be the mainstay of growth but wanted such developments to succeed.
The rural economy is based upon the production and marketing of a small number of commodities—food crops and fresh fruit, coconut, cocoa, timber, fish, marine products and oil palm.
Log exports are finite and already the forest reserves almost depleted from over-logging and the latest huge export of round logs from Malaita will have done nothing to help the dwindling forests.
The widespread damage to coconut trees and plantations by the rhinoceros beetle must have resulted in depleted coconut exports.
There is concern, too, over depleting fishing stocks heightened by over-fishing, warming seas and pollution.
In 2002, there was talk of possible large scale export of cassava to the Canadian market, but there were then certain barriers to overcome in terms of quality control before gaining access to the lucrative Canadian market.
It was proposed that the government set up its own testing facilities to ensure that cassava and other root crops would meet the requirements and qualify for Canada and other markets.
Did anything eventuate?
Two letters I wrote recently referred to the establishment of a business economic zone being pursued by the Vanuatu government on the island of Santo and intended to provide local employment for up to 8000 people.
The other letter, referred to a village in Samoa where the customary land owners had opted to lease some of their land for a fruit farming business and were reaping the financial rewards as a monthly income.
Both these letters attracted some interest, both on Facebook, my website and on Linkedin.
It occurred to me that both ideas could have some merit, if only on a trial basis, an economic zone could be introduced with the cooperation of landowners, private enterprise, investors and with government backing.
If such a venture did take off and prove successful it could be the opening that is needed to see some positive improvement in rural growth.
19 July 2019
The Solomon Islands will receive the PGC flag tomorrow at the Closing Ceremony of the 16th Pacific Games in Samoa
Quoting an article written by Michael Pratt, Inside the Games.
“The Pacific Games Council (PGC) are positive about the progress being made by Solomon Islands 2023 as they prepare to stage the next edition of the Pacific Games, but admit organizers have a key year as they seek to finalize venue plans and funding.
“Solomon Islands 2023 will receive the PGC flag tomorrow from the Samoa 2019 at the Closing Ceremony of the 16th Pacific Games.
“Attention will then firmly turn toward the Solomon Islands’ preparations, with the country set to host the event for the first time.
“The Games will take place in the capital city Honiara.
“PGC chief executive Andrew Minogue said organisers find themselves in a different situation to Samoa 2019, where many venues were existing after previous Pacific Games and the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games.
“They [Solomon Islands] have to build a lot of their facilities from scratch,” Minogue told insidethegames.
“They have some facilities, but not a lot.
“They are on a countdown really over the next year to get the funding secured and get donor agencies who are going to provide it, and get the venue plans secured.
“If they can do that there are schools, colleges and universities there, the athletes will be able to be accommodated.
“It is not a big place, so getting around there will not be difficult.
“They have some tourism due to diving and snorkelling.
“For us it is about the venues, if they get the venues it will be okay.”
“Solomon Islands 2023 last week signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Fu Tsu construction company over the development of the National Stadium.
“The agreement built on a similar MoU signed in March which confirmed funding from Taiwan and Fu Tsu's involvement in designing and constructing the National Stadium.
“Under the terms of the first agreement, it was confirmed Fu Tsu would be responsible for the design of an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) standard venue.
“The facility will have a maximum capacity of 12,000 people, which is deemed to make it suitable for the Games while ensuring easy maintenance.
“The swimming pool for the Games is the next key venue organisers will have to confirm plans for, along with tennis courts.
“At the moment it is looking fairly positive, with Taiwan acting as their donor and committing to build the main stadium,” Minogue said.
“This would have the athletics, ceremonies and football.
“It will be a synthetic pitch as football is their national sport.
“I think for maintenance and having a pitch they can use for a long time, day and night, they are going with the synthetic pitch.
“We will take some of the throwing events next door when the athletics is run there.
“There are a couple of existing halls and an existing football complex, so we can run football at two sites.
“The big ones that have to be done are the pool, a couple of indoor facilities and tennis courts.
“There is quite a bit left to be done.”
“Solomon Islands 2023 claimed last week they were hopeful of having agreements secured in the next six months, which would enable construction work to get underway.
“Organizers expressed their hope the venues would be completed in 2022, enabling athletes to begin using facilities in final countdown to the Games.
“The Games will feature 24 sports, with the PGC having introduced a gap from the 2023 event onwards.
“This will see a reduction of two sports from Samoa 2019.
“The compulsory sports include athletics, basketball, boxing, football, golf, judo, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis and triathlon.
“Rugby sevens, sailing, swimming, volleyball - both indoor and beach - weightlifting and Va’a – a canoeing discipline – are also compulsory.
“Eight optional sports will also feature.”