Tuesday, June 14, 2011

SIBC News, 14 June 2011


The Government calls on Solomon Islanders to ensure consumption spending is maintained based on best and fair prices of goods in the country.

Finance and Treasury Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo made the call at a press conference announcing the appreciation of the Solomon Islands dollar in Honiara last week.

He says the five percent appreciation of the local currency starting today means the growth of the country's import sector must be closely monitored.

He says the government will ensure that the benefits of cheaper imported goods are passed on to all Solomon Islanders.

Mr Lilo says it is also important to ensure consumption spending must remain firm in order to have a healthy economy.

The finance minister adds his ministry will work closely with the price control division under the Ministry of Commerce to ensure those who do not comply with the new development are reported.

Meanwhile Former finance minister and a member of parliament from the Opposition side Manasseh Sogavare says the five percent appreciation of the Solomon Islands dollar will directly affect the government budget.

Speaking to local media today, Mr Sogavare says the strengthening of the country's currency is the government's way to control capital flow into the country.

He questions how the decision will affect the behaviour of capital flow into the country by big companies who want to invest in the country with a very small capital base.

Mr Sogavare says private and official funds from aid donors will also be affected and will directly affect the government budget depending on the response our donors.

The former finance minister urges the attorney general to advise everyone of the effects of the sudden change in government policy especially the legal implications of contracts that have been concluded.


A double-storey classroom block was burnt to the ground at Auki Primary school in the early hours of this morning.

And Premier Edwin Suibaea says his government condemns the arson attack on the school by a few people who think of themselves.

He calls on the people of Auki to cooperate with police to bring those involved to justice.

Premier Suibaea says the action is very serious and paints a negative image of Malaita Province, especially to aid donors who are working so hard to assist the country to rebuild.

The double-storey burnt classroom block was used for classes four, five and six.

Premier Suibaea says the fire also destroyed the schools library building.

Police are investigating the suspected arson incident.


Munda Police in the Western Province arrested a Cesna Air craft with its two expatriate crew this morning after a tip off from Honiara Immigration that the aircraft does not satisfactorily fulfil all aviation clearance obligation.

Brian Beti reports from Munda that the plane which is destined for Bougainville from Papua New Guinea had to stop over at Munda airport to refuel when it was apprehended.

Mr Beti says, Police arrested the two men on board and grounded the plane for investigations and proper clearance.

SIBC News understands that immigration officials travelled to Munda this morning to assist Police in its investigation.


A Makira man has been sentenced to eight years in prison for serious assaults on his wife.

John Tohe pleaded guilty in the Honiara Magistrates Court to two counts of bodily harm and two counts of indecent assault.

He committed all the offences against his wife between April and November 2008.

During these incidents, Tohe assaulted his wife with a coconut trunk, and on another occasion threatened to kill her.

The court heard evidence of serious incidents of indecent assault.

Deputy Chief Magistrate Emma Garo told Mr Tohe that the nature of the assaults are very serious and are uncommon.

She said his actions against his wife are inhuman and disgusting to general principles of humanity.

Magistrate Garo said she takes into account the fact that the accused is a first time offender, has a good character and had pleaded guilty at the first instance.


Solomon Airlines says the change of lease arrangements from Strategic Airlines to Our Airlines will not interrupt it's international services.

A statement from Solomon Airlines says the change of lease became necessary following advise from Strategic Airlines last Friday that one of it's A320 aircraft will be undergoing heavy maintenance check in Asia in the next 5 to 6 weeks.

Solomon Airlines has been leasing an aircraft from Strategic Airlines for its international routes for the past years.

It says Strategic Airlines was looking at maintaining service for Solomon Airlines, but had to apply their remaining aircraft to their own schedules, giving Solomon Airlines no option but to seek support from Our Airlines as an interim solution.

Solomon Airlines spokesperson Gus Kraus says the new arrangement involves a Boeing 737 from Our Airlines which will be operating Solomon Airlines' international routes.

Mr Kraus says although there should be little effect on their schedules, travelling passengers are being reminded to re-check their bookings and reservations three days before travel, just in case there will be any changes.

Meanwhile the spokesman says Solomon Airlines' own A320 is in Melbourne undergoing final preparations but is still not ready as preparatory work and approvals to commit the aircraft to service it's scheduled flights are still to be made.


Fear have continued to grip people residing in the central part of the Marovo lagoon in the Western province in Solomon Islands as they witness the death of marine species and sea creatures daily.

Further reports reaching Solomon Star over the weekend have revealed that other sea creatures such as crocodile, dolphins and other marine species were affected.

A man from central Marovo Loyley Nonga said the sea has turned into a sea of death for most species of marine creatures in the lagoon.

He said the smell is really bad with the sea turning dark as a result.

He also confirmed that a crocodile was found dead yesterday.

He adds every day they saw schools of fishing dying along the seashore.

He estimated that three-quarter of the lagoon is being affected by the problem.

It’s been over a week now since the first sightings and death of schools of fishes in the area.

Rodily Cheka a school teacher from Marovo also speaking to Solomon Star yesterday that incident continue to cause fear in the lagoon.

He said many of the people in the affected area were instructed not to eat the fish upon advice from the health workers.

In Honiara health authorities at the Honiara city council have advised against buying of fish caught from Marovo because of the food poisoning. 

 The head of Australia's overseas spy agency, and former RAMSI special coordinator Nick Warner has been awarded a Queen's birthday honour in recognition for his leadership in intelligence, defence and international relations.

The Canberra Times reports that Mr Warner, who received the award over the weekend, dedicated the honour to his staff, who cannot be named and thanked publicly.

The Australian Secret Intelligence Service, A-S-I-S, Director has been working for the Australian government for the past 30 years.

He has held one of the federal bureaucracy's most senior roles, the Secretary of the Defence Department for 3 years until 2009 when he joined the ASIS.

Mr Warner had previously worked as an international affairs advisor in former Prime Minister John Howard's Office.

Most of his career was spent in the foreign service including stints as an ambassador to Iran, High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea and Special Coordinator to RAMSI, in the Solomon Islands.

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