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Береговой наблюдатель с Гуадалканала со своими подчиненными из туземной полиции

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Береговой наблюдатель с Гуадалканала Мартин Клеменс (Warren Frederick Martin Clemens, в шляпе), капитан Сил обороны протектората Британские Соломоновы острова (British Solomon Islands Protectorate Defence Force), со своими подчиненными из полицейской службы Соломоновых островов. Во время битвы за Гуадалканал (август 1942—февраль 1943) он снабжал силы союзников разведданными. Береговые наблюдатели (Coastwatchers) — подразделение военной разведки союзников в период Второй мировой войны, действовавшее на удалённых островах Тихого океана. Также известно под названиями «Организация берегового наблюдения» (англ. Coast Watch Organisation), «Объединённая полевая разведка» (Combined Field Intelligence Service), «Отделение «C» военной разведки союзников» (Section «C» Allied Intelligence Bureau). В задачи береговых наблюдателей входило отслеживать передвижение войск противника и спасать потерпевших бедствие военнослужащих армии союзников. Эти формирования сыграли значимую роль на Тихоокеанском театре военных действий, став системой раннего оповещения в ходе кампании на Гуадалканале.
          

New bishop for Temotu to be elected

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New bishop for Temotu to be elected

THE Diocesan Electoral Board of the Diocese of Temotu (DOT) in the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACOM) will elect a new and sixth Bishop for DOT tomorrow.

The election will be held at the headquarters’ of the Community of the Sisters of the Church, East of Honiara, a media statement from ACOM said.

The election will be preceded by a retreat today by Retired Archbishop Emeritus of the Roman Catholic Church of Solomon Islands, Archbishop Adrian Smith.  

According to Article 13 of the ACoM Constitution, Canon and standing resolutions of (ACOM); ten persons (five ordained and one alternate, and five lay persons and one alternate elected by the Diocesan synod of the Diocese which requires the new Bishop and six persons (three ordained and one alternate, and three lay and one alternate) elected by the General synod will do the election.

All members of this Electoral Board are eligible to nominate candidates for this role at the time of the meeting.  

Candidates must be ordained persons and over 29 years old but under the age of 60 on the date of their consecration.

The new bishop of Temotu will succeed the Most Reverend Leonard Dawea who was enthroned and installed as the 7th Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia on the 15th September.

Church members are urged to uphold the members of the Diocesan Electoral Board in prayers as they seek the mind of God in electing the  next person to lead the Church in the Diocese of Temotu.

 


          

AMENDMENTS 1 - 4 - Draft opinion on the draft Council decision on the accession of Solomon Islands to the Interim Partnership Agreement between the European Community, of the one part, and the Pacific States, of the other part - PE644.765v02-00

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AMENDMENTS 1 - 4 - Draft opinion on the draft Council decision on the accession of Solomon Islands to the Interim Partnership Agreement between the European Community, of the one part, and the Pacific States, of the other part
Committee on Development
Michèle Rivasi

Source : © European Union, 2019 - EP
          

The Pacific Community launches new information tools on sustainable fishing practices

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The Pacific Community launches new information tools on sustainable fishing practices camillem Thu, 11/28/2019 - 21:23

The Pacific Community (SPC) in partnership with the European Union (EU) is launching today a series of animated videos targeting the fishers, the schools and the general public with the objective of raising awareness on sustainable fishing practices.

The series, called “Fisher’s Tales” aims at disseminating informative and educational toolkits amongst coastal communities from the Pacific region and includes short animated videos compatible with mass media and social networks. The videos will provide information on the habitat, nutrition and behaviour of key marine species, including sea cucumber, as well as advice on how to use these resources in a sustainable way.

The series will be adapted into local languages and disseminated across the 15 beneficiary countries* that are part of the EU-Funded Pacific-European Union Marine Partnership (PEUMP) Programme. Funded by the EU and the Government of Sweden, the EUR 45 million PEUMP programme promotes sustainable management and sound ocean governance for food security and economic growth, while addressing climate change resilience and conservation of marine biodiversity. It follows a comprehensive approach, integrating issues related to oceanic fisheries, coastal fisheries, community development, marine conservation and capacity building under one single regional action.

The Pacific Community has long been supporting its member countries in deploying Community-based Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management. This approach aims at equipping communities with technical information and advice on the fish species and habitats upon which they rely for food security and livelihoods. The overall objective is to see local communities taking a leading role in sustainable management of fisheries resources.

The Head of Cooperation at the Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific, Christoph Wagner said, “In line with the regional strategy, the New Song for Coastal Fisheries – Pathway to Change, the EU has enhanced its focus and financial commitment to support coastal fisheries management. Raising awareness on sustainable fishing practices is a crucial step to promote productive and healthy ecosystems and fish stocks that ultimately contribute to improving wellbeing of coastal communities''.

 “The Pacific Community and its partners are putting emphasis on developing information tools specifically targeting communities, in line with guidelines and policies endorsed by the Pacific-African Caribbean Pacific (Pacific-ACP) countries.” said Neville Smith, Director of the Fisheries Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems Division of the Pacific Community. 

*Pacific-ACP states that are part of the Pacific-European Union Marine Partnership (PEUMP) Programme are the Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, Tonga, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste and Vanuatu.

Useful link:
To watch the first videos of the series.

Media contacts:
Toky Rasoloarimanana, Communications Officer, Fisheries Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems (FAME) Division, Pacific Community (SPC) | TokyR@spc.int or Tel: +687  89 93 94
Céline Muron, Coastal and Community Fisheries Information and Outreach Officer, PEUMP Programme, Pacific Community (SPC) | CelineM@spc.int

About the Pacific Community Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems Division:
The Regional Fisheries response have been part of SPC mandate for almost seventy years. The SPC Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems Division leads fisheries science and technical expertise in the Pacific region and supports the 22 Pacific Island countries and territories in oceanic fisheries, coastal fisheries and aquaculture. We are working in an area covering 28.2 million km² of ocean, with the support of over 35 international partners.

About the Pacific-European Union Marine Partnership Programme (PEUMP):
The Pacific-European Union Marine Partnership (PEUMP) Programme addresses some of the most serious challenges faced by Pacific countries. Among these are the increasing depletion of coastal fisheries resources; the threats to marine biodiversity, including negative impacts of climate change and disasters; the uneven contribution of oceanic fisheries to national economic development; the need for improved education and training; and the need to mainstream a rights-based approach and to promote greater recognition of gender issues to ensure inclusiveness and positive changes for Pacific island people.  The five-year PEUMP programme is funded by the European Union (EUR 35 million) and the government of Sweden (EUR 10 million). It is implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC), the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the University of the South Pacific (USP) in close collaboration with Non-Government Organisations and the national authorities.

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RSIPF investigates attack on home of MP for North Malaita

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Two of the vehicles damaged during the attack.


Investigators of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) at the Naha Police Station are investigating an attack on the home of the Member of Parliament (MP) for North Malaita who is residing in East Honiara.

Provincial Police Commander (PPC) of Honiara City, Chief Superintendent Stanley Riolo says, “My investigators are investigating the incident and the attack which happened last Saturday 30 November 2019. It is alleged the attack was carried out by seven men who entered the private residence of the MP at Kombivatu, East Honiara and badly damaged three of the MP’s private vehicles. The motive of the attack is not known.”

“The value of the damages to the MP’s vehicles is estimated at between $250,000.00 and $300,000.00.”

“The seven suspects have been identified and police officers are in the process of locating the suspects for questioning. I appeal to the suspects to surrender to my officers at Naha Police Station. I do not want to name them but ask them to come forward as there is no reason to hide from police,” PPC Riolo explains.

“The attack put in danger the life of the MP and members of his family as the suspects allegedly threw stones onto the residence of the MP. Such an act must be condemned in the strongest term as it is against the safety and peace of a citizen of this country.”

Members of the public who may have witnessed the incident are urged to provide information to the police to assist them with the investigation into this sad incident. 

Naha Police Station can be contacted on the following phones:  39647, 39608 and 38721.

- Police Media

 


          

Suidani lauds govt for listing Bina Harbour 

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Premier Daniel Suidani.


Malaita Province Premier Daniel Suidani has applauded the national government for making the Bina Harbour Tuna processing plant project a top priority in its 2020 budget.

Mr Suidani stated this is a press release after Minister for Finance and Treasury Harry Kuma announced the priority projects for 2020.

Mr Kuma in his 2020 budget speech highlighted that Bina Harbour project and other key Malaita project which placed sixth priority project will be seriously implemented by the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA) government in 2020.

Mr Suidani stated the announcement is welcoming news for the people of Malaita province.

“I must thank the national government for its support toward the project.

“My government the MARA government as outlined in point 3 of the 6 points I have announced will work in support of current national projects underway in the province including this Bina Harbour project.

“My people need this development since we have been waiting for a very long time, we do not want to be told of something that may end up not materialised.”

“It is a known fact that the New Zealand Government have been helping out with the Bina project and that other donors including Australia, IFC and USA are also showing support to the project.”

“This is good news to the most populated province of Solomon Islands. It is understood that the proposed facility would process 26,950MT of fish annually and employed more than 2000 people. 

“As expected, this project will be complemented with a large commercial wharf suited to international export shipping as well as the significant fuel bankerage for the supply of fuel to the fishing vessels. The spin off from the project would surely bring development to Malaita province.” Premier Suidani said.

By SOLOMON LOFANA 
In Auki

 


          

Miss Solomon Islands 1st runner up

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Miss Solomon Islands Gladys Habu in her traditionally inspired attire.


Miss Solomon Islands Gladys Habu came second at last week’s Miss Pacific Islands (MPIP) show held in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea that concluded over the weekend.

Despite not being able to bring the crown home Ms Habu won Solomon Island's highest placement ever at the Miss Pacific Islands Pageant having placed as 1st runner up at this year's Pageant MPIP and that is a huge achievement for the Solomon Islands, it was highlighted.

Being the 1st runner up in this year’s show was the highest placement for Solomon Islands contestants contesting in the MPIP and it shows that Solomon Islands have been improving a lot at the Miss Pacific Islands Pageant; they've placed 4 times this decade, 3rd runner up in 2013, 4th runner up in 2015 and 2nd runner Up in 2016.

Miss Solomon also scooped the best float and best talent award in this year’s MPIP show.

Miss SI Pageant Director Joyce Konofilia congratulated Miss Habu and thanked her brilliant and outstanding performance in this year’s MPIP show.

“To our beautiful Gladys our queen of hearts back home and here, I am so proud of you, your performance is just way beyond par and consistent all throughout.

“You are naturally beautiful and talented, not just a pretty face but an all-rounder through and through. You are truly a fitting ambassador for our country, we love you I am thankful to you and your parents and siblings for allowing us being part of your life in this platform,’’ she said in her facebook page post yesterday.

Ms Konofilia also thanked all the sponsors, families and supporters for the consistent support rendered towards the team Solomon Islands during the Miss Pacific Islands show. 

“I wish to take this opportunity to thank our main sponsors Coral Seas Resort and SI Ports Authority for all the support rendered to team SI without your support we would not have made it.

“I also acknowledge the Habu family especially Lucy and Dennis and your beautiful Sabrina for all the efforts in doing the final touches to our contemporary wear, doing the beautiful crown, sash and being there to help with the float.

“Thank you Dennis for being a father to the team, your leadership was a driving force to ensuring the float was done accordingly with no faults. 

“Thank you Sabrina for being our assistant chaperon you rock! Thank you Jacqueline Habu for being with our queen and providing the motherly care she needed.

“Thank you Masi Pioh as Miss SI head chaperon and Marylyn Bae for being the wonder woman designer and dressmaker for all the hard work i appreciate all your effort. You proved your worth as reflected in the beautiful dresses Miss SI showcased during the pageant.

“Thank you to one and only Dan Dãñzõ Kakadi for capturing and promoting Miss SI extensively throughout both MSIP and MPIP pages. You make it happen for our team in keeping our people back home in the loop,’’ she said.

She also thanked the Solomon Islands community in PNG for their great support and hospitality rendered towards the team Solomon during the show in PNG.

“To the Solomon Islands community in POM thank you so much to the SI High Commissioner HE Barnabas Anga and good wife, Counsellor Atkin and good wife Salome Atkin and family for your great sense of hospitality, for accommodating our Havulei youth and allowing us to use your facilities.

“To the Havulei youth, Aunty Hazel and Rhian, Jacinter and Isabel community back home, thank you all so much for being the main reason we won the float category your hard work is appreciated and respected.

“To my loving people back home, here and abroad I want to say a big thank you from the bottom of my heart, thanks for taking time to follow our journey, for voting, for positive and uplifting comments for our queen. You all are appreciated,’’ said Ms. Konofilia. 

She also acknowledged the Solomon Host team for organizing the Miss Solomon Islands Pageant every year.

By BRYAN LUVENA

 


          

Customs receive mobile X-Ray scanner

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Customs and ports officers inspecting the mobile x-ray scanning equipment.


THE Customs Division of the Ministry of Finance and Treasury (MoFT) will now be able to non-intrusively inspect cargo imports and exports to detect cargo assessed as “high risk” at Honiara International port with a newly received mobile x-ray scanner recently.

The new technology will assist Customs to better implement their mandate to enforce border protection and undertake efficient and timely revenue collection on behalf of Solomon Islands Government whilst facilitating legitimate trade yet ensuring compliance with Customs law.

With the new mobile x-ray scanner, cargoes will be scanned and identified through Customs assessed intelligence by the Risk Management team.  

The types of goods of interest to Customs include: those that breaches international supply chain security, detection of prohibited goods like weapons, munitions, illicit narcotics, and identification of undeclared and smuggled goods that evade revenue assessment, such as smuggled tobacco, and mis-declared goods (fine example is kwila logs being described as sawn timber) etc.

The time delay to trade in the release of their goods will be minimal, as the technology enables unobtrusive examination in a matter of minutes, as opposed to current manual examination measured in hours or sometimes days. 

The results of the scan will enable officers to decide if the container should be diverted for further physical inspection from an initial interpretation of the x-ray color coded images or released. 

In order to keep the cost of doing business to traders as low as possible, under International Customs and World Trade Organisation law, scanning process fees, if any, can only be passed on at the cost incurred in providing the service.

Customs Officers will commence training in the use of the equipment next week and the machine will then become operational.

Customs are also empowered to administer the World Customs Organisation (WCO) SAFE Framework on the movement of goods through the international security supply chain. They possess the legal mandate to enforce border protection, provide industry assistance and undertake revenue collection on behalf of the government.

International Customs law is necessarily strict and customs have the obligation to facilitate legitimate trade but will enforce compliance with Customs laws through the use of targeted intelligence and risk assessment.

 


          

SICCI new BEA Award inaugural winner is Police Commissioner for contribution to private sector

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(Left to right) SICCI CEO, Ms Atenasi Ata; Outgoing Police Commissioner, Mathew Varley with his Certificate of Appreciation and SICCI Board Member, Sir Bruce Saunders.


The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) announces the inaugural winner of a new award for its annual Business Excellence Awards (BEA). 

As part of the awards given out at the Business Excellence Awards events, the SICCI Board has developed a new award that is for the most valued partner to the Chamber.

Police Commissioner Mathew Varley is the inaugural recipient of this award. It is in recognition of Mr Varley’s tremendous service rendered to the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) in the last three years and his commitment in engaging with the private sector in the country. 

Long-time SICCI Board member, Sir Bruce Saunders said this award is for the most valuable Chamber partner and is a Board decision not like the other awards which are chosen by a panel of judges.

“The award goes to the individual that the SICCI Board decides is to be recognized for his or her contribution to private sector development in the country. 

“The Board appreciates the Commissioner of RSIPF for his engagement and open communication at all the Executive Group meetings under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with the Chamber in 2018,” Sir Bruce said.

He added: “The Board especially valued the organized approach that the RSIPF took under Mr Varley’s leadership during the national elections earlier this year, and then the election of the Prime Minister afterwards.”

Sir Bruce, on behalf of the Chamber’s members of the private sector, thanked Mr Varley for his service to the Solomon Islands and for his part continuing the development of the RSIPF into a police force that is responsive, professional and most importantly, instils confidence in citizens of the RSIPF institution.

“Special mention must be made to Mr Varley’s approach in ensuring that businesses remained important stakeholders in all his communication efforts,” he said.

A special meeting was organized on Thursday 28th November at the Commissioner’s office at the Police Headquarters in Rove, west of Honiara, where SICCI Board Member Sir Bruce, and CEO Atenasi Ata, presented Mr Varley his Certificate of Appreciation as the recipient of the BEA award.

Mr Varley will not be able to be present at the BEA event on Saturday 30th November since he will be leaving the country the same day. 

A short video was captured where Mr Varley made a short address to the local business community and will be played on the screen during the BEA on Saturday.

“To the Board, Membership and Executive of the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and to all the members of the business community in the Solomon Islands, I’m very honoured to receive this award and to recognize the partnership that exists between the RSIPF and the business community here in the Solomon Islands.

“I’m very humbled to be your Commissioner of Police for the last three years and it has been indeed the greatest professional privilege of my life,” Mr Varley said.

“The time has come to go home, but before I do that, I wanted to say thank you to the community for your support and also recognizing too there is also an important partnership between business and police,” he added.

He said the role of the police is to provide the safety and security for the community to prosper, and likewise, the business community has an important role in economic development of this country.

“I’m sure with greater partnership between business and police into the future, the young people of Solomon Islands have a bright future of continued support and opportunities for employment and prosperity for the community more broadly.

“I wish you and Solomon Islands all the very best for a successful and prosperous future,” he said.

SICCI, as the peak body representing the private sector and business community in the Solomon Islands, wishes Mr Varley the best on his future endeavours.

-SICCI Media

 

 


          

UNDP and stakeholders validate Schools Re-thinking Plastic Initiative final report

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A Koloale student buying food served in a stainless steel bowl in Week 13.


THE United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), relevant national stakeholders and representatives from five schools in Honiara took part in the final validation workshop within the “Schools Re-thinking Plastic Initiative”, in Honiara on Tuesday 26th November 2019.

Koloale, Florence Young, Emmaus, St Nicholas, and Honiara High School have been part of an experiment which applied behavioural insights methods. For 13 weeks, starting in late July, two schemes were introduced in schools during lunchtimes to reduce single-use plastic:  Deposit Return and Discount Schemes.  The Solomon Islands National University (SINU) students were also actively engaged in collecting data and analysis arising from this test trial. 

Results of this experiment are interesting and promising: for instance, the Deposit Return scheme showed that most students brought back the reusable containers after finishing food to collect a small deposit back from the vendors. The Discount Scheme was most successful amongst kindergarten and primary school students, while among the secondary school students, it was seen as “not cool” to bring a lunch box from home. 

Coping with the increasing use of single plastic products and managing waste is a growing concern for Honiara city. As this trial shows, changing behavior and raising awareness offers new ways for addressing this challenge across the Solomon Islands. 

The findings of this initiative will be captured in a report which will offer useful insights to the Government of Solomon Islands as it implements the national waste management and pollution control strategy. The report also makes a recommendation to phase out single-use plastics in the Solomon Islands starting next year.

The Waste Management Innovation Initiative was supported by UNDP, through funding from the Government of Denmark in partnership with the Government of Solomon Islands (SIG).

 


          

Solomon Islands farewells 13th Commissioner of Police    

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Outgoing Commissioner Varley hands over the 'sword' to the Acting Commissioner Mangau.


Solomon Islands has farewelled the 13th Commissioner of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force, Matthew Varley, MBE during a ceremony at the Rove Police Headquarters in Honiara today (29 November 2019).

During the ceremony witnessed by the Governor-General Sir David Vunagi, Prime Minister, Hon. Manasseh Sogavare; Minister of Police, Hon. Anthony Veke; Chief Justice Sir Albert Palmer as well as other dignitaries and senior RSIPF officers from Honiara and the provinces as well as ranks and files, outgoing Commissioner Varley handed the ‘sword’ over to Acting Commissioner of Police, Mostyn Mangau. 

H.E The Governor-General Sir David swore in the Acting Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mangau during a ceremony at Government House early today. A new Commissioner of Police to replace outgoing Commissioner Varley is yet to be announced.

In his final speech, which covered a wide range of issues including achievements during his three-year term, outgoing Commissioner Varley said: 

“It has been the greatest honour of my professional life to serve as your Commissioner since 25 January 2017. Since my appointment, I have had the privilege of working with many RSIPF officers and visiting most police stations, both in Honiara and the Provinces. 

And I have been proud to lead these great officers, and contribute in some small way, at such a momentous period in history for the Solomon Islands.

I have often said, that this police force is the NEW RSIPF. I say new because we believe that the RSIPF has been re-built from the ground up since the dark days of our history back in the Tension era of the early 2000’s.

Today, we are almost precisely two and a half years on from the end of RAMSI. But we in the RSIPF prefer not to reflect on to that period as the end of RAMSI. 

Rather we say that it marked the start of the new chapter in our history when our police force took back full responsibility for providing national security and law & order for the Solomon Islands. 

A new start.

And I am pleased to report that the RSIPF is in very good shape.

It is a well-trained, capable and effective organization, filled with talented officers who want to serve their nation, and led by committed and dedicated senior officers of integrity.  I believe the RSIPF is now the best Police Force in the Pacific.”

In the achievements of the RSIPF during his tenure, outgoing Commissioner Varley said:

“We’ve had the rearmament of the RSIPF specialist teams including the PRT and CPP. We’ve successfully implemented the Crime Prevention Strategy and are about to launch the second generation version for the next few years.

We’ve implemented more than 85% of the Capability Plan’s 170 objectives to keep building the organization in so many areas. We’ve added 133 police positions to grow to our largest ever strength of 1554, while recruiting more than 210 new constables.

We’ve launched the first-ever RSIPF Gender Strategy to improve the policing profession for women and recruited more women officers than ever before.

We’ve become a member of INTERPOL and are connected to international law enforcement. We’ve deployed officers to peacekeeping missions at the United Nations.

We’ve signed new MOUs of cooperation with PNG, Vanuatu and Australia to fight transnational crime in our region, and it bore results when we seized 500kg of cocaine in our harbor in 2018 and helped Australian authorities convict two Sydney based international drug traffickers.

We are now training other Pacific Police Forces to give back to our friends after they spend so many years when they helped us.

Most importantly, the RSIPF has kept the community safe and earned public trust, as particularly demonstrated during the testing period of the 2019 National General Election. 

The National General Elections and the subsequent riots which occurred following the Prime Minister’s election were our greatest test yet. We must always remember that Polling Day on April 3rd was a tremendous success for us. 

Voters turned out in record numbers and people in the community told us they felt it was the safest polling day since Independence.

But when the riots erupted on April 24th, the brave women and men of the RSIPF defended and secured our capital city. At the same time, we showed our expertise and cultural sensitivity by working with local communities to defuse tensions, engage our people and avert ongoing troubles.

This event, although we wish it had never happened, was stark proof to the people and Government of Solomon Islands that this police force is ready, capable and so courageously willing to do its job.

These successes do not come readily, nor are the battles easily won. They are the result of dogged hard work by our team. 

Perhaps a few years ago, many people would have said that these achievements were possible, or that the RSIPF was not capable of such things.

We are proud to have proved them wrong.

The new RSIPF of today is a capable, modern, responsive and very well-run organization, due in no small part to the sheer commitment and hard work of all of my officers, along with a very committed and professional senior leadership team.

There is no doubt that the culture, capacity, and capability of the RSIPF has continued to develop strongly over the last three years.

Much of this improvement has been due to our continual and unrelenting emphasis on developing accountable, values-based leadership within the senior executive team and across the police force.”

As a parting message to the more than 1400 police officers serving throughout the Solomon Islands, Outgoing Commissioner Varley said:

Always Remember the RSIPF Values. Without them, we are nothing.

The future of the RSIPF – its performance, reputation, and capability – rests with you all. Believe in yourself and your ability as a team to achieve our mission. Together, you will drive the RSIPF forward.

Remember my three P rule:

Pride, performance and professionalism.”

Outgoing Police Commissioner Varley and his family leave Honiara tomorrow.

 


          

2020 Great Hammerhead Shark Silver 1oz Solomon Islands $2 Coin

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$79.95
End Date: Wednesday Dec-25-2019 13:52:06 PST
Buy It Now for only: $79.95
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

          

University of Strathclyde Commonwealth Shared Scholarships 2020 for Students from African/Developing Countries – UK

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Now open: University of Strathclyde Commonwealth Shared Scholarships 2020 for Students from African/Developing Countries. Apply now. Application Deadline: 18th December 2019 Eligible Countries: Bangladesh, Cameroon, Gambia, The, Ghana, India, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Samoa, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Eswatini, Tanzania, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu, Zambia To be […]

After School Africa


          

Comment on New details about Prince Charles and Duchess of Cornwall’s visit to New Zealand, Tuvalu and the Solomon Islands released by THE FIRM – BEN'S WORLD

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[…] “The discussion covered the challenges presented by climate change, pest and disease incursions and the need to strengthen the forestry sector’s social license to operate. The potential contribution of forestry to the New Zealand bio-economy along with the promising and varied career opportunities offered by the forestry sector, were identified as significant opportunities”. https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1911/S00298/institute-of-forestry-hosts-meeting-with-the-prince-of-wales.htmhttps://www.itv.com/news/update/2015-02-12/tory-donor-lord-fink-admits-vanilla-tax-avoidance/In April 2018 during his trip to Austrlaia Charles preached the notion of a blue economy to Corporate excutives including Disney and Quantas “through which sustainable economic development is achieved via the wise use of ocean resources,” he said. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-41901175https://royalcentral.co.uk/uk/new-details-about-prince-charles-and-duchess-of-cornwalls-visit-to-new…https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2018/04/wise-use-of-ocean-resources-key-to-blue-economy-says-prince-charles/ […]
          

RSIPF investigates attack on home of MP for North Malaita

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Two of the vehicles damaged during the attack.


Investigators of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) at the Naha Police Station are investigating an attack on the home of the Member of Parliament (MP) for North Malaita who is residing in East Honiara.

Provincial Police Commander (PPC) of Honiara City, Chief Superintendent Stanley Riolo says, “My investigators are investigating the incident and the attack which happened last Saturday 30 November 2019. It is alleged the attack was carried out by seven men who entered the private residence of the MP at Kombivatu, East Honiara and badly damaged three of the MP’s private vehicles. The motive of the attack is not known.”

“The value of the damages to the MP’s vehicles is estimated at between $250,000.00 and $300,000.00.”

“The seven suspects have been identified and police officers are in the process of locating the suspects for questioning. I appeal to the suspects to surrender to my officers at Naha Police Station. I do not want to name them but ask them to come forward as there is no reason to hide from police,” PPC Riolo explains.

“The attack put in danger the life of the MP and members of his family as the suspects allegedly threw stones onto the residence of the MP. Such an act must be condemned in the strongest term as it is against the safety and peace of a citizen of this country.”

Members of the public who may have witnessed the incident are urged to provide information to the police to assist them with the investigation into this sad incident. 

Naha Police Station can be contacted on the following phones:  39647, 39608 and 38721.

- Police Media

 


          

Suidani lauds govt for listing Bina Harbour 

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Premier Daniel Suidani.


Malaita Province Premier Daniel Suidani has applauded the national government for making the Bina Harbour Tuna processing plant project a top priority in its 2020 budget.

Mr Suidani stated this is a press release after Minister for Finance and Treasury Harry Kuma announced the priority projects for 2020.

Mr Kuma in his 2020 budget speech highlighted that Bina Harbour project and other key Malaita project which placed sixth priority project will be seriously implemented by the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA) government in 2020.

Mr Suidani stated the announcement is welcoming news for the people of Malaita province.

“I must thank the national government for its support toward the project.

“My government the MARA government as outlined in point 3 of the 6 points I have announced will work in support of current national projects underway in the province including this Bina Harbour project.

“My people need this development since we have been waiting for a very long time, we do not want to be told of something that may end up not materialised.”

“It is a known fact that the New Zealand Government have been helping out with the Bina project and that other donors including Australia, IFC and USA are also showing support to the project.”

“This is good news to the most populated province of Solomon Islands. It is understood that the proposed facility would process 26,950MT of fish annually and employed more than 2000 people. 

“As expected, this project will be complemented with a large commercial wharf suited to international export shipping as well as the significant fuel bankerage for the supply of fuel to the fishing vessels. The spin off from the project would surely bring development to Malaita province.” Premier Suidani said.

By SOLOMON LOFANA 
In Auki

 


          

Miss Solomon Islands 1st runner up

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Miss Solomon Islands Gladys Habu in her traditionally inspired attire.


Miss Solomon Islands Gladys Habu came second at last week’s Miss Pacific Islands (MPIP) show held in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea that concluded over the weekend.

Despite not being able to bring the crown home Ms Habu won Solomon Island's highest placement ever at the Miss Pacific Islands Pageant having placed as 1st runner up at this year's Pageant MPIP and that is a huge achievement for the Solomon Islands, it was highlighted.

Being the 1st runner up in this year’s show was the highest placement for Solomon Islands contestants contesting in the MPIP and it shows that Solomon Islands have been improving a lot at the Miss Pacific Islands Pageant; they've placed 4 times this decade, 3rd runner up in 2013, 4th runner up in 2015 and 2nd runner Up in 2016.

Miss Solomon also scooped the best float and best talent award in this year’s MPIP show.

Miss SI Pageant Director Joyce Konofilia congratulated Miss Habu and thanked her brilliant and outstanding performance in this year’s MPIP show.

“To our beautiful Gladys our queen of hearts back home and here, I am so proud of you, your performance is just way beyond par and consistent all throughout.

“You are naturally beautiful and talented, not just a pretty face but an all-rounder through and through. You are truly a fitting ambassador for our country, we love you I am thankful to you and your parents and siblings for allowing us being part of your life in this platform,’’ she said in her facebook page post yesterday.

Ms Konofilia also thanked all the sponsors, families and supporters for the consistent support rendered towards the team Solomon Islands during the Miss Pacific Islands show. 

“I wish to take this opportunity to thank our main sponsors Coral Seas Resort and SI Ports Authority for all the support rendered to team SI without your support we would not have made it.

“I also acknowledge the Habu family especially Lucy and Dennis and your beautiful Sabrina for all the efforts in doing the final touches to our contemporary wear, doing the beautiful crown, sash and being there to help with the float.

“Thank you Dennis for being a father to the team, your leadership was a driving force to ensuring the float was done accordingly with no faults. 

“Thank you Sabrina for being our assistant chaperon you rock! Thank you Jacqueline Habu for being with our queen and providing the motherly care she needed.

“Thank you Masi Pioh as Miss SI head chaperon and Marylyn Bae for being the wonder woman designer and dressmaker for all the hard work i appreciate all your effort. You proved your worth as reflected in the beautiful dresses Miss SI showcased during the pageant.

“Thank you to one and only Dan Dãñzõ Kakadi for capturing and promoting Miss SI extensively throughout both MSIP and MPIP pages. You make it happen for our team in keeping our people back home in the loop,’’ she said.

She also thanked the Solomon Islands community in PNG for their great support and hospitality rendered towards the team Solomon during the show in PNG.

“To the Solomon Islands community in POM thank you so much to the SI High Commissioner HE Barnabas Anga and good wife, Counsellor Atkin and good wife Salome Atkin and family for your great sense of hospitality, for accommodating our Havulei youth and allowing us to use your facilities.

“To the Havulei youth, Aunty Hazel and Rhian, Jacinter and Isabel community back home, thank you all so much for being the main reason we won the float category your hard work is appreciated and respected.

“To my loving people back home, here and abroad I want to say a big thank you from the bottom of my heart, thanks for taking time to follow our journey, for voting, for positive and uplifting comments for our queen. You all are appreciated,’’ said Ms. Konofilia. 

She also acknowledged the Solomon Host team for organizing the Miss Solomon Islands Pageant every year.

By BRYAN LUVENA

 


          

Customs receive mobile X-Ray scanner

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Customs and ports officers inspecting the mobile x-ray scanning equipment.


THE Customs Division of the Ministry of Finance and Treasury (MoFT) will now be able to non-intrusively inspect cargo imports and exports to detect cargo assessed as “high risk” at Honiara International port with a newly received mobile x-ray scanner recently.

The new technology will assist Customs to better implement their mandate to enforce border protection and undertake efficient and timely revenue collection on behalf of Solomon Islands Government whilst facilitating legitimate trade yet ensuring compliance with Customs law.

With the new mobile x-ray scanner, cargoes will be scanned and identified through Customs assessed intelligence by the Risk Management team.  

The types of goods of interest to Customs include: those that breaches international supply chain security, detection of prohibited goods like weapons, munitions, illicit narcotics, and identification of undeclared and smuggled goods that evade revenue assessment, such as smuggled tobacco, and mis-declared goods (fine example is kwila logs being described as sawn timber) etc.

The time delay to trade in the release of their goods will be minimal, as the technology enables unobtrusive examination in a matter of minutes, as opposed to current manual examination measured in hours or sometimes days. 

The results of the scan will enable officers to decide if the container should be diverted for further physical inspection from an initial interpretation of the x-ray color coded images or released. 

In order to keep the cost of doing business to traders as low as possible, under International Customs and World Trade Organisation law, scanning process fees, if any, can only be passed on at the cost incurred in providing the service.

Customs Officers will commence training in the use of the equipment next week and the machine will then become operational.

Customs are also empowered to administer the World Customs Organisation (WCO) SAFE Framework on the movement of goods through the international security supply chain. They possess the legal mandate to enforce border protection, provide industry assistance and undertake revenue collection on behalf of the government.

International Customs law is necessarily strict and customs have the obligation to facilitate legitimate trade but will enforce compliance with Customs laws through the use of targeted intelligence and risk assessment.

 


          

SICCI new BEA Award inaugural winner is Police Commissioner for contribution to private sector

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(Left to right) SICCI CEO, Ms Atenasi Ata; Outgoing Police Commissioner, Mathew Varley with his Certificate of Appreciation and SICCI Board Member, Sir Bruce Saunders.


The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) announces the inaugural winner of a new award for its annual Business Excellence Awards (BEA). 

As part of the awards given out at the Business Excellence Awards events, the SICCI Board has developed a new award that is for the most valued partner to the Chamber.

Police Commissioner Mathew Varley is the inaugural recipient of this award. It is in recognition of Mr Varley’s tremendous service rendered to the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) in the last three years and his commitment in engaging with the private sector in the country. 

Long-time SICCI Board member, Sir Bruce Saunders said this award is for the most valuable Chamber partner and is a Board decision not like the other awards which are chosen by a panel of judges.

“The award goes to the individual that the SICCI Board decides is to be recognized for his or her contribution to private sector development in the country. 

“The Board appreciates the Commissioner of RSIPF for his engagement and open communication at all the Executive Group meetings under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with the Chamber in 2018,” Sir Bruce said.

He added: “The Board especially valued the organized approach that the RSIPF took under Mr Varley’s leadership during the national elections earlier this year, and then the election of the Prime Minister afterwards.”

Sir Bruce, on behalf of the Chamber’s members of the private sector, thanked Mr Varley for his service to the Solomon Islands and for his part continuing the development of the RSIPF into a police force that is responsive, professional and most importantly, instils confidence in citizens of the RSIPF institution.

“Special mention must be made to Mr Varley’s approach in ensuring that businesses remained important stakeholders in all his communication efforts,” he said.

A special meeting was organized on Thursday 28th November at the Commissioner’s office at the Police Headquarters in Rove, west of Honiara, where SICCI Board Member Sir Bruce, and CEO Atenasi Ata, presented Mr Varley his Certificate of Appreciation as the recipient of the BEA award.

Mr Varley will not be able to be present at the BEA event on Saturday 30th November since he will be leaving the country the same day. 

A short video was captured where Mr Varley made a short address to the local business community and will be played on the screen during the BEA on Saturday.

“To the Board, Membership and Executive of the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and to all the members of the business community in the Solomon Islands, I’m very honoured to receive this award and to recognize the partnership that exists between the RSIPF and the business community here in the Solomon Islands.

“I’m very humbled to be your Commissioner of Police for the last three years and it has been indeed the greatest professional privilege of my life,” Mr Varley said.

“The time has come to go home, but before I do that, I wanted to say thank you to the community for your support and also recognizing too there is also an important partnership between business and police,” he added.

He said the role of the police is to provide the safety and security for the community to prosper, and likewise, the business community has an important role in economic development of this country.

“I’m sure with greater partnership between business and police into the future, the young people of Solomon Islands have a bright future of continued support and opportunities for employment and prosperity for the community more broadly.

“I wish you and Solomon Islands all the very best for a successful and prosperous future,” he said.

SICCI, as the peak body representing the private sector and business community in the Solomon Islands, wishes Mr Varley the best on his future endeavours.

-SICCI Media

 

 


          

UNDP and stakeholders validate Schools Re-thinking Plastic Initiative final report

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A Koloale student buying food served in a stainless steel bowl in Week 13.


THE United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), relevant national stakeholders and representatives from five schools in Honiara took part in the final validation workshop within the “Schools Re-thinking Plastic Initiative”, in Honiara on Tuesday 26th November 2019.

Koloale, Florence Young, Emmaus, St Nicholas, and Honiara High School have been part of an experiment which applied behavioural insights methods. For 13 weeks, starting in late July, two schemes were introduced in schools during lunchtimes to reduce single-use plastic:  Deposit Return and Discount Schemes.  The Solomon Islands National University (SINU) students were also actively engaged in collecting data and analysis arising from this test trial. 

Results of this experiment are interesting and promising: for instance, the Deposit Return scheme showed that most students brought back the reusable containers after finishing food to collect a small deposit back from the vendors. The Discount Scheme was most successful amongst kindergarten and primary school students, while among the secondary school students, it was seen as “not cool” to bring a lunch box from home. 

Coping with the increasing use of single plastic products and managing waste is a growing concern for Honiara city. As this trial shows, changing behavior and raising awareness offers new ways for addressing this challenge across the Solomon Islands. 

The findings of this initiative will be captured in a report which will offer useful insights to the Government of Solomon Islands as it implements the national waste management and pollution control strategy. The report also makes a recommendation to phase out single-use plastics in the Solomon Islands starting next year.

The Waste Management Innovation Initiative was supported by UNDP, through funding from the Government of Denmark in partnership with the Government of Solomon Islands (SIG).

 


          

Solomon Islands farewells 13th Commissioner of Police    

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Outgoing Commissioner Varley hands over the 'sword' to the Acting Commissioner Mangau.


Solomon Islands has farewelled the 13th Commissioner of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force, Matthew Varley, MBE during a ceremony at the Rove Police Headquarters in Honiara today (29 November 2019).

During the ceremony witnessed by the Governor-General Sir David Vunagi, Prime Minister, Hon. Manasseh Sogavare; Minister of Police, Hon. Anthony Veke; Chief Justice Sir Albert Palmer as well as other dignitaries and senior RSIPF officers from Honiara and the provinces as well as ranks and files, outgoing Commissioner Varley handed the ‘sword’ over to Acting Commissioner of Police, Mostyn Mangau. 

H.E The Governor-General Sir David swore in the Acting Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mangau during a ceremony at Government House early today. A new Commissioner of Police to replace outgoing Commissioner Varley is yet to be announced.

In his final speech, which covered a wide range of issues including achievements during his three-year term, outgoing Commissioner Varley said: 

“It has been the greatest honour of my professional life to serve as your Commissioner since 25 January 2017. Since my appointment, I have had the privilege of working with many RSIPF officers and visiting most police stations, both in Honiara and the Provinces. 

And I have been proud to lead these great officers, and contribute in some small way, at such a momentous period in history for the Solomon Islands.

I have often said, that this police force is the NEW RSIPF. I say new because we believe that the RSIPF has been re-built from the ground up since the dark days of our history back in the Tension era of the early 2000’s.

Today, we are almost precisely two and a half years on from the end of RAMSI. But we in the RSIPF prefer not to reflect on to that period as the end of RAMSI. 

Rather we say that it marked the start of the new chapter in our history when our police force took back full responsibility for providing national security and law & order for the Solomon Islands. 

A new start.

And I am pleased to report that the RSIPF is in very good shape.

It is a well-trained, capable and effective organization, filled with talented officers who want to serve their nation, and led by committed and dedicated senior officers of integrity.  I believe the RSIPF is now the best Police Force in the Pacific.”

In the achievements of the RSIPF during his tenure, outgoing Commissioner Varley said:

“We’ve had the rearmament of the RSIPF specialist teams including the PRT and CPP. We’ve successfully implemented the Crime Prevention Strategy and are about to launch the second generation version for the next few years.

We’ve implemented more than 85% of the Capability Plan’s 170 objectives to keep building the organization in so many areas. We’ve added 133 police positions to grow to our largest ever strength of 1554, while recruiting more than 210 new constables.

We’ve launched the first-ever RSIPF Gender Strategy to improve the policing profession for women and recruited more women officers than ever before.

We’ve become a member of INTERPOL and are connected to international law enforcement. We’ve deployed officers to peacekeeping missions at the United Nations.

We’ve signed new MOUs of cooperation with PNG, Vanuatu and Australia to fight transnational crime in our region, and it bore results when we seized 500kg of cocaine in our harbor in 2018 and helped Australian authorities convict two Sydney based international drug traffickers.

We are now training other Pacific Police Forces to give back to our friends after they spend so many years when they helped us.

Most importantly, the RSIPF has kept the community safe and earned public trust, as particularly demonstrated during the testing period of the 2019 National General Election. 

The National General Elections and the subsequent riots which occurred following the Prime Minister’s election were our greatest test yet. We must always remember that Polling Day on April 3rd was a tremendous success for us. 

Voters turned out in record numbers and people in the community told us they felt it was the safest polling day since Independence.

But when the riots erupted on April 24th, the brave women and men of the RSIPF defended and secured our capital city. At the same time, we showed our expertise and cultural sensitivity by working with local communities to defuse tensions, engage our people and avert ongoing troubles.

This event, although we wish it had never happened, was stark proof to the people and Government of Solomon Islands that this police force is ready, capable and so courageously willing to do its job.

These successes do not come readily, nor are the battles easily won. They are the result of dogged hard work by our team. 

Perhaps a few years ago, many people would have said that these achievements were possible, or that the RSIPF was not capable of such things.

We are proud to have proved them wrong.

The new RSIPF of today is a capable, modern, responsive and very well-run organization, due in no small part to the sheer commitment and hard work of all of my officers, along with a very committed and professional senior leadership team.

There is no doubt that the culture, capacity, and capability of the RSIPF has continued to develop strongly over the last three years.

Much of this improvement has been due to our continual and unrelenting emphasis on developing accountable, values-based leadership within the senior executive team and across the police force.”

As a parting message to the more than 1400 police officers serving throughout the Solomon Islands, Outgoing Commissioner Varley said:

Always Remember the RSIPF Values. Without them, we are nothing.

The future of the RSIPF – its performance, reputation, and capability – rests with you all. Believe in yourself and your ability as a team to achieve our mission. Together, you will drive the RSIPF forward.

Remember my three P rule:

Pride, performance and professionalism.”

Outgoing Police Commissioner Varley and his family leave Honiara tomorrow.

 


          

Earthquakes

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Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global 6.0 earthquake hits the Andreanof Islands in the Aleutian Islands. 5.2 earthquake hits the Solomon Islands.
          

Solomon Islands improve police response to combat violence against women

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“I’ve had to rescue women very early in the morning, sometimes 3 a.m, to get them out of an abusive house,” says Solomon Sisimia, Provincial Police Commander in the Solomon Islands.

As a fresh-faced 22-year-old recruit from the island of Malaita, Solomon was driven by his determination to curb family violence. “I grew up in a rural environment where I saw a lot of abuse of children and women surrounding me… My childhood experiences deeply impacted me and pushed me to become a police officer because I wanted to bring a stop to that abuse.”

He soon received several awards for his outstanding work and was promoted to Constable at the National Criminal Investigation Department. But it was his position some 10 years later at the Crime Prevention Centre’s Family Violence Division—known as the Police Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Centre—that paved the way for fundamental changes in the way police assist survivors.

At the Centre, he was a pioneer of the SAFENET approach for national service-providers to better support survivors of violence. The approach ensures that all front-line service-providers—from police to hospital and crisis centre staff—coordinate with one another to provide the best possible survivor-centred response and ongoing support to gender-based violence survivors, in a timely way. It provides: direct services and support; referrals to other service-providers through a coordinated process; prevention and advocacy programmes; and a governance and accountability framework.

Sisimia also led the Police Force’s adoption of the Family Protection Act and efforts to make sure that police officers more respectfully assist domestic violence survivors.

“Before, maybe 10 years ago, women coming to the station reporting a case of domestic violence would be turned away, with police officers telling her: ‘It’s not our police work, go back to your husband and reconcile with him or get the [Village] Chief to deal with the matter; it’s a family matter; it’s private, so you deal with it’,” explains Sisimia. “But after we went through SAFENET and the Family Protection Act came in, the domestic violence once called a ‘family matter’ has become a criminal matter. Police officers are trained to receive domestic violence complaints as criminal matters, and this is a big change within policing.”

Sisimia notes that a police officer can be charged under the Family Protection Act if they fail to assist a domestic violence victim seeking police help.

But while laws and processes are essential to driving change, he says the biggest barrier is people’s mindsets. He advocates reviving healthy traditional cultural practices.

“A few generations ago, men in our culture had no right to give orders to women, and women had decision-making rights,” says Sisimia. “Until we change our mindsets and get our cultural balance back, violence against women, girls and boys will continue.”

He says his mindset was changed thanks to SAFENET and gender training, but his journey continues to help Solomon Islands reduce its 64 percent gender-based violence rate – currently one of the highest in the world.

The SAFENET network of government and non-government organizations is led by the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs, in partnership with UN Women, with funding from the Pacific Partnership to End Violence Against Women and Girls. The partnership is supported by the European Union and the Australian Government.

“Since 2012, UN Women has been providing dedicated support to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls in Solomon Islands, by strengthening capacity within government and civil society to expand survivor services and stop violence before it starts,” said UN Women Fiji Multi-Country-Office Deputy Representative Sarah Boxall, at a national SAFENET inception workshop.

“When SAFENET calls me back and says ‘she’s safe’ … I feel at least I saved somebody from dying,” says Registered Nurse Esther Nevenga, who has treated gender-based violence survivors’ injuries for years. “Now I have the knowledge and the skills to help women who suffer from violence. Before, survivors coming through the clinic were not prioritized. Now, we make sure that their safety is paramount, and we move them to somewhere more confidential. It’s all about the survivor. She’s the one who makes the decision, not like before, when we would say ‘you must take this and do that’.”

Nevenga is now the Ministry of Health’s Gender-Based Violence Focal Point, supporting SAFENET and the current series of national consultations and training across all nine provinces to educate service-providers about the SAFENET Guidebook of Standard Operating Procedures for the Multisectoral Response, Referral, and Coordination of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, launched in late 2018.

As for Sisimia, after 29 years of dedicated service in the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force, he has recently been promoted to Provincial Police Commander for Malaita, where he says he will continue to work to change mindsets, behaviours and improve police responses.

Source: UN Women


          

Solomon Islands national fisheries policy 2019-2029 : a policy for the conservation, management, development and sustainable use of the fisheries and aquatic resources of Solomon Islands

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Solomon Islands national aquaculture management and development plan 2018-2023

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Prasoon Joshi On Soft Hindutva, Whether His Modi Fanboying Is Strategic, And Censorship

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Prasoon Joshi

It was in the mid-2000s that Prasoon Joshi erupted on the scene with rousing, emotionally-stirring lyrics of Hindi songs such as ‘Khoon Chala’ from Rang De Basanti and ‘Ma’ from Taare Zameen Par, soon becoming the go-to lyricist for top Bollywood filmmakers.

Although he’d started his career much earlier, with Raj Kumar Santoshi’s Lajja one of his earliest works, Joshi, who’s now the CEO of American ad agency McCann India, broke through with big budget romantic fare such as Fanaa, Hum Tum and Delhi 6. In August 2017, he was appointed the chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification, a position he’s held since then.

However, it’s Joshi’s proximity with the current political dispensation that now gets more attention than his lyrics. From penning lyrics for government campaigns to conducting interviews with the Prime Minister that make some of our most pliable news anchors appear tough, Joshi remains, primarily, an adman. Whether it’s Cola or Hindutva, Joshi’s talent as a writer can sell anything. So it isn’t surprising that he’s developed a comfortable relationship with the BJP, a party that sharply exploits the soft power of pop culture to strengthen its ideological cannon.

In this interview conducted in Goa, Joshi spoke about censorship, his proximity to the BJP and his idea of India.

Since you took over as CBFC chairperson, your songs have been missed. Is the work consuming you too much?

Oh, yes. But I recently did a song for Swachh Bharat, another one I’m doing for a water campaign, then there’s something coming up with A.R. Rahman. I’m in a different phase in life. This time, my work has a lot more social significance. But if you ask me about my film songs, yes, that has reduced. I’d easily do 1-2 films a year but that’ll come back. I’ve changed track but I haven’t stopped writing. I’m still doing a lot of poetry. My next book should be out soon.

Your tenure as CBFC chairperson has been largely free from controversy as compared to Pahlaj Nihalani’s.

Other than the Ford V Ferrari issue recently. There wasn’t even a discussion about blurring the alcohol bottles. It was proactively done by the makers. We didn’t ask them.

But the CBFC has created an environment where producers preemptively do these things.

Those are two different issues. There are a lot of people who work hard here. This is an organisation which works under the law. One needs to respect it. I’m never not open to dialogue. We, as a society, are a work in progress as new technologies come into play. The tools we invent will need new methods too.

There is a constant fear that the claws of censorship will reach the Internet, which has so far been a free space.

But we’re having a dialogue about it right now. In a democracy, such things can only be resolved through dialogue. Today, parents have been conscious about at what age they should introduce tech to their kids. So what do you do? Do you ration it to them? Do you use parental controls? So as we grow, discussions will happen and we’ll device new ways to figure this out.

Over the past few years, you’ve carved a very political image—one that’s very friendly to the current government. As an artist, how do you feel about this intimate relationship between art and politics?

Politics is a very big part of society, as is art. If you say you are insular, it cannot be possible. It’ll reflect in art. As far as I go, I look at the positive things. For example, CBFC. I only look at how we can make the functioning of the organisation better. I extend my services to contribute to it as well as other things, like Swacch Bharat. Rather than critiquing it, I choose to write an anthem for it, which plays in every kuda-gaadi now. I like people to be motivated and join hands for the good of the country. Anything that works for the country works for me.

So then the things that don’t should also make you angry. Shouldn’t art also question the establishment? Your lines from Rang De Basanti come to mind… which was a staunchly anti-establishment film. It’s great that you support a Swacch Bharat. My question is: doesn’t that make you blind towards the faults of the same government?

I don’t know. At this point, I want to… In Taare Zameen Par, we had an example of the Solomon Islands. They don’t cut a tree there. They abuse it. They criticise the tree. And gradually the tree falls and dies. I think some of us have been doing the same with India. Always trying to find faults. Always saying ‘we can’t do it.’ Yes, criticism is required. But it shouldn’t be such that it paralyses you. We need constructive criticism.

Well, I think the space for criticism is shrinking…

No, I don’t believe that. I think that’s too much of a preconceived notion.

Well, you were part of the group that wrote a counter-letter to PM Modi saying that rise in lynchings are part of a ‘false narrative.’ I mean, these are events backed by data…

Again, I am coming to you and saying that as much as it’s important to criticise what’s not right, don’t you think there should be voices that should appreciate what’s right? Don’t you want to increase the confidence and self-belief of the country? If I keep criticizing you all the time, talk about your physical appearance, about things you don’t know, don’t you think the self-confidence of a nation will decline? This country has seen a lot, we’ve a long way to go. I think we need to improve the hausla of this country. Let’s try and do this one time? Right now, I am in a phase where I want to tell my country all that’s good with us. I want to focus on it. Why can’t we do that?

I think the BJP has a significant advertising budget which is spent only on that, no? What we don’t have are actual policies when it comes to the rising lynchings, the murder of journalists, lawyers and intellectuals.

Every voice is important. Some people will focus on those things. And you need people who will focus on good things. I’ve chosen to focus on the good in the country and that’s reflected in all the work that I do now. That’s what I’ve chosen.

Even when it comes to remaining silent on serious social injustices?

There are many people who’re doing it, no? Saahir saab, who was a romantic poet, wrote, “Tum parcham failana saathi, main parvat pe gaoonga.” You go with the parcham, that’s not my job. I still have to sing at the parvat. Now, somebody chooses one thing, somebody chooses another. I think we’ve spoken enough about this now.

If one were to ask you whether being in the good books of the BJP was a strategic decision on your part, what would your argument be against that?

Have you seen me do anything behind the scenes? If I like you, I will openly support you. At least I am transparent. I told you why I’m doing what I’m doing: I want to consciously focus on the things where I can contribute. As I said, India needs encouragement. This is a tipping point and our self-belief needs to be up. If we lose it, it’ll take us years to recover, the way it did after independence. We have it. We can do it together.

That’s a very pure thought. But it doesn’t feel that this government speaks the language of unity. It thrives on being divisive.

But this is what my approach is. You are a journalist so you obviously look at things more critically and then analyse it. I’ve written all kinds of cinema. When I wrote Main Rahoon Ya Na Rahoon, Bharat Rehna Chahiye (a song for the BJP), I actually felt that. I believe in the universal truth, in the concept of one. I am a spiritual person. To me, there’s no ‘other.’ It’s like what Kabir said, “Prem Gali Ati Sankari, Tomein Do Na Samahi” (The lane of love is too narrow to hold two at a time).

Now, for whatever it’s worth, we live in structures and geographically-divided places we call countries. That’s how it’s been. Now, we need to show some beliefs in those structures. We need to empower them for them to be able to work for your own benefit. If we keep dragging them down, then how will this concept work? Or you change the world. I think AI is going to change the world. It’s going to link everything together. It’ll be one consciousness. I’ll be able to read your thoughts. We’re going to enter a new world. There can’t be boundaries and human beings will be able to access each other’s emotions and thoughts. It’ll be a different world but today it isn’t. There are geographical boundaries and if you feel dedicated towards this set of people…. And not collectively feel good about it, it will collapse!

But we can’t be so inward-thinking and insular.

Of course not, we’ve to be open but these structures are man-made, aren’t they.

And hence their flaws must be acknowledged.

But only if it contributed to our benefit and not if it breaks us down. So let’s just show some faith in them. I’m not undermining the power of criticism. The only word I will add is: constructive criticism. I will not criticise you to destroy you, I will criticise to make you better. Don’t you agree?

I do. I love this country, I just don’t recognise it anymore. It doesn’t feel like the place I grew up in. Where one is constantly reminded of their religion…

If someone criticises me for the way I’ve written something, I’d try and write it better. It leaves me with hope.

But that’s exactly why the letter on lynchings was written…

It was one-sided and accusatory...very selective.

No, it was a cry for help.

If you write five bad things about this festival along with five good things, then it’s fair. But if you focus only on the bad, then it’s biased. I’ll tell you what I tell my friends, in a fair world, you need to focus on both. Where are the good things?

Well, the Swacch Bharat etc that you mentioned, I acknowledge that fully. I think they’re great. Now, will you acknowledge the bad? The communal violence, minorities living in fear?
Now, you are just jumping to conclusions. We are a work in progress. Wait and watch. I have great faith in this country and the consciousness of this country. Just by selecting a few things don’t come to conclusions.

And what if it actually becomes a Hindu Rashtra as many fear? You’d obviously not endorse it, would you?

I believe in inclusivity. I love this country. I believe in the diversity of this country, it’s very important for me. In my speech I said, why are only Bombay-bred people making films? They have a certain way of looking at life but we need people from all sorts of diverse backgrounds to come and make films.




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