TWO INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS TO HONIARA, MORE ON WAY

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (October 2, 2000 - Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation/PINA Nius Online)---Solomon Airlines expects to begin a second international flight into the capital, Honiara, effective October 10th.

The airline's general manager, Gideon Zoloveke, Jr., said the new arrangement will provide the traveling public with two flights a week into Honiara from Brisbane instead of one.

The airline earlier cut back on its services for security risk reasons resulting from the ethnic tension in the country.

In a press release, Mr. Zoloveke said under the new arrangement, Qantas is expected to release a B737 aircraft to Solomon Airlines to provide the additional weekly flight service.

Mr. Zoloveke said Solomon Airlines expects to re-instate full international services to the country within the next few months.

It previously operated to Sydney, Port Vila and Nadi as well as having a code-share service with Air Niugini to Port Moresby.

In another move, the general manager said Solomon Airlines is currently negotiating with Air Nauru about the possibility of providing additional services through Honiara to and from Brisbane on its route to Nauru.

(Background: A cease-fire in the Solomon Islands follows ethnic conflict which engulfed Guadalcanal, the island on which the capital, Honiara, is located.

Peace talks started aboard a New Zealand navy ship off Honiara, and are due to continue in Cairns, Australia, this month. The ethnic conflict began when Guadalcanal militants tried to drive out settlers from another island, Malaita, claiming they dominated government and business and were taking over Guadalcanal land.

Honiara has been under the control of a joint operation of the Malaita Eagle Force militia and elements of the paramilitary police field force. The Guadalcanal countryside is largely under the control of Guadalcanal's

Isatabu Freedom Movement militia.)

In other developments:

* The Minister for Police, Justice and Legal Affairs, William Haomae, has said that recent harassment and theft incidents at Telekom Headquarters were not reported to the police, so they were not aware of them.

In a statement from the government's Communications Unit, Mr. Haomae was quoted as saying that the Commissioner of Police has the responsibility for security of Honiara citizens and business houses.

He also confirmed that unarmed police officers were deployed at strategic areas, including Henderson Airport, the banks and Telekom headquarters.

Mr. Haomae said that the Police Force is putting more efforts into implementing their duties despite the lack of adequate logistics support.

He said the force is cooperating with the Joint Operations of the Malaita Eagle Force/police paramilitary elements to maintain law and order and also to protect life and property in the capital, during the transitional period up to the signing of the peace agreement.

Telekom executives had warned that Telekom services could collapse because of continuing harassment, theft of vehicles, and the departure of key staff.

* The Solomon Islands Public Employees Union said it will only negotiate with the government on behalf of its 215 financial members out of nearly a thousand now being made to take unpaid leave.

General secretary of the union, Clement Waiwori, said the action is being taken to make sure any benefits reached at the negotiations will only be applicable to its financial members.

Mr. Waiwori said that the majority of public servants given unpaid leave are either members of other public sector unions or are individuals who are not members of any of the public sector unions.

About 1,000 government workers, both in Honiara and the provinces, are being given unpaid leave for an indefinite period, with the first expected to leave Honiara today.

* It was through hope that the government placed strategic measures for reconciliation and peace as a top priority, Minister of Education William Gigini said at the close of the Peace and Development course for Solomon Islands College of Higher Education students.

Mr. Gigini said hope was what kept the Solomon Islands going even though the future seemed gloomy.

Meanwhile, the minister congratulated the students for their achievement on becoming peace and development agents in such a short time.

He urged the students to go out with the nation's hope and encouraged them to mingle with the communities with the message of peace and development.

* The government is setting up a special fund to promote the fishing industry among Solomon Islanders.

Permanent secretary of the Ministry of Fisheries, George Lilo, indicated this following the government's recent signing of a fisheries agreement with the Taiwanese Boat Owners and Exporters Association.

He said under the new deal the government has reduced the license fee per boat per year from SI$ 40,000 (US$ 7,960) to SI$ 15,000 (US$ 2,985).

But Mr. Lilo said the government hoped to benefit from five percent of every catch to be made by the Tuna Association's 42 boats authorized to fish in Solomon Islands territorial waters.

He added that the five percent levy will be put in a special fund to help Solomon Islanders who are involved in the fishing industry.

Mr. Lilo said the agreement became effective October 1.

For additional reports from the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

 

SOLOMON ISLANDS PROSECUTORS FEAR FOR SAFETY

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (October 3, 2000 – Radio Australia)---The Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions in the Solomon Islands says government prosecutors cannot carry out their jobs effectively because of fears for their personal safety.

Mr. Ronald Talasasa says he has been assaulted in the street and warned that he should quit his job as a prosecutor.

He says that the director of the department has taken indefinite leave from his post after being threatened in his office.

Mr. Talasasa says it won’t be possible to enforce the law in the Solomon Islands until there is an end to the conflict between rival militia from Guadalcanal and Malaita.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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