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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (January 11, 2001 - Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation/PINA Nius Online)---The Solomon Islands government has been called on to seriously address full restoration of law and order if it wants to attract overseas investors.

Chief of Balasuna on North Guadalcanal, David Thuguvoda, told SIBC that the current fragile situation is deterring potential investors.

Mr. Thuguvoda said he reached this conclusion after speaking to many potential investors during his recent visit to Australia.

He said investors do not want to risk investing their money in the Solomon Islands at the moment.

Mr. Thuguvoda also appealed to former militants on Guadalcanal who may still possess arms to surrender them to the authorities as outlined under the Townsville Peace Agreement.

He said this would help Guadalcanal provide a free and safe environment conducive to development.

Mr. Thuguvoda said the future of Guadalcanal lies in the hands of the young generation and society looks upon them for good leadership.

Meanwhile, senior public officers have been reminded of the need to promote investment in the private sector to enhance economic development.

The comment was made at a debriefing session for senior public officials on the recent meeting of Melanesian Trade and Economic officials in Papua New Guinea.

In other developments:

* The Makira-Ulawa Provincial Premier said his government will be recommending to the Provincial Education Authority to be lenient in allowing students to attend schools, even if it may mean non-payment of fees for some time.

Premier Daniel Nahusu said that the problem is a national one, experienced by many parents.

He cited the lack of payment for copra by the Commodities Export Marketing Authority as a major contributing factor.

Premier Nahusu added that the majority of parents in the country depend on copra as their only source of money to pay for school fees.

* The Geneva-based United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights will send a human rights technical cooperation needs assessment mission to the Solomon Islands next month.

This is in response to a request made late last year by Solomon Islands' Ambassador to the European Union, Robert Sisilo.

The mission will consult with relevant government authorities, NGOs and others to identify the most appropriate areas for assistance.

* Community leaders in Munda, Western Province, have requested the Director of Success Company, Bobo Detke, to return from Vanuatu and start tar sealing the Noro-Munda road.

One of the community leaders, Billy Gina, said his group will confer with the relevant authorities and request that action be taken against the company if it fails to honor the tar-sealing contract by the end of this month.

Mr. Gina alleged that Mr. Detke collected the project fees last July after being awarded the contract, but left for Vanuatu without carrying out the job.

Mr. Gina said the condition of the Noro-Munda road is now very poor and it is affecting business activities in the area.

Mr. Gina dismissed the ethnic tension in the country or disputes among landowners as legitimate reason for the project’s delay.

Mr. Detke countered that government had officially written him to suspend work on the project because of the ethnic tension.

* Bishop Patteson Theological College, Kohimarama, West Guadalcanal, will resume its academic year on Monday.

The principal of the College, Reverend Sam Ata, told SIBC that 80 students are expected. He said 15 students from Vanuatu will among them.

Reverend Ata said the college prematurely ended its classes last July due to difficulties in obtaining food, fuel and medicine as a result the ethnic crisis.

But he added that in spite of the early closure, students pursued practical theological training work in various communities.

* The Japan International Cooperation Agency ( JICA) resident representative will return to the Solomon Islands this month to re-start the organization’s programs. But many of the former Japanese volunteers will not be returning.

The caretaker officer in Honiara, James Teobasi, said many of the volunteers' contracts have expired and others have gone to other countries that needed their assistance.

Japanese volunteers left the country at the height of the ethnic conflict on Guadalcanal.

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: 


HONIARA, Solomon Islands (January 10, 2001 – Radio Australia)---The Solomon Islands' Electoral Commission is working on amendments to the country's election laws, aimed at discouraging politicians from switching party allegiances.

Among the changes is the requirement for political parties wishing to contest general elections to register with the Electoral Commission in the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Solomon Islands' chief electoral officer John Babalu said current provisions only require political parties to register with the Office of the Registrar General.

The Solomons amendments would be similar to the electoral system of its neighbor, Vanuatu.

In Vanuatu, Members of Parliament who abandon their political parties for another automatically lose their seats.

Mr. Babalu said the proposal also includes changes to the method of voting, and having his office responsible for both provincial and Honiara city elections.

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

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