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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (SBIC, Mar. 1) - East Kwaio member of Parliament Alfred Sasako has described government plans to establish a flag of convenience shipping registery as another deal designed to embarrass the nation.

Sasako called on the Minister for Works to give the idea the flick.

Sasako was commenting on earlier media reports that the Minister for Works and his Permanent Secretary have been to Singapore where they held talks with a private firm aimed at setting up an international shipping registery in Solomon Islands.

The report quoted Permanent Secretary Sam Maezama as saying both he and Minister Bernard Giro have met with executives of the Singapore company, Sovereign Ventures.

Maezama said that a Memorandum of Agreement would be signed when the legal and administrative issues were sorted out.

But Sasako said the government would do well to check with neighboring Vanuatu and Tonga - the two Pacific Island nations that set up such shipping registries- so that it knows what it is getting itself into.

He noted that both Tonga and Vanuatu are getting out of the business after widely-reported abuses by Muslim terrorist groups.

Sasako said Vanuatu is worried that legal action in the United States might have frozen income from its register.

Tonga was embarrassed in a recent incident in the Middle East in which the Israeli Navy intercepted a boat flying the Tongan flag carrying arms for Palestinians.

He stressed that after the embarrassment of the Royal Association of Nations and Kingdoms deal, it appears the Minister of Works is headed straight for another cause for shame.

March 3, 2003

Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation: 

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