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SOLOMONS’ TEMOTU GETS PASSENGER BOAT Taiwan picks up most of the cost

By Moffat Mamu HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Oct. 2, 2009) – TEMOTU Pele Constituency yesterday took delivery of its new passenger vessel from the Government.This was after MV Sunrise was commissioned in Honiara.

The passenger vessel, which cost about SB$4 million [US$535,000]

was funded with assistance from the government through budget support from Taiwan.

Government provided $1.75 million while Temotu Pele constituency contributed through its Rural Constituency Development Fund (RCDF) and Millennium Development Fund.

The boat was bought from Busan in Korea and arrived few weeks ago after four months of repair works.

Prime Minister Dr Derek Sikua was absent due to his engagement in a seminar organised for the MPs at the parliament.

In his absence, Minister of Infrastructure and supervising Minister for Rural Development Stanley Festus Sofu handed over the keys of the vessel to the custodian of the Temotu Pele constituency.

Minister Sofu in his keynote address said the purchase of the boat came about as a partnership between the government, Temotu Pele constituency and Taiwan.

He said the arrival of the boat would definately ease the unreliable shipping services faced by the people of the constituency and Temotu Province.

He called on the people of Temotu Pele to respect the asset and support its operations in the coming years because shipping is very challenging business.

Temotu Pele MP Martin Magga who made his first public appearance yesterday said the shipping project was one of his long time dreams.

Despite his health he was able to walk with the support of a walking stick and speak during the occasion.

He said his people have faced shipping hardship for years and having ship would help support the social and economic services in the constituency and the province.

He thanked the national and Taiwan government for their financial support.

Ambassador of Taiwan George Chan said his government is committed to supporting such projects to help the rural people.

He said the achievement by Mr Magga to get the ship is a manifestation of a partnership and a man with vision.

Mr Chan said it also shows that the Taiwan fund which was channelled down to the government was properly utilised properly.

He vowed that Taiwan will continue to support Solomon Islands in its development aspirations.

Close to 200 people and guests witnessed the ceremony at the Point Cruz wharf despite the afternoon showers.

Other guests include MP for Temotu Vatud Clay Forau, Permanent Secretary of Rural Development Clay Forau, staff from Taiwan office, Ports official and the Marine Division.

The boat will make its maiden voyage to the eastern province later this month.

A shipping management had been formed to operate the vessel.


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