SOLOMONS LAWMAKER PUSHES SOLAR LIGHTING PROJECT

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Lusibaea’s project to benefit North Malaita

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Nov. 23, 2010) – Solomon Islands Advisory Committee and Constituency Development Officer (CDO) for North Malaita Constituency took delivery of 319 sets of solar panels and accessories yesterday.

These were bought from the constituency’s left-over balance of Rural Livelihood Fund allocation for 2010.

According to the Constituency Advisory Committee, the 319 sets of solar materials constitute phase one of a rural electrification vision by MP Jimmy Lusibaea.

Lusibaea, who last week pleaded guilty in the High Court and is in police custody awaiting sentence, has pledged to light up his entire constituency with solar lighting by 2014.

[PIR editor’s note: Jimmy Lusibaea (aka Jimmy Rasta) was a leader of the Malaita Eagle Force during the ethnic conflict in the Solomons. He surrendered in 2003 when the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands arrived. He’s facing charges of attempted murder, assault, and discharging firearm. See related story.]

He said he wants to see North Malaita Constituency stand apart from other constituencies starting from Aero River in Ward 7 to Taba’a River in Ward 9.

Within just four months in office, he started to fulfill his promise to the people amongst other ongoing projects to purchase these 319 sets of solar panels costing around SB$479,000 [US$58,000].

A statement from his advisory committee said in 2011, Lusibaea is planning to invest the Livelihood Funds for the second phase of this initiative comprising some 1,000 sets of solar materials.

"With the current consignment, it is expected that the three wards in North Malaita Constituency (wards 7, 8 and 9) will be allocated 100 solar panels each," the statement said.

"Distribution of the materials will be carried out next month once the Advisory Committee agrees on an allocation strategy.

"In another major project, Lusibaea has also invested SB$100,000 [US$12,000] in fuel to construct a new wharf at Malu’u.

"In addition to this, he allowed his heavy machine fleet for free as well as meeting the salaries for the machine operators to assist build this wharf for the constituency.

"The Constituency Advisory Committee and the CDO Ronnie Faiga thank Lusibaea for living up to his promises to the people as these initiatives are first of their kind for North Malaita Constituency," the statement said.

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