Solomons Reportedly Close To Lifting Ban On Beche-De-Mer Harvesting

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PM accused of politically interfering with Minister of Fisheries

By Jeremy Inifiri

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, August 22, 2014) – Well-place government sources say the ban on beche-de-mer harvesting and export and may be lifted sooner than anticipated.

One source told the Solomon Star Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo had stepped in to ensure the ban is lifted as soon as possible.

The source also revealed that Prime Minister Lilo has directed the Attorney General to hand in the regulations which will then be signed by the supervising Fisheries Minister, Clay Forau to have the ban lifted.

This came just a week after both the government and the Ministry of Fisheries said that the Cabinet has yet to meet and approve any of such actions to take place.

However, the source said that Cabinet had already met and approved the Management Plan for the lifting of the ban on BDM last month, with only the regulations left to be signed by the Minister of Fisheries before the ban is lifted.

"The Prime Minister has again stepped in and politicised a national issue which should have been addressed by the minister responsible," the source said.

"The Attorney General had been advised to hand over the regulations so that the Minister of Fisheries or the supervising Minister should he (Minister of Fisheries) be away, can sign it and have the ban lifted.

"Foreign Affairs Minister, Clay Forau has stepped in as supervising Fisheries Minister since the Minister, Alfred Ghiro is still away on his Constituency visit," he said.

The source also revealed that Mr Forau will sign the regulations today, meaning that the ban will be lifted immediately.

When asked about the matter, the Prime Minister’s press secretary, Douglas Marau and the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, Robert Iroga both denied the reports.

"We have not heard any of such and Cabinet has not yet met regarding the issue," Mr Iroga said.

Attorney General, Billy Titiulu could not be reached for comments on the matter as well.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister and his delegation have left the country on Thursday for a Business Forum in Australia.

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