$876,000 Tourism Education Deal Between Guadalcanal, Canadian Corporation Questioned

Only 2 out of 100 tourism program graduates have succeeded in getting training in Canada

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, July 3, 2017) – The education arrangement signed between the Guadalcanal province and the Canadian International Training and Education Corp (CITREC) of Canada has come under attack.

This follows allegation the deal has reaped little investment benefit for the province since 2012.

It was revealed that last week province has wired a sum of $650,000 [US$81,300] to the CITREC account, this latest payment meant Province has expended a total of about $7 million [US$876,000] to this date.

Under the education arrangement, Guadalcanal Province and CITREC would jointly fund tourism trainings for Guadalcanal students who after graduating would go over to Canada to gain work experience.

Since the inception of the arrangement six years ago, out of more than 100 students that have graduated only two students have gone to Canada for work experience.

Both students, a male and a female, had a six months attachment with restaurants there last year and have returned into the country already.

Provincial Member of Vatukulau Ward in South Guadalcanal, Rollen Seleso, said with almost $7 million [US$876,000] spent by the Province and only two students fulfilling the intention of the program, the deal needs to be reviewed immediately.

“Province cannot afford to spend large lump sums of money when the return of such investment is poor and inadequate.

“In addition given the weak revenue base of the Province, the viability of the CITREC arrangement needs to be looked into,” said Seleso.

Seleso added that it is apparent that the program is a failure in terms of the initial intention of the arrangement.

“Graduating students under the CITREC training have not been given the opportunity to gain work experience in Canada, many are still waiting to this day,” the Vatukulau MPA revealed.

The former Provincial deputy Premier also calls on the Ministry of Provincial Government and Auditor General’s Office to intervene and audit the payments made by Province under the CITREC education arrangement.

Mr Seleso said its about time that auditing must be done to the CITREC account to determine who were the recipients of the funds and how the money were spent.

“At the moment, little or no information is available to trace how the funds were being used,” Seleso added.

“For the purpose of transparency, accountability and good governance an audit must be executed the sooner the better,” Mr Seleso concluded.

Attempts by the paper to contact the Guadalcanal provincial premier or the CITREC officials on Sunday for comments proved unsuccessful.

Solomon Star
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