Melanesian solidarity scores big win with Vanuatu-Solomon Islands border treaty

PM Salwai and Solomon Islands PM Sogavare at the maritime boundary treaty ceremony in Mota Lava last week. Photo: Solomon Islands Govt

PM Salwai and Solomon Islands PM Sogavare at the maritime boundary treaty ceremony in Mota Lava last week. Photo: Solomon Islands Govt

The efforts to create a Melanesian style border treaty with Solomon Islands are described as historic. “Melanesian solidarity” is certainly visible. Head of State Baldwin Lonsdale was at Motalava for the event and for a Temotu–Torba cultural festival heralding the much greater exchange of goods and ideas expected between the two provinces. Prime Ministers Sogavare and Salwai each led delegations to a natangura faréa where the border document was signed. Solomon Islands PM Sogavare will be assisting Vanuatu with border questions for Vanuatu relative to Fiji and New Caledonia. The ceremony took place with background music of the bamboo bands so common in both Banks and Temotu cultures. Solomon Islanders from the Santa Cruz Group have for a long time sought to come to Vanuatu to work in Luganville where the wages were always greater than in Honiara and the distance needing to be travelled to home shorter. However, it is not yet known if immigration procedures are going to be changed with the new border treaty. (Daily Post)

All media this week have been trying to clarify government practice concerning unpaid storage and container fees of the Customs Department which has ended up selling certain relief supplies. This was because they could not be cleared quickly and storage fees had become expensive. Government has done its best to arrange quick despatch of Cyclone Pam relief materials without duty payment to humanitarian partners like NGOs, the Climate Change Minister Ham Lini observed. Minister Lini claimed there had been too much negative reporting of the circumstances surrounding a recent Customs sale. This sale had included many items which were not strictly related to relief efforts.

An importation that was intended for the best of motives has been undermined by a communications failure. IFAD (the International Fund for Agricultural Development) sent some tonness of potatoes from New Zealand which were intended to be used as growing material to renew the potato industry which round Independence was thriving on Tanna. The shipment was left out in the open at the Tagabe premises of the Agriculture Department where it rotted, rather than being used to start a nursery.

And Fest’Napuan begins today with Fest’Nalenga and ends on Sunday with Zion Fest. TBV is broadcasting the entire event.