The visit was an opportunity for the Australian and New Zealand High Commissioners to see the Bina Harbor Tuna Processing Plant Project site and to meet with the Elders and people of Bina. This visit demonstrates the strong interest and commitment that the Governments of Australian and New Zealand have towards the BHTPP project.
During the Development Partners’ visit the Bina Talifu Trustees’ representative, Ms. Eremina Gilogilo said the visit brings hope to the people of Malaita Province. “We are in an historical time. Bina has been in written records for almost 100 years now. The visit today is a big leap forward and brings about hope in putting reality to that 100-year-old development dream,” she said.
The Australian High Commissioner, H.E Lachlan Stratham in responding to the welcome from Ms Gilogilo said that the Bina Talifu land and its surrounding appears to be a site that very well matches the criteria for development of a tuna port and for establishment of a tuna processing plant.
He went on to note that the Australian Government is supporting the Solomon Islands Infrastructure Programme and other initiatives that may be able to assist bring the BHTPP project to reality under the leadership of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR).
The New Zealand High Commissioner, H.E Georgina Roberts responded to Ms Gilogilo’s welcome in Maori, to the delight of the audience and went on to note that New Zealand’s long-term financial and technical support to MFMR through the Mekem Strong Solomon Islands Fisheries (MSSIF) program. She said that New Zealand Government is committed to supporting a dedicated Project Management Unit and the establishment of legal and commercial entities for the project.
The Minister of Fisheries, Hon Nestor Giro in his remarks assured the Bina community that the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA) has made clear its commitment to bringing development to Malaita. “The DCGA is committed to bringing real developments to Malaita and we believe that the Bina project can do that by making better use of our tuna resources to drive economic growth, provide jobs, livelihoods and enhance social equity”, said the Minister.
The Supervising Premier of Malaita Province, Hon Nelson Lenty in his official closing remarks said that the Malaita Provincial Government will continue to work with MFMR, Bina people and Development Partners in fulfilling its mandate under the provincial laws.
“Our commitment is unceasing and we will ensure to perform the tasks required as allowed by the resources available to us. This is our resolution and we will stand by it. The Malaita Alliance for Rural Advancement (MARA) government stands with you and will work tirelessly to fulfil this crucial project”, Hon Lenty said. // Source: John Ice (Bina Project Communication Officer)