Honiara, 5 April 2023: Officials from the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) working on the Bina Harbour Tuna Processing Plant Project paid a courtesy visit to new Malaita Premier Mr Martin Fini last week at the provincial Capital, Auki.
Meeting the Premier was the team from the Bina Region Arrangement for Governance (BRAG) led by BRAG Coordinator Michelle Lam, and the Bina Harbour Project Office (BHPO) team including Project Quality & Operations Manager Ann Rowley, Communications specialist Sarina Laurence and Chief Operating Officer Sophie Boucaut. In attendance was also a representative of the New Zealand High Commission in Solomon Islands Mr. Hamptan Pitu, and staff from the Malaita Provincial Fisheries office in Auki.
Mr. Hamptan Pitu, opened the discussion by noting the support for the Bina harbour development by the New Zealand Government through Mekem Strong Solomon Islands Fisheries (MSSIF) by providing a long-term technical assistance and funding support.
“The Bina Harbour Project is a top national priority for the Solomon Islands Government and strongly supported by New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (NZ MFAT) through the funding of the Project Office”, Mr Pitu said.
Ann Rowley of the BHPO briefed Premier and participants on the role of JID. “JID was funded by NZ MFAT to provide technical management and coordination of the Bina Harbour Project office (BHPO) for the next five years”.
She further noted that the BHPO is coordinating the inputs of government and development partners to the Bina Harbour development whilst overseeing the engagement and mobilisation of all the technical inputs required to bring the development to realisation.
BRAG Coordinator Michelle Lam explained the mandate given to the Ministry to lead the Bina Harbour Project.
“The Solomon Islands Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) is the Government Ministry responsible for driving the development of the Bina Harbour Tuna Processing Plant
Project in partnership with the Malaita Provincial Government (MPG) under an MOU signed in 2020,” said Ms Lam.
She also highlighted the role of BRAG within MFMR. BRGA is supported by the NZ MFAT, as a credible entity that is safeguarding the interests of the Bina and Langa Langa communities that hold rights over the land, water source and harbour required for the project.
In response, Premier Fini welcomed the delegation, acknowledging their efforts to make the courtesy visit, and the important work that is currently ongoing to prepare for the operation of the Bina Harbour Project.
Premier Fini further acknowledged the New Zealand Government and the hard work of the MFMR and landowners, who have been working together for several years to identify the land, water, and coastal resources for the project.
Premier Fini in his closing remarks said that the Provincial Government acknowledges the importance of the project and subsequent spin-offs that will benefit Bina residents, Malaita Province, and the rest of Solomon Islands. Premier Fini said his government will ensure it collaborates with the MFMR to implement this crucial project. /By John Ice- BHTPP Project