Beck condemns Island Sun report - Solomon Star News

Beck condemns Island Sun report

08 January 2020
Collin Beck.

THE Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade Collin Beck has condemned an Island Sun report that claimed he shot down a suggestion to send firefighters to Australia.

The article further suggested that the ministry has downgraded its presence in Australia.

But Beck clarified that contrary to that, Acting Prime Minister Manasseh Maelanga wrote to his Australian counterpart, offering the service of the country’s fire brigade.

The letter of condolence and support from Government was sent through diplomatic channels this week.

Beck clarified that the country has increased its presence in Australia and investing more personnel to manage Solomon Islands–Australia relations.

“Solomon Islands now have a consulate general in Brisbane and a high commission in Canberra,” Beck said. 

“Designate High Commissioner Robert Sisilo is due to travel out to Canberra this month,” he added.

“The article further misinformed the reading public stating that Counsellor Helen Beck will be crossed posted to Brisbane. 

“Counsellor Beck is due back in the country this year. 

“She will return from Canberra as soon as the new high commissioner settles in Canberra.  

“Our presence in Australia will be further beefed up with an additional staff in Brisbane. 

“Acting high Commissioner Walter Diamana will be supporting the new High Commissioner as the deputy. 

“Australia is Solomon Islands permanent neighbour, connected by geography. Australia is a good friend and neighbour to Solomon Islands. 

“Misrepresenting and misreporting Solomon Islands–Australia relations at a time when our neighbour Australia is hurting by fire storm is irresponsible.”

Beck said the Government will be making a contribution to support Australia, a gesture to a friend, wantok and neighbour. 

“Thoughts and prayers are with the government and people of Australia during this difficult period.”

Meanwhile, he said an Interim Committee was formed to conduct arrangements with non-government organisations, NGO’s and other stakeholders to raise funds to support Australia.