PERMANENT Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, MFAET, Collin Beck has condemned media reports suggesting that the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External trade shot down a suggestion to send fire fighters to Australia.
The article in the island sun further suggested that the ministry has downgraded its presence in Australia.
However, Mr Beck clarified that contrary to that, Solomon Islands Acting Prime Minister wrote to his Australian counterpart, offering the service of the country’s fire brigade.
The letter of condolence and support from Solomon Islands Government was sent through diplomatic channels this week.
Mr 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.
Designate High Commissioner, Sisilo is due to travel out to Canberra this month.
The article further misinformed the public reading 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 after the new high commissioner settles in Canberra.
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 High Commissioner’s 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.
The Solomon Islands 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, an Interim Committee was formed to conduct arrangements with non-government organisations, NGO’s and other stakeholders to raise funds to support Australia.