Link: Pacific Islands Report
Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Association Denies Responsibility Over Solomons Dolphin Kill
Claims EII breached terms for compensation to villages

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Jan. 31, 2013) – The Fanalei Honiara-Based Association has rejected claims it is responsible for the breakdown in a long-term ban on the hunting and killing of dolphins in the Solomon Islands by the people of Fanalei and Walande in Small Malaita.

Earth Island Institute’s (EII) local representative Lawrence Makili made the accusations recently.

But in a statement, the association said Earth Island Institute was merely putting the blame on them for its own failure in breaching the terms of the MOU it had signed with the communities of Fanalei and Walande.

"Earth Island Institute failed to pay-up SBD$1.7 million [US$229,670], the remaining part of the SBD$2.4 million [US$324,240] it had promised to compensate the people of Fanalei and Walande for refraining from their traditional hunting and killing of dolphins for a period of two years," the statement said.

It added the life of the two-year ban had exhausted or expired in April 2012.

"Earth Island Institute failed to release the rest of the money intended as a complementary income to meet their monetary obligations. This is for doing away with trading dolphin meat and teeth as their major source of earning money.

"Earth Island Institute must refrain from attempting to continue its association with the two communities since the agreement linking them with the communities had expired."

In the meantime, an elder from Fanalei, Philip Ouou, had dismissed claims by Wilson Filei accusing the Fanalei Honiara Based Association of meddling in the affairs of Earth Island Institute with the communities of Fanalei and Walande.

Mr. Ouou said the community of Fanalei no longer trusts Filei as having credibility to lead his community because of his dubious dealings with Earth Island Institute without proper consultation with the Fanalei community.

"In view of that the community of Fanalei had unanimously terminated his former role as chief of the village," Mr. Ouou said.

He said the recent media statements by Filei, accusing the Fanalei community for resuming hunting of dolphins without his consent, had sparked angry reaction from the people of Fanalei.

He added the community of Fanalei accused Filei of acting alone contrary to the interests of the people.

"Filei’s actions were based on serving his personal interest with Earth Island Institute.

"The Fanalei Honiara Based Association was established way back and mandated by the people of Fanalei community as its think-tank, which ensures their local communities do not fall prey to foreign scrupulous schemes with empty promises."

Mr. Ouou reminded Earth Island Institute that the only way it can strike any future deals with the dolphin hunters of Fanalei is through consultations with the Fanalei Honiara Based Association.

He said Earth Island Institute is wasting its time and money dealing through a person who no longer holds any respect from the community.

[PIR editor's note: Meanwhile, local dive operator Danny Kennedy says the dispute is affecting tourism in the country and has urged government to step in and help resolve the situation between EII and the village communities.]

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