Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare has been encouraged to ensure that Solomon Islands fully utilises the labour mobility opportunities provided with under its technical cooperation agreement with Canada.
The Solomon Islands Consular General in Canada Mr Ashwant Dwevedi uttered the encouragement when he called on the Prime Minister this morning to discuss the training and job opportunities available for Solomon Islanders in Canada under this agreement and how to go about fully utilising them as well as other potential areas of cooperation.
The Consular General said Guadalcanal Province has signed an agreement with the Canadian Government through the Canadian Province of Saskatchewan, opening up opportunities for the Canadian Education Scholarship Awards for the people of Guadalcanal.
He said the short-term trainings provided under these scholarship awards are designed to prepare the recipients in the agriculture and the tourism and hospitality sectors in Canada.
Mr Dwevedi said the Solomon Islands Government should take a national approach towards these training and job opportunities so that all Solomon Islanders can benefit.
The Consular General said the Canadian Government after looking through a proposal he sent seeking labour mobility opportunities for Solomon Islands believe that the agriculture sector is the most appropriate for Solomon Islanders and is opening up opportunities for Solomon Islands workers in Saskatchewan farms.
He said Saskatchewan is one of the largest producers of lentils, dulls and chickpeas, grain and wheat and proposed that Solomon Islands begins participating in the labour mobility scheme with 500 to700 workers.
“If we start with 500 to 700 workers in the next four years, we can build our reputation to provide 2000 to 3000 quality people.”
Mr Dwevedi added that Solomon Islands is one of the 13 countries in the world that have free access to Canada through a visa-free agreement but unfortunately there has never been any high-level visit by the caliber of Prime Minister of Solomon Islands to Canada.
On this note, he encouraged Prime Minister Sogavare to seriously consider taking a state visit to Canada to ensure Solomon Islands fully utilises the opportunities provided under the two countries existing technical cooperation agreement and look at other opportunities that the agreement can be expanded to.
“I’m of the opinion that there should be a visit from you to Canada and if the instructions are given to me through your office to the High Commissioner back home then we can arrange a visit.”
“As your representative, I will immediately take this up with the Canadian Prime Minister and we will coordinate this as a state level visit. It should not be a state visit per se but one that ensures a return on many other sectors such as education training, university accreditation and many other areas of interest to you.
“I will organise various meetings for you as I am keen to pursue things that will bring tangible benefits to your government and people.”
In response, Prime Minister Sogavare said he was excited to learn of the opportunities provided to Solomon Islands by the Canadian Government and will ensure that Solomon Islands fully utilises them.
He told the Solomon Islands Consular General in Canada that he is looking forward to visiting Canada to further discuss current available opportunities as well as new areas of cooperation.