Culture minister responsible for Ontong Java metal bars : PM
The Minister for Culture and Tourism decides what to do with the metal bars stored at the Central Bank of Solomon Islands.
Prime Minister Rick Houenipwela made the clarification following a question raised by the Member of Parliament for Aoke Langalanga Mathew Wale on the status and progress in selling the Iron bars.
Prime Minister Houenipwela emphasised, these powers were spelled out in the ‘Act’ to protect wrecks and war relics.
“The powers to make decisions on what happens to the iron bars are vested in the minister for culture and tourism,” he said.
“The powers are derived from the protection of wrecks and war relics act , an act to secure war relics and vessels from unauthorized persons from exporting them.”
The Prime Minister said, at this point, the Minister had not decided on the what to do with the items.
He said preliminary test to determine the properties of the iron bars had been halted and specialists were being sought.
More than 70 metal bars were salvaged by Ontong Java villagers in 2016 but were seized by police and are being kept at CBSI.
By: Leni Dalavera.