9 Sep 2013

Solomons can't afford expensive overseas trips says academic

3:19 pm on 9 September 2013

A Solomon Islands academic says his country's economy cannot afford expensive overseas engagements.

The comment comes in the lead-up to the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York later this month, to which the deputy prime minister Manasseh Maelanga is to take 12 Solomon Islands government officials.

The Centre for Pacific Studies at the University of Hawaii's Tarcisius Tara Kabutaulaka says he turned down an invitation to last year's assembly meeting because he was unsure of what he was meant to contribute.

Dr Kabutaulaka says such trips are often kickbacks to cronies and political supporters who make no contribution.

"And I can say this with confidence because I used to work for an organisation that organised meetings and a lot of people come to these meetings and are not attending the meeting or if they do are not doing anything during the meetings."

Tarcisius Tara Kabutaulaka says it is still not clear how attendance at last year's UN General Assembly meeting benefitted Solomon Islands.