Gov’t Commissions Sisilo As High Commissioner-Designate To Canada

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His Excellency Robert Sisilo, foreground, pledging his Declaration of Loyalty during the commissioning ceremony at the Cabinet Chamber, as High Commissioner-designate to Canada.

Solomon Islands Permanent Representative to the United Nations, His Excellency Ambassador Robert Sisilo has been commissioned today as High Commissioner-designate to Canada.

His Excellency Ambassador Robert Sisilo took his oath before Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare today during the commissioning ceremony at the Cabinet Chamber where the Prime Minister also presented to Ambassador Sisilo his Letter of Introduction to the Canadian Government.

The commissioning ceremony was witnessed by the Supervising Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Hon John Maneniaru, Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Peter Kenilorea (Jnr), Secretary to Cabinet, James Remobatu and Chief of Protocol, Kereta Sanga.

Also present at the ceremony was the Premier of Guadalcanal Province, Hon Anthony Veke who attended as an invited guest, and senior officials from the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade.

In congratulating Ambassador Sisilo on his appointment as the High Commissioner to Canada, Prime Minister Sogavare reminded the diplomat of the important tasks ahead in his new appointment, in serving his country and its citizens abroad.

“As High Commissioner to Canada, your task is, first and foremost, to represent and promote the interests of the Government of Solomon Islands to the country to which you have been accredited. The Government and people of Solomon Islands expect you to provide sound advice and deliberation on all matters during your tenure in office.”

“You are the link between the Solomon Islands Government and the Government [of Canada] to which you have been accredited. In true Solomon Islands tradition, your office and home will be the safe haven for Solomon Islanders in times of need,” the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister also used the occasion to highlight the costly nature of operating and maintaining permanent diplomatic missions overseas in the face of the country’s weak financial situation, encouraging cost-saving measures that will not compromise the effective discharge of the High Commissioner’s duties while also warning against extravagance.

“Striking a balance between the effective discharge of your duties and minimising costs requires tact and diplomacy.”

“Your choice as Head of Mission, is therefore, no accident. I am confident that you are eminently fitted, both in your personal qualities and experience in the affairs of the State for the charge that the Government of Solomon Islands has entrusted on you,” Prime Minister Sogavare said.

In accepting the charge of responsibilities of his new posting, His Excellency Sisilo said he is honoured to be commissioned as the Ambassador-designate to Canada and thanked the Prime Minister and his Cabinet Ministers for putting the trust in him to lead the new Solomon Islands High Commission in Canada.

“Canada is an important partner of Solomon Islands. This partnership goes a long way back as former colonies of Great Britain and as members of the Commonwealth.”

“It is a country that continues to reach out to Solomon Islands on education, health, fisheries, adaptation to climate change, and recently, employment,” Ambassador Sisilo said.

Ambassador Sisilo said Canada offers a lot of potential for trade and investment, and cited the Canada International Training and Education Corp (CITREC) partnership with Guadalcanal Province as opening up the seasonal employment scheme for youths, but reiterated that issues of taxes and longer work permits need to be sorted out to realise the full potential of the partnership.

He said Canada may also offer potential for Solomon Islands to export vegetables and root crops like other Pacific Islands and this is something he would like to ‘aggressively’ pursue with the Solomon Islands Honorary Consular-General to Canada.

Ambassador Robert Sisilo said Canada has contributed to global efforts in climate change and sea-level rise adaptation programs, and Solomon Islands has recently benefitted from the UN-inspired Green Climate Fund that has attracted funding for the Tina River Hydro Project in Guadalcanal.

He said armed with and bound by the responsibilities he has been charged with in heading the new Canadian mission, he is now ready to pursue, defend and promote with vigour the interests of the Government and the people of Solomon Islands in Canada.

Ambassador Sisilo was commissioned as Solomon Islands’ Permanent Representative to the United Nations in January this year, and is also expected to be commissioned by the Governor General, Sir Frank Kabui, as Solomon Islands Ambassador to the United States next week before leaving to resume duties in New York.