The PNG High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, H.E. Mr. Fred Yakasa officially welcomed John Numapo as the new Chief Magistrate of Solomon Islands at a welcome reception hosted by the High Commissioner at their new Chancery Office in Honiara on Thursday.
The reception was attended by Mr Numapo, Permanent Secretary for Justice,Mr.Freddy Mesa,the Deputy Chief Magistrate, Pastor Titus Luther of the Foursquare Church and PNG High Commission staff.
PNG High Commissioner Fred Yakasa on behalf of the Government and the people of Papua New Guinea thanked the Government of Solomon Islands for appointing Mr Numapo as the Chief Magistrate of Solomon Islands.
John Numapo is the former Chief Magistrate of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea. He served as the Chief Magistrate of PNG for 8 years (2001-2009). Prior to being appointed as Chief Magistrate, he served as the Deputy Chief Magistrate for 3 years (1999-2001). Prior to that he served as a District Court Magistrate from 1986 – 1998. Overall, Mr Numapo has more than 24 years’ experience in PNG’s Magisterial Services and no doubt, brings with a wealth of experience into his new role.
He holds a Diploma in Magisterial Studies, a Bachelor of Laws Degree (LLB) With Honours from the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) and a Master of Laws from University of Melbourne, Australia.
One of the pinnacles in Mr Numapo’s term as Chief Magistrate of PNG was his push for the Magisterial Services to achieve a full self- autonomy status with its own budget and administration set up.
This was achieved in 2003 when Magisterial Service separated from the Higher Judiciary.
Self-autonomy ensures that the executive arm of Government has very limited control and influence over the finances, administration and operations of the Courts in the country hence strengthening the notion of separation of powers between the three-arms of government. This was a milestone achievement indeed.
Speaking at the reception High Commissioner Yakasa added that PNG and Solomon Islands have almost everything in common. Our cultures are diverse but common and similar in many ways. The inter-marriages and people to people connection along the sea borders and main land have existed long before our two countries formally established our Diplomatic Relations.
As developing countries, our law and order issues are much more similar comparing to other countries.
The problems and challenges both countries face are similar and for someone like John Numapo with such calibre is an invaluable gain to the Judiciary Services of Solomon Islands.
In saying this, Mr Numapo is not a new comer to the judiciary sector of this country. His involvement with the Solomon Islands Judiciary dates back to his past life as the Chief Magistrate of Papua New Guinea from 2001-2009.
He was instrumental in developing an MOU on a Judicial Assistance Program under which three (3) Principal Magistrates from PNG were deployed to work here in Solomon Islands for a period 5 years from 2004 – 2009 at the request of the Solomon Islands Government.
The MOU has since expired but discussions are currently underway to renew it.
At the recent PNG-SI 12th Senior Officials Meeting in April 2016, in Kokopo, East New Britain Province, PNG, both countries reaffirmed their commitment towards renewing this arrangement.
“Mr Numapo has previously worked as a Judicial Advisor to the Magistrates Court under Australian Government (DFAT) funded SIJP for the last 3 years or so thus he is quite familiar with the issues, problems and challenges faced by the Courts here.
“With his vast knowledge and experience I am confident that he will contribute meaningfully and add value towards the delivery of judicial service and strengthening the rule of law in Solomon Islands” High Commissioner Yakasa further added.
PNG is the closest Melanesian brother and a development partner of Solomon Islands thus we are committed towards working together to achieve our development objectives and aspirations.
PNG continues to play a significant role in the development of this country in many areas such as education, grant assistance, trade and investment to name a few. PNG is committed and stands ready to assist Solomon Islands in whatever areas we can through our mutual existing bilateral relationship.
Mr. Numapo is adding to the many contributions PNGans are putting into Solomon Island’s development aspirations.
“We have a few expert PNGans working in various government sectors such as health, Banking Services and in various private Sectors and Regional Organizations.
“I therefore encourage this kind of partnership in exchange of our resources in both Countries to continue.
“In PNG we have many Solomon Islanders in the Medical field working as Doctors and I understand there are more in other fields.
“We understand our local settings well and therefore people from both our Countries must first look at our own resources before we look at elsewhere.
“I believe we now have abundance of experts from both countries. We need to trust and believe in ourselves and the partnership we have for many years.
“With these remarks may I on behalf of the PNG Government and the PNG High Commission here, my staff, their families and the PNG Community in Honiara congratulate you, Your Worship, Mr. John Numapo you on your appointment by the Solomon Islands Government as their Chief Magistrate.
“I have every confidence that you will deliver to the Government and people of Solomon Islands their expectation, as you come in with a very balanced background and experience, as you have demonstrated in PNG and in your engagement here with the Judiciary prior to this appointment.
“May you also be a good ambassador for PNG during your engagement.
“Congratulations and May God Bless.”