Premiers of Guadalcanal and Malaita have come together today to issue a statement in support of new development assistance coming from US government.
Premier Sade of Guadalcanal and Premier Suidani of Malaita made this joint statement in response to comments made by PM Sogavare which talked about the past ethnic tension.
“As provinces involved in the past problems, Guadalcanal and Malaita commit to being cornerstones of the united Solomon Islands. And we wish to recognise that the US government assistance is already contributing to a united Solomon Islands.”
In response to the PM statement, the two Premiers wished to assure the US government that there is nothing wrong with the US government support for provinces. They also registered their support of the current approach of US government via its focus on provinces, and especially with the initial focus on Malaita.
Premier Sade and Suidani pointed out that unbalanced development was one of the root causes of the tension. “We all know that there needs to be a spreading of development away from Honiara. The focus on Malaita is an important part of bringing our country together.”
Premier Sade and Suidani called for renewed donor focus on Provinces to ensure balanced development.
The two Premiers emphasised that even having SCALE program offices located in Malaita is already bringing their two Provinces together. The Premiers said “USAID making its SCALE office in Auki strengthens Solomon Islanders to recognise that Honiara is not the only place for working together as a nation.”
The Premiers pointed out that they support the USAID SCALE focus on Malaita Province because there has not been enough done by donors on Malaita in the past. “We support the US government focus on Malaita. What is good for Malaita is good for Solomon Islands. When Malaita develops, Solomon Islands develops.”
At the same time the Premiers also urged more focus on Guadalcanal Province, and not just Honiara.
“Guadalcanal Province has missed out on so many opportunities, even though Honiara absorbs so many resources. Developing Honiara is not the same as developing Guadalcanal. A new focus on the Province of Guadalcanal is important to change this.”
The Premiers furthermore encouraged other donors to follow the lead of US and focus activities directly on the Provinces. “Our brother Premiers of all the Provinces are crying out for support. This is a reality.”
In terms of building peace and stability, the two premiers called for a renewed focus on the National Transport Core which would setup a transport core between Western, Guadalcanal and Malaita with a network going out to all the 9 provinces and 50 constituencies.
“US government has indicated interest in support of National Transport Core. This is the type of development that will bring our peoples together and help us grow in “Joy, Peace and Prosperity” as our anthem says.” The Premier’s ended their statement “God Save Our Solomon Islands from Shore to Shore”.
- Joint Statement Issued tonight-