The Unity Square has been officially opened this morning with the Premier of Guadalcanal Province Francis Sade urging “our people to use the space to showcase the richness of our diversities while at the same time express and celebrate our unity as a country.”
Standing at 50 meters high between the domestic and international jetty of Solomon Ports at Point Cruz, the flag-pole is the tallest in the country and the region.
Delivering an eloquent speech on behalf of the Premiers this morning, Sade said: “I am sure that those who envisioned a Unity Square saw it, not only as a monument that marks our shared national identity, but also as a space where our people from diverse cultures, languages, and ethnic groups can gather to showcase the richness of our diversities while at the same time express and celebrate our unity as a country.”
He said: “As we know, our country is culturally, linguistically, and ethnically diverse.
“This diversity has often been portrayed as a challenge to building national consciousness in our country. Our many languages and cultures have often been portrayed as a liability to national unity because it is often seen as privileging provincial and island identities and hence engender divisions, weaken state institutions, has contributed to conflicts and hinders socio-economic development. It is therefore argued that we do not have a sense of nationalism and that in order to build and strengthen national consciousness, we must abandon and erase our diverse cultures and languages. I want to challenge that narrative and argue that our cultural and ethno-linguistic diversities are not liabilities or hindrances to our nationalism. Rather, they enrich and bless our country and are the foundation and essence of our unity. Our diversities should be harnessed, celebrated and taught in our school systems and to each other. Our unity should be woven with the colourful fronds of our diversity. Our diversity should be our pillar of strength and resilience in a world that pushes for submission to a single culture, language and economic system,” he told those who attended the opening including the Prime Minister.
He adds: “Our Provincial governments also enrich our country by providing the link between our various provinces and the Central Government. The provinces and Honiara City Council are therefore the pillars that hold up the banner that frames our unity in diversity. We can be united in our diversities without necessarily being culturally and ethno-linguistically homogenous. We do not have to give up our diversities to be united.”
Premier Sade said: “Our Provinces, which are the homes of a majority of our people, are the lungs that help breathe unity under this one banner. It is therefore important that we acknowledge the important roles that provinces and provincial governments play and accord them with the necessary resources that will enable them to continue to perform these roles.”