CHIEF Justice, Sir Albert Palmer, has urged the Ministry of Infrastructure and Development (MID) to give top priority to road repairs and maintenance in preparation for the Pacific Games in Honiara in November.
He also urged footpaths to be constructed for pedestrians and suggested if more street lights could be provided to light up not only the main road but also all the feeder roads into the city.
“This will help towards a safer city, especially at night time,” Sir Albert said at the opening of the 2023 Legal Year on Tuesday.
“Our strength as a country and in particular as a city is that our people naturally are friendly, respectful and considerate and so our city and towns are safe, secure and peaceful,” Sir Albert said.
“However, we should not become complacent with that,” he added.
Sir Albert said there is so much more that could be done to make our city more beautiful, safe and attractive and one of them are our roads which are in dire need of repair and maintenance.
He said whilst the country is extremely grateful to the Japanese Government for funding a new road network for the main road from White River to Henderson, all other feeder roads are in a very bad state.
The chief justice further added that having noted that the Ministry of Infrastructure Development (MID) is making arrangements to have the repairs done as a priority, he could only urge that this be given top priority so that not only full and complete 26 repairs and maintenance are done, but that these are done on a 24/7 basis, instead of every 4-6 months or longer.
He said irregular and inconsistent repairs and maintenance is the current problem with road works in the city.
“We support and endorse the call by the Permanent Secretary, Steven Maesiola, to consider reviving the ‘Public Works Division’ and establishing a ‘Roads and Bridges Section’ in MID.
“There are three immediate advantages or benefits this should provide, available labour, appropriate machinery and equipment, and materials to have repairs and maintenance done on a regular basis.
Apart from those issues, Sir Albert also suggested a consideration for high visibility policing in hotspots, roads, transport networks and local neighbourhoods, to reduce, prevent, disrupt, and respond to criminal activities.
“I note some of you may have fallen victim to acts of theft in certain areas of the city.
“It would be good if those areas are targeted to make them safe now and especially come November 2023.”
Sir Albert had on behalf of the Judiciary express support to the Government in its effort to provide and host the best games every.
“However, this is going to be a huge challenge for us, there is no time to lose as we have only about 10 months to go.
“Ideally, all the games facilities, stadium and venues that are still under construction, should be completed and ready by September 2023, which is only 8 months away.
“We wish the Government and nation all the best in its endeavors, and all our aspiring athletes the very best in their trainings and preparation to win as many medals as they can for our country.
In addition, Attorney General John Muria (Jnr) said several legislations reviews/amendments maybe required to enable us to host the games.
The judiciary and/or the Solomon Islands Bar Association may be asked to provide views on these reviews.
“I urge each and every one of us to take part in these reviews and assist the Government as we prepare to show case to the Region and the world our ability to host the Games.”
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN
Solomon Star, Honiara