A dominant tribal group in North Star Harbour, Makira province, has welcomed with open arms the Democratic for Change Coalition (DCC) Government’s outlined policy to invigorate development in rural areas with the establishment of economic growth centres right down in the rural areas of each province.
Recently during a Government Communications Unit officer’s tour of East Makira, it was discovered that more and more rural people are eager to see genuine developments driven by government in their areas.
Chief John Kikisia of Tawaroga in North Star Harbour, East Makira Constituency, said that he has rallied together his tribal group of principal ‘land-owners’ together with other ‘land-users’ groups recently and they have unanimously agreed to offer their land area for the national government’s intended ‘economic growth centre’ developments or other relevant development initiatives that are destined for rural areas.
“I have met with my tribal group and other tribal parties and we have come to terms with the fact that developments meant to make a difference in our lives, enhance our living conditions and to utilize our untapped resources sustainably must be welcomed with open arms especially when such significant undertakings are initiated by the national government,” Chief Kikisia stressed.
He further revealed that they have already identified a sizeable land area adjoining an ideal seaport site to be offered to the national government for its intended ‘economic growth centre’ development incentives.
And they hope this goodwill gesture would stir the responsible government authorities to visit them soon to carry out information awareness and holding of other relevant vital discussions with his tribal community and people of Tawaroga village, the chief highlighted.
He stressed that so often the government has been hindered from developing our provinces, let alone this nation, because of land disputes originated and orchestrated by us the people in the rural areas.
“Some land disputes to my understanding can be for genuine reasons but more often a number of these disputes have been orchestrated mainly to hinder development out of greed, envy, and protectiveness normally brought on by very few people who have individualistic motives and lack communalistic interests,” Mr Kikisia explained.
He called on the DCCG officers who are being mandated to oversee the task of formulating and establishing of socio-economic developments earmarked for rural areas to actually go down to the rural areas and hold talks, discussions and awareness with the resource owners.
“For far too long authorities in Honiara use the urban-oriented media in the hope that the people in the rural remote areas receive vital government information, well, not everyone will have access to information and furthermore the prospect of information misinterpretation is very high causing confusion amongst people,” according to Chief Kikisia.
Chief Kikisia has revealed that he has briefly raised his people’s proposed offer to their Provincial Member for ward 14 and has also mentioned it to the East Makira Constituency’s Constituency Development Officer (CDO) and hopes they would steer them toward some tangible arrangements, processes or results soon on how to reach the government rather than remaining oblivious to the genuine wishes of the people.
He cited the fact that he opted for the media to voice his people’s wishes because it is an important tool in the dissemination of information and a source of feed-back therefore he hoped the government or any relevant authority would take note of their willingness to offer land for government developments and visit them soon.
Meanwhile, the chief has again called on the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO), Makira Provincial Disaster Office and other relevant government departments to immediately address the food crisis in Star Harbour and the outlying islands of Santa Ana and Santa Catalina.
“Beginning in late April to July these areas have had to suffer incessant heavy rainfall that has caused massive destruction to their food crops such as bananas, taro, cassava, potatoes and gardening has also come to a halt,” chief Kikisia said.
He reiterated this call because since this looming food shortage was reported to responsible authority and in the media late in July, there is still no assistance reaching his people.
George Mackenzie Siapu
Government Communications Unit