All provincial members elect new premier
GUADALCANAL’S newly-elected provincial members united in force to elect their new premier yesterday.
He is Bartholomew Vavanga, 59, of Ghaobata ward in northeast Guadalcanal.
All 21 members of the assembly, including his only opponent Peter Araonisaka, cast their ballots for Mr Vavanga, to earn him a 21-0 victory.
This was the first time in the history of Guadalcanal for all provincial members to stand together and united elect a premier.
Speaking after his election, Mr Vavanga told the Solomon Star the outcome of the election demonstrated cooperation and oneness by all provincial members to make a change on Guadalcanal.
He said political and leadership instability in the last four years has brought the province to its knees.
“Now we wanted to stand united and make a new start for the province and its people,” he said.
“The result of the election showed all members wanted to move together to progress development in the province,” he said.
Mr Vavanga added his new government looks forward to working together with the Sogavare government to implement outstanding projects on Guadalcanal, citing the province’s proposed headquarters at Doma, Tina Hydro Project, and the reopening of Gold Ridge mine.
Mr Vavanga started his primary school education at Alaogaona during the colonial days, and first made his way into the then Area Council as a councillor for one of the four councils on Guadalcanal in the 1970s.
He was then elected into Guadalcanal Provincial Assembly in 1989 until 1993 when he lost the seat to former premier Stephen Panga.
During his time in the provincial government, he held ministerial portfolios in Finance and Agriculture and negotiated the sister relationship with a province in China.
He has also held various chairmanship posts with Nguvia School, his small Anglican community in his ward, and vice president of Ghaobata House of Chief.
He was also a member of Anglican General Synod.
Meanwhile, Abel Arambola was re-elected Speaker of the Provincial Assembly.
By EDDIE OSIFELO