By WILSON SAENI
A GOVERNMENT delegation visiting Malaita was given a hostile reception by the public during an open forum they conducted on the SINO-SI relationship outside the Auki Market, Tuesday.
Deputy Prime Minister Manasseh Maelanga led the delegation, which comprised of Malaita MPs on the government side and officials.
The crowd clearly showed their displeasure of the awareness talks conducted by the delegation by displaying banners showing their disapproval of the SINO-SI relationship.
Some members of the public used spray paints to paint slogans on the road and walls showing disapproval of the China switch.
The unwillingness of the crowd to listen to the awareness talks irritated the MPs and presenters.
The government delegation held two meetings yesterday - the first with the MPAs, chiefs, church reps, and Malaita for Democracy (M4D).
This happened in a quiet and polite manner.
The second meeting, which was a public forum on the SINO-SI relationship, was conducted at the Auki Central Market in the evening.
The environment was tense and highly-charged.
Part of the crowd demonstrated their unwillingness to listen by walking away when Maelanga was doing a presentation.
Other MPs who did presentations also received their fair share of hostility from the crowd.
But there were others who took the chance to listen and get the message.
They thanked the delegation for clearing their stance on the China switch.
Meanwhile, Maelanga said working together is the way forward to development Malaita.
He stated this when he met members of the Malaita Provincial Assembly, chiefs, church reps, and members of Malaita for Democracy (M4D).
He said all projects that come down to the province has to come through the national government, stating this is why it is important for the province to work together with the national government to achieve its development goals.
Maelanga said Bina Harbour development and the construction of a new hospital for Malaita are projects that have been lined up for the province.
The United States has offered to support the Bina Harbour development while Japan has offered to build the new hospital.
Secretary to negotiate the project just after Suidani took office as the Malaita Premier.