This is a reality that we can no longer deny or pretend is not happening.
Most villages in Malaita today are empty of youths. Only the elderly, mothers, and school-aged children remained here.
The youths have drifted into town in search of jobs that don’t exist.
In Honiara, they are unemployed and rely on relatives, who themselves are struggling to feed their own immediate families.
Some moved in and built makeshift homes on the outskirts of the city. Today, illegal settlements around Honiara are sprawling out of control.
We are not blaming Malaitans here.
What we are saying is this is an issue that needs the urgent attention of our parliamentarians.
Friday night’s looting and rioting in Honiara reminded us of the pressing issue at hand. That we have a very tough and serious situation on our table to deal with.
The troubles were initiated by a few disgruntled so-called flood victims. It became what it was after unemployed youths who were looking for some fun joined in.
That’s the danger of having a large unemployed population in our city.
We’ve witnessed similar incidents in the past. The most recent was early this year when disgruntled youths broke the fence and stormed into the Julian Marley concert venue at Panatina.
In all incidents, Malaitan youths were in the centre of it all.
So where are the Malaitan parliamentarians?
What are they doing about this serious problem of urban migration?
What have they got for their province so that they keep their increasing youth population at home?
What have they done with the millions of dollars given in their care in the name of rural development?
Are the Malaitan MPs in tune with the current trend of youth migration at all?
May we suggest this.
Malaitan MPs should convene an urgent meeting to discuss this issue and map out ways to addressing the lack of development and economic opportunities in the province.
We are sure if there are economic and job opportunities in the province, many of the unemployed youths who daily roam the streets of Honiara aimlessly would not be taking the trouble to come over to the city.
Honiara is a now a cramped city.
The unwillingness of Guadalcanal landowners to allow for further expansion of the town boundary means the population will just have to make do with the current space.
The solution is to spread development to the provinces. Politicians always talk about this, but they never act on it.
What we are seeing instead is almost every development project they talked about always comes back to Honiara.
Friday night’s disturbances warned us again that we cannot continue down that path.
Parliamentarians must wake up to the truth and seriously address Honiara’s high unemployment rate and increasing youth urban migration.