South Guadalcanal underdevelopment - Solomon Star News

South Guadalcanal underdevelopment

18 April 2016
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Dear Editor - My recent trip to South Guadalcanal two weeks ago was simply exuberant. After years of being abroad, this short trip was a much needed one to reorient and immerse myself with the cultural norms and values, and to experience what it means to be truly ‘home.’

However, apart from my exuberant experience, I was disturbed to see the obvious state and deep indications of underdevelopment in terms of socio-economicfactors in the rural areas in the Nduidui Ward, South Guadalcanal Constituency.

As a rural dweller, it is indeed sad reality to see that these issue, inter alia, education, healthcare, and infrastructure (roads especially) lack any slight improvements in South Guadalcanal for the last 20 years.

In addition, it begs a much bigger question whether the Nduidui Ward MP, David Day Pacha understands the real struggling issues the constituency he supposed to be representing.

If there is any improvement, then it is very diminutive through clientelistic and patronage (MP’s unfair distribution of services to core supporters) approaches or perhaps these improvements

First off, education is one of the fundamental factors in human development and a basic human rights declared in the Universal Declarations of Human Rights (United Nation1948), not to mention the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

Sadly, most students in this country are deprived of this basic fundamental right due to the downright failure of the national government to prioritize quality education through pragmatic measures.

The real victims of these failures are the students in the rural areas, the peripheries, which the MPs are held accountable lack of educational development.

In South Guadalcanal about more than 1000 students didn’t have better access to education every year (estimated of 400 students in the Nduindui Ward alone). For students along the Tina River like Calvary, Lilisiani, Uraghai, Valeraoni, Chimba, Poisughu, Charanamate, Mataruka, and Vatungola, the nearest school, Mbabanakira School is located in the West Guadalcanal constituency.

The lack of education, let alone classroom buildings, is a serious problem for the students along the Tina River basin. Most students often risk their lives everyday just to attend an underprivileged school, which need major improvement in terms of new classroom buildings, library, science lab, etc. Simply put, students along the Tina River do not have any schools in their constituency, and this problem has been going on ever since.

Second, like the poor education, health care service is an alarming reality in most parts of the Weathercoast. Perhaps, the current healthcare service is literally way below the WHO standard.

For instance, the Mbabanakira Clinic – also located in the Ghari Ward (West Guadalcanal constituency) – caters for about more than 1000 rural dwellers (both Ghari and Poleo) and is very inhospitable. 

That is, it lacks the basic medical services and facilities. To make matters worse, only two nurses are serving the whole populace (including Poleo speakers).

On the other hand, the Tina River proves to be deadly for sick patients and students once it gets flooded. Technically speaking, the Mbabanikira clinic is for Ghari constituents; for South Guadalcanal constituents along the Tina River, the nearest health center is Mbiti Clinic, which is about 15km of walking distance to the coast.

Because of the poor medical facilities, most Poleo people along the Tina River (Lilisiani, UraghaiValeraoni Chimba, Poisughu, Vatungola) and as well as the Ghari (Marasa to Ghaovalisi) side, do not go to the clinic anymore, but to Mataruka Village to consult the retired General Practitioner, George Mangale, whose profound medical experience of over 30 years is phenomenal, invaluable, and life saving.

Another service that lacks any development since the past 12 years is infrastructure, roads. At the moment there are two roads, Komate Road and Marasa Road.

Because the Komate road is inaccessible, the Poleo constituents use the Marasa Road on regular basis. These roads are imperative for rural cocoa and copra farmers to engage in the local economy, informal sector. Likewise, ordinary rural dwellers use it for other purposes pertaining to their rural livelihood, development.

Local farmers would benefit most from commercialization in terms of cocoa and copra. They just need better agricultural facilities and subsidies from the government.

 The same goes for eco-tourism it is no doubt that, the fertile soil along the Tina River basin is suitable for such sustainable development. Furthermore, developing such areas through governmental subsidies would contribute to the country’s economy from the informal agricultural sector. Contributing to sustainable development, in contrast to the unsustainable practice of logging on few parts of West Guadalcanal.

It is so unfortunate that David Pacha continuously neglects all these three important services –basic necessities that any decent human being deserves– for the past 10 years.

Here, Pacha utterly fails to understand one of the basic democratic principles, where once voted in office he is to represent everyone’s basic interests, not just his supporters.

In other words, to a certain extent, Pacha by nature of democratic principle absolutely fails to represent the rest of the constituents whether or not they voted for him.

In all its probability, his clientelistic (serving the supporters through material inducements) approach is an ad hoc to the stagnant upward mobility in South Guadalcanal constituency.

It further depends, a zero sum game (winner gets all, losers gets nothing) for the voters vs. non-voters. As a result, it indirectly creates a political disenfranchisement in South Guadalcanal constituency.

Hence, Philosopher Immanuel Kant was right that individual interest could hurt everyone’s pursuits in a given society; this is very correct in South Guadalcanal.

 

On the contrary, if Pacha truly cares about the South Guadalcanal constituents, given the annual substantial amount of $6.68m ($26.72m/term in office) RCDF allocation from the DCC government; he could revolutionize or at least reform these current socio-economic problems within a year.

Moreover, Pacha could venture or tap into the abundant opportunities, in the agricultural and eco-tourism sectors for South Guadalcanal people to utilize their innate knowledge and skills.

Personally, I’m a very optimistic person, but given the plethora of empirical evidences within these 10 years on South Guadalcanal I’m starting to think otherwise. 

Thus, I feel compel to exercise one of my democratic rights to represent the voiceless by stating the obvious failures in hopes to bring about some sorts of positive change through this public (newspaper) forum.

If MP David Pacha, somehow feels uneasy about his performance, which he shouldn’t because the evidences are clear-cut, then all he needs to do is simply look back to what these 10 years of failures in means and explain to the rest of constituents why we haven’t seen any improvement. In other words, he owes the people of Weathercoast, many answers.

Generally speaking, we can all attest, that most MPs are guilty of this conscious, i.e. from what I observed on South Guadalcanal.

Thus, we all have moral obligations to fulfill. We should not tolerate such leaders who fail to perform their political duties through moral and ethical leadership.

It is better to make them realize their own ignorance on issues affecting us on daily basis, because at the end of the day, we are the ones who suffer the most.

Furthermore, we must be vocal about such office seekers (non-policy makers) so that they would not contest (not to deprive them of their democratic rights, but to help them understand their abuse of power within their democratic duties).

We should never turn a blind eye on such office-seekers who misconstrued the principle of democracy that treated the government as a cartel to gamble for power and money.

Therefore, our moral obligation is to exercise our democratic rights whenever necessary. We need intellectual leaders with moral democratic principles that are not afraid to challenge the hypocrisies of the government and the limitations of institutionalism, which make it less conducive and obsolete to have effective democracy.

Manu Mangalle
Weathercoast, South Guadalcanal

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