MALAITA Premier Martin Fini has announced the creation of a body to help coordinate economic development activities on Malaita and to repair past differences between the National Government and the Province.
The move to establish the Malaita Economic Development Initiative – MEDI for short – is an intervention to bury the disruptive activities in the past and is part of the Malaita New Government For Fundamental Redirection (MNGFR) policy.
MEDI is the first step in reconnecting the province with the national government since 2019 when the stand-off between the MARA administration and the national government began.
The three-year stand-off cost Malaita Province well over SBD185 million in lost development funding approved by the Government, the Premier told the Provincial Assembly in Auki last Wednesday.
“The strategic intervention we had chosen to take is very important for the redirection of Malaita. I want to say here; it is enough of Business as Usual. We must move on to new direction and a ride into unchartered waters. We must step onto new grounds we had never put our feet on in the 38 years of Malaita journey.
“Therefore, I wish to state that meaningful development is only possible through dialogue and collaboration by all stakeholders. Cooperation is an essential ingredient in this mix. It must be at the heart of this collaboration. Nothing works without it,” he said.
“We believe that the measures we have taken in establishing the Malaita Economic Development Initiative (MEDI) is the right course of action to take.
“We believe it is the right direction. It is the only direction, which calls for support from each and everyone in this Chamber,” Premier Fini said.
In his 15-page speech, the Premier also touched on the proposed Federal System of Government.
He told Assembly members his government will not pursue the federal system of government.
“I understand that other colleague Premier of sister provinces are pursuing the Federal System of Government. Under my leadership and my new Government, I wish to state our stand on this very important subject.
“For this new government, we will not pursue the Federal System of Government. It is not because we do not want federal system of government, but we feel that there are fundamental issues that need to be addressed before Federal System Government comes in naturally.
“We see that the purpose of a Federal System Government is to restrict Malaitans from migrating to other provinces, thus (creating) hatred for Malaitans. (It does not) we oppose the Federal System.
“My government will leave it open for other provinces to pursue the Federal Government System.”
Instead, Premier Fini said his government would pursue negotiating the “unfinished matters, using Section 29 and 30 of the Provincial Government Act.”
“My new government believes in negotiating the unfinished matters by discharging Section 29 and 30 of the PGA Act and later negotiating bundles of fundamental policies for good governance, security and sustainable development, which may lead to repealing current legislations, and amending relevant sections of the Constitution.
“Therefore, we are inclined with the direction of the Ministry of the Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening in reviewing the PGA Acts,” Premier Fini said.
“Honourable colleagues in this Honourable House, our move to change the status quo has been seen by some as counter-productive to the interest of Malaita and for this we have received a lot of criticisms.
“However, I wish to assure the Members of this Honourable Assembly and my good people of Malaita that my new government is confident and determined to deliver within the11th hour (intervention).”
By Alfred Sasako