Alfrence Inoga Fatai recently returned to city council politics to claim the mayor’s job.
In his victory speech, he spoke of change as what is needed to make Honiara a better city for everyone to live.
“Let us introduce changes in all sectors – you want change, I want change, all of us want change,” were some of his first words.
What many do not know is while Fatai is new to the mayor’s position, he is not to the city council as he had previously served a term as councillor for Vura ward.
Fatai started his secondary education at Betikama Adventist College.
From there, he went on and did his tertiary studies at what was then the Solomon Islands College of Higher Education (now SINU), after which he was employed in the private sector as an accountant.
He had also worked as a private consultant until his first appearance as a councillor in 2000.
He then disappeared from the political scene but decided to have another go in last month’s election, during which Vura ward residents gave him another chance.
This time, he made it all the way up to the mayor’s post.
An accountant by profession, Fatai is advocating for change as he takes on the city council’s helm.
He told the Sunday Star restructuring the City Council revenue base to help the council meet service delivery is one of his immediate goals.
“Urban drift has been a major issue for Honiara,” he said.
“The high number of people moving into Honiara has impacted on the city council’s capacity to deliver service to the people.
“I intend, during my term, to bridge these gaps, ensure services such as rubbish collection and other essential services such as health and education are adequately delivered.”
Fatai said this should be addressed hand in hand together with other issues.
He also touched on the face-lifting of Honiara to reflect its status as the national capital of Solomon Islands.
“Buildings in the city need to reflect the status of Honiara as a city. I will ensure the responsibility of stakeholders and business houses with the council be achieved in making this happen.
“The council is to make sure that set standards of building requirements are met and that the Honiara City will no longer a place other use for their fundraising.
“Developing the City is the way forward, so as the physical planning sector is so important to the council.
“Town and Country Planning Board under this section must be functional and free of manipulation and influence.
“We must stand our grounds and plan our city well to meet the demands of this day and age,” the newly elected mayor said.
“These are issues at hand that must be addressed.
“Should there be a need to amend relevant ordinances to accommodate these changes, so be it,” Fatai said.
He said other pressings issues are a new burial ground for the city and the Ranadi rubbish dump.
“The sale of betel-nut in the city is also another issue that we must critically look at and address so that both the city and the vendors benefit.
“These are issues not for just a mayor and the councillors to address but everyone who calls Honiara home.
“It is our responsibility that we work hand in hand to make Honiara a better place for us to live and make business.
“I will ensure that as mayor, we will consult every stakeholder in the way we run the affairs of the city.
“This is so that everyone takes ownership of the city and feel being part of it,”
Fatai also promised to revisit the sea passage leave for Honiara City Council teachers.
“The Honiara teachers travelling allowance issue for instance has been a long overdue one. Teachers have since been treated as casual workers, when they are not.
“Under my leadership, I wanted this issue revisited and resolved once and for all.”
BY BRADFORD THEONOMI