THE 6th Melanesian Arts and Cultural Festival (MACFest) ended in spectacular fashion on Tuesday night.
Despite some hiccups, the 10-day event was a resounding success.
We thank the local organising committee for putting on such a show. It’s an event to be remembered in years to come.
We wish our Melanesian brothers and sisters safe journey home as they depart our shores in the coming days.
Let’s hope they return with fond memories of MACFest and Solomon Islands.
That being said, it’s time we turn our attention back to our nation.
If there’s one thing that stood out during MACFest, it is the number of young people who attended the show each day.
Obviously, our youth population is soaring.
At the end of the show each day, you see them walked the streets back home. You can tell that we have a youth population.
The evidence is there and our leaders need to open their eyes to this reality.
These are young people with aims and dreams.
Some are still at school, while others have completed their education.
Most of these young people are unemployed.
The Government needs to seriously take heed to the rising youth population.
It must prepare to engage with them in ways that will keep them busy and become useful and valuable citizens.
As someone has said, “An idle brain is the devil’s workshop”.
To turn a blind eye to our youths is to condemn them to the streets of Honiara.
Today, every young man and woman who leaves the schools in the village will think of nowhere else but Honiara as their next place of residence.
This is why our villages are empty of young people.
They are all in Honiara, looking for leisure, entertainment, and economic opportunities that do not exist.
There’s nothing for them in the villages.
Although millions of dollars are allocated for rural development each year in the national budget, the government has nothing to show for in our rural areas.
Those development funds simply disappeared in the hands of the MPs who managed them.
We need to spread development out of Honiara before the capital city becomes overcrowded.
We need to redirect those development funds so that tangible projects can be built in our rural areas.
This is serious stuff and leaders need to take note before we regret it.
Our soaring youth population is a time-bomb.
We need to work around it now before it explodes on our face.