Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare received a delegation from the Western Provincial Government yesterday morning, pledging its commitment to work with the Democratic Coalition for Change Government in implementing its policy intentions for the Western Province.
The delegation led by Billy Veo, Acting Premier and Minister for Lands and Housing told the Prime Minister that the Western Provincial Government welcomed the DCC Government Policy document as the way forward in developing Solomon Islands.
“I am pleased to inform you that the Western Provincial Government will work with you and your government during your term in office and we are confident you will complete your whole term in power.”
Mr Veo said the DCC Government’s policy statement reflects nationalism and passion to address the development challenges facing Solomon Islands head-on.
“We were touched by your policy launching speech, especially the part on how your government will address the issue of opening up customary land for economic activities. As we all know land is one of the most crucial assets to any development,” he added.
The Acting Premier said the Western Provincial Government would like to see all nine Members of Parliament from the Western Province support the DCC Government’s Policy intentions.
In response, Prime Minister Hon Sogavare acknowledged the cooperation pledged by the Western Provincial Government to working with his DCC Government to implement its policy intentions for Western Province.
He said the huge challenge facing the implementation of national development projects in his government’s policy document is the availability of land.
The Prime Minister said his DCC Government is determined to pursue the recording and registration of tribal land to unleash the country’s economic development potential for the benefit of landowners themselves and the nation.
He added that his government wants to be strategic in its approach to development by ensuring its development projects earmarked for the provinces are viable.
“The Western Province is already very strong in tourism and all the is needed is to be strengthened. My government will do all it can to assist in this regard.”
Prime Minister Sogavare said his DCC Government is talking with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund about infrastructure development to foster its economic development initiatives.
Other issues touched on in their discussions include the Munda International Airport Project and Solomon Islands-PNG border relations.
Both parties were of the view that the Munda International Airport is an important project that will boost the country’s tourism industry and therefore it is urgent that the dispute between landowning groups is amicably resolved. The dispute is over a gravel site suppling gravel for the airport project.
On the border issue, the Acting Premier said it is important that border issues between Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea are addressed to allow the people on both sides of the border resume trading activities.
He said, the resumption of trade will not only be economically beneficial to the traders but to Solomon Islands as a whole.
Responding to these sentiments, the Prime Minister said his DCC Government appreciates the very close ties between people living along the SI-PNG border and that it is the policy intention of his DCC Government to continue border talks with Papua New Guinea to address outstanding border issues.
The Acting Premier was accompanied by Hon Isaac Vula Tatapu, Minister for Commerce and Industry, Hon Goldie Rini, Minister for Infrastructure Development, Hon John Hopa, Minister for Education, Hon Lester Saomasi, Minister for Finance and Deputy Provincial Secretary, Mr Patrick Toiraena.
– PM’s press secretariat