TODAY Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo will leave the country for his first official engagement with the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) since being elected as Prime Minister last year.
Solomon Islands is a very important member of this group and no doubt the presence of our Prime Minister is significant.
So what is the purpose of the MSG?
It was created some 24 years ago to promote and strengthen inter-membership trade, exchange of Melanesian cultures, traditions and values, sovereign equality, economic and technical cooperation between members, and the alignment of our policies in order to further MSG members shared goals of economic growth, sustainable development, good governance and security.
The historical signing of the MSG Agreement by Melanesian Government Leaders in On 14 March 1988, Vanuatu, Fiji,Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands,Vanuatu and the FLNKS.
Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister, Paias Wingti, Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Ezekiel Alebua and Vanuatu’s Prime Minister, Walter Lini signed the six (6) point ” Agreed Principles of cooperation among the independent states in Melanesia.
Since then MSG had grown to serve the interests of this group of melanesian countries.
Every year this five member regional body gets to meet and discuss issues and matters that challenges them.
This year is another time for the leaders to meet and talk.
Last week it kicks off with trade officials and now with the foreign ministers.
Towards the end of the week it would be all Prime Ministers.
No doubt a number of very important issues will be discussed and raised during the leaders summit.
Our voice and concerns as a country needs to be heard in this circle.
Mr Lilo with his vast experience in the economy, finance and even trade will no doubt share our experiences and challenges that we face in our daily lives and economically.
This is a time to look at ways that our country can benefit through trade from its brothers.
Apart from trade some of the issues to discussed ranges from police, disaster, labour mobility, climate change, sports and notable this important event that is coming up-the festival of pacific arts.
Solomon Islands as the host of the biggest festival needs support from its melanesian brothers.
There are challenges and achievements gained by MSG which made the group stronger than ever.
Another important event is the celebration of the 25th Silver jubilee celebrations of MSG next year.
This is a time to reflect on the performance of this group and also to look ahead to the next 25 years and ask where else the MSG could be effective.
As Lilo leaves today, the country believes that some important results and resolutions will be reached that will help to improve the country, its people and the economy. All the best in your trip.