On Wednesday 20th August 2014 the Solomon Star published the above headline.
According to your publication, “a prominent leader of South Guadalcanal has hailed a reconciliation ceremony conducted for five communities in the area last week”.
That so-called ‘prominent leader’ was identified as Francis Para who resides most, if not, all his life at Titinge area in Honiara.
Firstly, let me say this: the so-called Francis Para is not seen in our area as a “prominent leader”.
It is an affront to us to see your paper promoting someone whom we see as a “no body” in our area.
We do not see this so-called Francis Para as a leader at all and how he claims to be one is a mystery to us in South Guadalcanal.
Secondly, the reconciliation was purportedly held to “resolve ill-feeling between intending candidates and their supporters” according to the article.
There is no such ill-feeling between intending candidates and their supporters here in our area.
Francis Para must be dreaming or living in another planet to claim that there is ill-feeling between us! In the end we can understand why he came up with such non-sense because he never visits our area. He should talk about Titinge to the media but not those villages he mentioned to you and stated in your paper.
Thirdly, there was no reconciliation ceremony held in any of those five villages- Chakudale, Vatughola, Piosughu, Veratabao or Chimba. I live here and write this article from one of the villages and I can tell your readers (and Para as well) that there was no such ceremony held here. There was no need for it because there was and is no ill-feeling between the candidates and their supporters here! Full stop!
Maybe Francis Para has some ill feeling towards other candidates and their supporters but not us here. We know who we will vote for and, for the benefit of your good readers, it will not be Francis Para.
Francis Para contested twice in the past-2006 and 2010- and on both occasions he came last. Our message to Francis Para in those previous elections was the same: Parliament is not for such people like Francis Para! That same message will stand come this year’s election.
If Francis Para still does not understand the above, then let me make it crystal clear again: the likes of Francis Para cannot be the beneficiary of our votes! That will never happen and the sooner Francis Para gets that in his mind the better for him and our politics in South Guadalcanal. We hope he understands that and if any political group in town entertains Para, they are investing in a losing candidate (for the third time in a row).
Let me come back to the issue of reconciliation again. If Francis Para is a “prominent leader” of South Guadalcanal, he should know very well that reconciliation ceremonies involve whole communities as well as the exchange of pigs, shell money, food, etc. If one was held here, certainly we would know and of course we would be involved one way or the other.
The only thing that we know was that last week two individuals went around our villages and informed us that Francis Para would contest again for the third time in the upcoming election. Those two individuals were allegedly paid by Para to inform us. There was no Francis Para here last week or any reconciliation ceremony held.
Where Francis Para got that information from is a million dollar question and one for Para himself to inform us all. We will ask him when he comes around to campaign during the election period.
Perhaps Francis Para needs to be reminded that he came last in the last two elections: 2006 and 2010. Even the people of Viso, where Francis Para originally came from, did not vote for him in 2006 and 2010! If your own people and villagers did not vote for you in previous elections, only fools expect other villagers and people distant from you to vote for you! For some reason Francis Para is so ignorant of this simple fact and is again will contest in this year’s general election.
Given the above, my simple advice to him is to refrain from exercising his constitutional right to contest because he wasting his time. He should figure out that we want someone who can debate and represent us in Parliament, not another sleeping person from the Weather coast again!!
In that regard we have someone capable in mind to vote in to represent us, hence, do not waste the small income you earn from selling land at Titinge for another failed election bid. Please spare us that embarrassment Para and just try and develop your land at Titinge and forget about contesting this upcoming election.
Finally, we read with such astonishment that Francis Para is a board member of the Solomon Islands Visitor’s Bureau (SIVB). Although we are happy that one of us from the Weather coast is on this prestigious board, why he is in there is very laughable?
Why not another South Guadalcanal person that can bring constructive ideas during SIVB board meetings than this Francis Para?
South Guadalcanal so far had produced lawyers, doctors, economist, fisheries experts, geologist, mining engineers, IT experts, and teachers and so on. Why SIG overlooked many of our talented people to be on the SIVB and opted for someone like Francis Para is a surprise to us here in the Weather coast?
If Hon. Minister wants high caliber board member, then we will help find one from our pool of talented people next time.
One of the reasons why Francis Para always came last in previous election is we are of the view that Parliament is for well educated people to discuss and represent our voice constructively.
After all we do not want the whole country to blame us South Guadalcanal for the low numbers of tourists coming to our shores because of the low level contribution and decisions of the likes of Francis Para on the SIVB Board!
Perhaps SIG sees some merits in Francis Para that we in the Weather coast do not. But if Fiji and Vanuatu consistently beat us in tourism numbers, then the merits in the likes of Francis Para to be a board member of SIVB is up for debate. We, therefore, seriously question what criteria’s the Minister of Tourism has in order for someone like Francis Para to be a board member of SIVB.