Acting Prime Minister Manasseh Maelanga has encouraged the people of Rennell and Bellona province (Renbel) to rise up to challenges that hindered development ambitions on the two beautiful islands.
He made the call on Tuesday during the celebrations marking the province’s 21st anniversary celebrations on Bellona Island.
Renbel Province attained its provincial status in 1993 after being part of the Central Islands Province since independence.
This year for the first time the celebration was staged on Bellona, a decision by the executive of Premier Lence Tango early this year.
Chiefs and the people of Bellona were humbled and honoured to be given the opportunity for the first time to host the event on their shores.
Addressing hundreds that gathered to celebrate the event, Hon Maelanga said the second appointed day should be a time to remind ourselves of our strengths and what needs to be pursued for the advancement of the province.
“I urge the provincial government and the people of Renbel that it is essential to rise up to the challenges that engulfed our province from making concrete advances and we must work together to develop our province,” he said.
“We should remind us of the challenges that act as hindrance for the betterment of this province and as a province we need to know our past, our present and our future to make informed decisions about our development aspirations,” Mr Maelanga added.
The Acting Prime Minister noted that one of the clear challenges is the need to deal with infrastructure for the province.
“Any economic adventure needs proper infrastructure. It is important to be reminded of the fact that as a provincial government we need to transform our money into public services,” he said.
He also noted that political instability within the Renbel provincial government is preventing the province from advancing its development aspirations.
“Any provincial government needs to work as a team. Political fragmentation must not be entertained. Fragmentation can hinder our progress. Therefore, it is important to work together for the common good of our people,” Mr Maelanga added.
“Let us not forget that we have a duty also to ensure that we have a provincial government that is more responsible, well-governed, transparent and accountable because if we do not; we will lose the interest and more importantly the confidence that our people have in us as well as towards the development of this province,” he added.
On the development potential of the province, Mr Maelanga noted that tourism is a favorable industry that is suitable for the province.
“For a province that has a beautiful and friendly people, dynamic culture, and amazing landscape and home to the famous Lake Tengano, tourism is an industry that must be continuously invigorated,” Mr Maelanga said.
Rennell and Bellona have nurtured the underlying factors which can boost the tourism industry in the province.
“We must work together with the relevant stakeholders to tap the potential that tourism presents. This should be a top priority policy for any provincial government that comes into power,” Mr Maelanga urged.
On Government’s support for the province, Mr Maelanga assured the leaders and people of Renbel of the National Government’s ongoing commitment to the province in its development aspirations.
“As a province we need to continuously work together with different stakeholders in terms of our approach towards development in this province. With perseverance and a common goal, we can work together to build our province,” he said.
The celebration on Tuesday was marked with singing, a parade, speeches, traditional performances, a rugby match and traditional feasting.