HE never thought that one day he would become a politician.
But like father, like son. This is what happens if you have the right character and qualities of a leader and a God-fearing person.
Meet Calrick Runimetu, 46, who is the new Western Province Member of Provincial Assembly for Ward 24 North Vangunu.
Ward 24 covers some of these villages from Sasaghana, Chea, Chubikopi, Patukae (Cheara, Chaela, Gepai, Buleani, Rukutu), Telina, Cheke, Bisuana, Gasini and Batuna.
Speaking to Solomon Star Gizo after his victory, Runimetu said he is excited to lead his people.
He was appointed to the top position as the deputy premier of the Western Provincial Government (WPG) and finance minister under the leadership of Billy Veo.
He was instrumental in the passing of the revised budget during the first full assembly meeting more than a week ago.
With a background in finance and economics, he was able to defend the budget and got the support of both houses of the assembly without much difficulty.
He also gave a powerful speech that the current regime will try its best to deliver to the people of this province the services within the remaining two months when the revised budget will be exhausted.
Runimetu is from Gasini village.
Married with three children, one boy and two girls, his father, Harold Runimetu was a former MPA as well. His father served as the Area Assembly Member from 1975 to 1979.
During that time, it was only a two year term. So he was unopposed during his second term, from 1977 to 1979.
No doubt Calrick’s father would be happy to see his son following his footsteps, if he is still alive today.
Both his father and mother passed away in 2012.
Runimetu did his primary education at Batuna Primary School – Marovo.
He went on to do his secondary education doing forms 1 to 3 at the then Betikama Adventist High School.
He managed to go over to Fiji where he did his form 4 at Navesau, form 5 at Nasinu Secondary School.
He returned to the country and did his form 6 at Honiara High School.
Because he did well, he was fortunate to be offered a government scholar.
So in 1999 he went on to do his form 7 arts foundation under the Solomon Islands College of Higher Education (SICHE) and University of the South Pacific (USP) partnership.
Again with a government scholarship he went to USP, Laucala campus to do his tertiary studies.
He graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce (Degree) in Finance and Economics.
Since his return to the country he had been working at the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Labour & Immigration for over 15 years.
Last year he was appointed as the national coordinator – PACER Plus Implementation Unit (PPIU) for Solomon Islands and had been in the position for just over 4 months.
He resigned from the position between August and November last year and contested the provincial election.
Last month he was voted in to lead his people.
Looking back, he said both his father and uncle were both politicians. They have also been a motivating factor for him.
However, he recalled he had very little intention of joining politics.
But because of the challenges his people continue to face and his intention to serve them, he decided to enter politics.
Thus, he will try to give back what belongs to them, he told the paper.
He said one of his role models is late Solomon Mamaloni because he was a very simple person.
Runimetu is not new to the leadership position because as a member of the Mbokona Adventist Church he is also a Head Elder, Church Clerk and Treasurer.
Reflecting back, he said, entering the politics does not come easy or cheap.
And because of that he wishes to thank his family, relatives, friends, church members and former colleagues for their support from prayers, motivation, finance and advices.
“But above all, To God be the glory,” he said.
Mr Runimetu added his victory also came with a lot of sacrifices.
And so he expressed his sincere gratitude to his ‘Together We Move’ team who sacrificed their time and support that led to his success in the election.
He also thanked the voters.
“I wish to thank those who voted me in and having confidence in me to be their leader.
“I would also like to thank my wife for her support and my children as well, not forgetting my older brother Meturick for his advices and accommodation at home prior to the election,” he said.
He said, so far since leading his people it was exciting and a blessed journey as well.
One of his immediate plans is to improve the existing development projects and other outstanding once.
“Also revive the cooperatives or community work in my ward.”
He added, that working closely with the Member of the Parliament (MP) is one thing that he aims to do.
“Absolutely, that is my aim at the moment. To connect the ward with our MP, as this is the way forward in any development.”
He said, given the changes that are taking place, it’s also important for the country to have fresh and young leaders to take leadership in the political level both provincial and national level.
“Yes, we need young breed of leaders. However, older ones are also important for the balance of politics in our country.
“However, God does not need older leaders but few good young and energetic leaders who fear Him and abide in his words.
“But nowadays we need young and qualified leaders who have a heart for people and who serve others and not ourselves,” he said.
To those young aspiring leaders who wish to enter politics, here is a piece of advice from MPA Runimetu.
“Trust in God and believe in yourself. If Joseph or Daniel can be leaders, you can also be a leader in any environment and place.”
As he commenced his political just over a month now, he said he is very excited and looking forward to serve his people of Western Province.
He said, there will be challenges and achievements coming his way but through team work and understanding the needs of our people and meeting their expectation is his priority.
In his budget speech more than a week, the finance minister promised the people of this province that together with the premier and executive, they will work hard to address some of the long standing issues affecting the province since last year.
The Western Provincial Assembly was dissolved June last year and since then the people were denied some of the services due to lack of budgetary support.
As such with the passing of the revised, the Veo regime is confident to deliver the services of the people in the remaining months and during their four years in the assembly.
And Runimetu as the finance minister is expected to play an important role in the implementation of the services and projects.
We wish Runimetu all the best in his political journey.
By MOFFAT MAMU
Gizo News Bureau