ALTHOUGH Solomon Islands has gained its political independent for nearly 41 years now until today not much had changed.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare highlighted this during his keynote address marking the 41st Independence Anniversary celebration at the Lawson Tama, Monday.
Thousands have packed the stadium to witness the occasion.
He said past governments have struggled for positive change with limited success and as a result very little has been made due to luck of unity of the people to build the nation.
“I believe we failed because we neglected the importance of ‘waking the national consciousness of our people to build this nation. We drove the development agenda – but left our people behind.
“I suppose this was what our first Chief Minister, the late Solomon Mamaloni implied when he said that, “Solomon Islands is a nation conceived but never born”,” Sogavare said.
Mr Sogavare added if indeed the nation was conceived but never yet born, then a collective moral duty is needed from all the national consciousness and pride, to give birth to it in unity to make it a stronger nation’.
“I strongly believe that we cannot progress far if we do not have this nationalistic pride in us as Solomon Islanders,” he said.
He said the theme of this years’ 41st Anniversary is ‘Moving Forward in Unity to build a stronger Nation’ which calls for everybody to unite together to move the country forward.
“We have endured a lot since our independence especially the challenging times over the past two decades,” he said.
He said for more than 50% of our population who are under 20 years of age today, you would have only heard stories about the pain, the challenges and tragedies the country went through at the time.
“For some of us the experiences were real, and it seemed like it was only yesterday. Fellow citizens we must never allow ourselves to go through such experiences again. We are better than that. There is more that unites us than divides us,” he added.
Sogavare said every Solomon Islander has a solemn duty to uphold and protect the country, its people with the natural resources.
“As your Prime Minister and Servant, I too have a duty to this country, and this is reflected in our national motto “TO LEAD IS TO SERVE.
“As a Christian country, our first duty is to God. Following that, our next duty is to uphold and abide by our National Constitution and respect its ideals, values and institutions. We must respect and honour our National Flag and the National Anthem,” he added.
He said it is also every citizen’s duty to promote and protect harmony, unity and nationhood amongst all citizens of Solomon Islands regardless of race, colour, ethnicity, religious beliefs, language, political and other ideologies.
“This duty and its associated values and principles are enshrined in our National Constitution which requires us to be … “mindful of our common and diverse heritage and conscious of our common destiny,” he said.
By IAN M.KAUKUI