Dear Editor – This letter serves as my thought for all those struggling in the Solomon Islands amidst challenging times.
My heart goes out t to all those whose hope hangs by a thread for the many young people who remain unemployed and without money, and to all those women and girls we have been told whose lives are overshadowed by domestic abuse, sexual assault, and even exploitation in one form or another.
The wantok system that is an important cultural aspect of Solomon Islands society must be failing to help the most vulnerable in society to connect with what I deem to be essential help services at a time when the coronavirus pandemic remains a constant threat to the government and people alike.
The Leader of the Opposition raised the issue of school fees last week, but I have not heard whether any relief to struggling parents with school-going children has been given.
Donor countries are continuing to aid the Solomon Islands with generous donations of cash and aid in kind by way of equipment to combat Covid-19, but when I consider the bigger picture relating to the high birth rate, youth unemployment, NCDs contributing to a high and unacceptable death rate, how are such serious societal issues going to be tackled and effectively addressed before the situation really gets out of hand?
Such concerns, expressed in the last paragraph, I spoke about at a US-sponsored Pacific Armies Management Seminar (PAMS) held in Manila in early 1998 but sadly 23 years on I see little has changed and my talk in those early years had a bearing on internal security implications.