The Democratic Coalition for Change Government (DCCG) is taking a bold step towards designing a policy framework that will see traditional governance an integral part of the government system, Prime Minister Sogavare announced this in the Malaita Provincial capital this morning.
The Prime Minister made the announcement in his keynote address at Malaita Province’s 33rd Second Appointed Day Anniversary celebration at the Auki Primary School field where a huge crowd braved the scotching sun and later a sudden downpour, to witness.
“The DCC Government is taking a bold step towards designing a policy framework that will eventually see traditional governance forming an important part of the design of our government system.”
Prime Minister Sogavare said this policy would be developed through the Ministry of National Unity, Reconciliation and Peace and may see the ministry taking on a different name to deal with policies designed to consolidate the national peace process, especially the good work that the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands has done.
He said the theme of Malaita’s 33rd Second Appointed Day Anniversary, “Engaging Malaitans in Peace-building and Indigenous Governance for Community Resilience’ is a challenging and thought-provoking theme because it acknowledges amongst other things that Malaita existed long before the introduction of the modern governance system and that peace –building is part and parcel of it.
The Prime Minister said the pursuance of this theme is not without challenges in the setting of a Solomon Islands in the 21st Century.
“The theme captures an issue that sparks an ongoing debate on the role of traditional governance in our government system. Our National Constitution vaguely recognizes custom in the judicial processes and that is where the recognition of custom and traditional governance come close to be entertained in our governance processes.”
Prime Minister Sogavare said there is a development angle to he role of traditional governance in the government system, especially when it comes to dealings in land for development.
He said in the case of Malaita, the Malaita Think Tank Group has made that clear to the Government that the active involvement of the people themselves and the recognition and respect for the traditional Land Tenure system in the discussion on land for development is key to making land available for development and failing that Malaita will only be going around and round the circles.
The Prime Minister also took the opportunity to congratulate the Malaita Provincial Government on Malaita Province’s qualification to access the Provincial Capacity Development Fund (PCDF) for 2015.
“Congratulations for your great effort, Mr Premier and Congratulations to your Executive Government and Administrative staff for ensuring that Malaita has fully implemented financial discipline and control in its operations.
“This is very encouraging and good news for your Province and its people. We will work together in ensuring that this financial discipline is maintained and improved on.”
On that note, Prime Minister Sogavare also announced the National Government’s Commitment for this year’s PCDF Budget.
“I am happy to announce here that the national Government’s commitment for this year’s PCDF Budget is $50-Million Solomon Islands dollars. The benefits from this will be enormous.
“The PCDF provides a lot of funding opportunities for small scale infrastructure development projects, including classrooms and dormitories, office buildings, sports facilities, markets, women and youth centres, rural health clinics, staff houses and so forth.”
Further to the PCDF Support, Prime Minister Sogavare said the National Government through the Ministry of Provincial Government Institutional Strengthening also provides support for the construction of the new Malaita Provincial Assembly Chamber and on that note urged the Malaita Premier to work closely with Ministries concerned to ensure the project is implemented.