Tuesday, 11 January 2011 8:22 AM

Malaita Province Elects New Premier

Members of the Malaita Provincial Assembly has elected a new Premier to lead the Provincial executive and the people of Malaita in the next four years.

He is Edwin Suibaea of Ward 8 in North Malaita.

Government Communications Unit's George Herming reports from Auki that Mr Suibaea narrowly ousted rival, former Premier Richard Irosaea Na'amo with 17 ballots in the Province's 33 member Assembly.

He was a former Deputy Premier in the Irosaea-led Provincial Government.

Speaking immediately after his victory, Premier Suibaea said he is confident of leading the province in the next four years with a "new reform agenda that is aimed at getting rid of the impediments that hinder the growth of Malaita."

The new Premier said he has the support and trust of the provincial assembly members and they are hoping to put in place a new policy framework that focuses on reforms and the improvement of the Province's financial growth.

The new Premier also called on Malaitans, particularly land and resource owners, to open up their land for development.

Premier Suibaea said that with Malaita's growing population, the time to prepare for the wellbeing of the future of Malaita is now.

As part of the new Premier's reform agenda, Mr Suibaea also pledged to put in place a development framework that will improve Malaita's four sub-towns of Auki, Malu'u, Atori and Afio to enable improved service delivery to people in rural areas.

The newly elected Premier will be sworn-in today in Auki.