Dear Sir,

May I through your outlet extend my congratulations to the Government on the occasion of the groundbreaking ceremony last Friday, marking the start of the Auluta Palm Oil development on Malaita.

I do so as a former Minister whose efforts secured the initial government funding, which ensured the start of the process in 2005. To see the project moving forward as it is is certainly a joy. In fact, nothing gives me more satisfaction than to see government's firm commitment to and the willingness by the people in their joint endeavors in the undertaking.

The groundbreaking ceremony at Feraabu village is but only the beginning. More work remains.

While I concede my efforts in the beginning were perhaps insignificant, I merely wish to say that I am happy that my name can be associated with what is the first, and potentially the catalyst for major, labour and capital intensive projects on Malaita.

May the process continues abated.

As the Apostle Paul said in one of his letters, some planted, some watered and others will harvest the crop.

My role was merely that of the planter, someone who planted the initial seed. It is good to see the current CNURA government is watering it - all for the one and only outcome: our people of Solomon Islands to share in the harvest.

In this regard, I wish to thank former Deputy Prime Minister Toswell Kaua, who recognized my contribution to the project by extending an invitation to me personally in 2007 to attend the first ceremony marking the land acquisition ceremony in Auki that year.

I guess the challenge for all Malaitan MPs now is to get other much-talked about projects on Malaita [Bina Harbour International seaport, Suava Bay Fisheries Centre and Wairokai Palm Oil development] off the ground.

I'll be around if my help is required to help work towards realising these outstanding projects along with similar ones in other parts of the country.

For example, the best team in terms of professional and competent capacity, the political connection at the highest level and access to external funding institutions can be assembled in no time all. Tangible results are achievable.
The team is result-focused, backed by years of undertaking similar projects for other governments in the Pacific region. There are very positive indications of funding availability now, but the onus is on our government to do its part. The team is ready to start immediately.

Finally, in congratulating the government on the progress of the Auluta Palm Oil project, let me close with the Chinese saying:

"The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step."

Let Auluta Palm Oil be the first and decisive step for tangible development on Malaita and indeed in Solomon Islands.

S Alfred Sasako
Department of Agriculture & Livestock, Sept 2004 - March 2005]