To the Editor:

At what point should Honiara's lack of electricity and water be considered a National Emergency, like an emergency brought about a natural disaster such as a cyclone or earthquake?

Having recently visited Port Vila, which is flourishing, it is impossible to see how Honiara and the whole Solomons Islands can develop if Honiara does not have a steady supply of electricity and water. Other public services are also necessary too, such as reliable mobile phone service and city garbage collection.

Millions of dollars have been and are being lost in productivity, as work simply does not get done because there is no electricity or water. The proliferation of standby generators only brings more pollution and noise. And, of course, many businesses and individuals cannot afford them.

If the problem is the government's arrears to SIEA and SIWA perhaps the answer is to cut off the government as a user until they begin to pay up. Government money is going elsewhere, why cannot some go to SIEA and SIWA? Likewise, really cut off the illegal connections and keep them cut off, rather than simply threatening all the time or looking the other way.

But more importantly, the Government needs to see the current electricity and water situation as a National Emergency for which it needs immediately to seek aid and see that it is properly utilized.

Prosperity is totally impossible these days when the capital city of a nation has no steady supply of electricity or water. What is the plan to deal with this National Emergency?

Bishop Terry Brown