East Honiara the Gateway Constituency

Voters and East Honiara residents, I would like to raise some comments re the east Honiara by election. What makes east Honiara one of the most important Constituencies in the country? Firstly, it is our current national gateway! It gives the first impression! And it leaves you with the last intuition. Secondly, it is home to many people, businesses, institutions and churches. It borders like west and central Honiara, with customary Guadalcanal land. It hosts National institutions such as the Solomon Islands College of Higher Education, KGVI School, Betikama Adventist School, Florence Young School, Panatina School,and Honiara International School. These institutions are closely attached to the various denominations, the National Government and the Honiara Municipality. Health Centres locates in various parts of the Constituency. Ranadi hosts the industrial activities of Honiara Township and country.

To make short a long and important scrutiny, the service aspect of life and people interjects itself in east Honiara unlike in any other parts of the country. As a contributing factor, east Honiara has a high population and expanding very fast. People live in small settlements at its backyard, for some time now, such as Kofiloko, Kobito, Lau Valley, Kwaio Valley, Green valley and so on. Most of these people, work for incomes in both the public and private sector. Others like many in this country are not employed or rather take on short term jobs on a very insecure employment conditions. Despite the potentials for development in many improvement areas within East Honiara, there is still little employment opportunities to offer in the recent past. Social problems continue on the raise. Basic services remain ongoing, but at a level that offers many options for improvement and development.
I might say that what East Honiara experiences eventually define most of the problems of Honiara and Solomon Islands as a nation. Power shortages, rice increases, urban drift, youth unemployment, water problem and the list go on. However, our wider Solomon Islands community at our provincial levels arguably plays other important roles.

Nevertheless, this by-election is an opportunity for the people in East Honiara to attempt another definition towards the progress for development. Not only for the next remaining days of the current parliament but into the future. For the question is that in a very short time, 'what could any of the 26 current candidates do for east Honiara? I think there are a few practical things that could be done. My suggestion is taken from my recollection of the past leaderships of East Honiara and that is the lack of consultation and formulation of a Constituency plan. Everything is run on an adhoc basis and that only those 'closer' to the MP gets a few bite of the taro. This is mainly due to various unclear programs executed by past leaders; therefore I think we including the next MP after this election should come up with a Constituency plan. A starting point is to base it on the current National Government and Honiara City Council programs for east Honiara and we move on from there.
Thus, there is present a clear challenge to cooperatively work with the Councilors representing wards in east Honiara. The Constituency plan should consult with the relevant stakeholders in the community. Encompassing, service oriented and business focused aspects.
Participatory democracy simple put is that people of East Honiara must have their say in what happens or should happen or should not happen in their common eastern unity. Indeed the Government may have its plans for east Honiara. But the people of east Honiara must see themselves in those plans and be part of it, to hold but one simple importance, ownership! of any developmental aspirations for this matter. If there is no constituency plan; there is no proper merger between the East Honiara Constituency and the Honiara City Council and other relevant stakeholders. When there is an absence of such coordination, then we really do have a problem. East Honiara may be heading towards a constituency that does not bring the appropriate opportunity for its people and community. Put another way, the people of East fights for their own survival without the essential complimentary political support that can be offered by the East Honiara Constituency. That is why again we have this opportunity to choose a leader that will lead East Honiara to some form of political and economical progress.

The last time I stood in the election for East Honiara, the message was very clear; east Honiara has a youthful population and this comes with energy. Used appropriately, this manpower will have enormous positive effect for the betterment of this nation. However, I would also like to register my disappointment on the decision not to do a re-registering of voters. I agree with others whom had shared their view on this matter and stated their disagreement on the denial of having the opportunity to vote. I think there should be a re-registering of voters done for this election.

That being just an opinion, I would re-iterate the need for East Honiara to strive for the better, in respect of the reasons stated earlier on. It is the Gateway Constituency- hosts to National impressions. All the same, the Election Day is now set for end of this month. Newly, elected President of Pakistan said, "The people are bigger than the problem". Vote a candidate that you have the right to freely choose.

(The views expressed are solely my own)
Wilson Karamui