The National Government last Friday bid farewell to former Minister of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification, the late Honorable Edward Huni'ehu (MP) during a funeral service at the Central Church in Honiara.

The late Huni'ehu who was described as a "Champion of Renewable Energy" died at the National Referral Hospital on Monday after a long battle with diabetes.

Among those that attended the funeral service were, the Governor General, His Excellency Sir Frank Kabui, Prime Minister Dr Derek Sikua, Speaker of Parliament Sir Peter Kenilorea, Chief Justice Sir Albert Palmer and representatives of the diplomatic corp.

In his tribute, Prime Minister Dr Derek Sikua said Huni'ehu's passing away is a huge loss not only for his family and people of East Are 'are but for the nation as a whole.

Dr Sikua said the late Honorable Huni'ehu was a national leader who had contributed immensely towards parliamentary democracy, political development, and nation building in the fields of commerce, hydro power and solar energy, education and infrastructure.

"I have admired late Huni'ehu's progressive and constructive political debates in Parliament and the frank and friendly manner in which he always carried himself as a member of the country's highest leadership institution and as a person".

"He always debated issues in Parliament with considered diligence and vigor for which he was respected fully by MPs and non politicians who follow parliament meetings with interest," Prime Minister Sikua said.

Late Huni'ehu was one of the original Ministers in the Coalition for National Unity and Rural Advancement (CNURA) Government.

When the CNURA government assumed power in late 2007, he was appointed Minister for Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification in recognition of his efforts to ensure the development of alternative energy in Solomon Islands, especially in hydro and solar power for rural villages.

The late Huni'ehu was a conscientious Minister, who worked cohesively and tirelessly, but ill health had forced him to relieve his ministerial duties in 2009 until his death on Monday.

"Solomon Islands has indeed lost a great leader, especially at the crucial time when all good brains are needed to advance our country in the 21st Century in concerted efforts," Dr Sikua said.

Dr Sikua said his tireless efforts in nation building are commendable and will always be remembered.

The Late Huni'ehu's body will be taken onboard a Royal Solomon Islands Police Vessel this afternoon for burial at his home village of Manawai, East Are 'Are, Malaita Province.

He was survived by his wife Helen and four children.

Source: Press Release, Government Communications Unit