The Small Malaita Constituency (SMC) has successfully launched the Phase II of its Road Infrastructure Program on 3rd January 2022 at Rorongo, thanks to the active involvement of the local Member of Parliament for Small Malaita Constituency, Hon. Rick Nelson Houenipwela.
Constituency Development Officer (CDO) Terry Brown said the event was witnessed by the Member of Parliament for SMC Hon. Rick Hou, the Senior Administration Officer (SAO), Mr David Mane representing Malaita Province, chiefs, church leaders, heads of landowning groups and hundreds of constituents from the Asimae and Asimeuri Wards particularly from the nearby Iola including Korutalaupeine, Korutalaumweimwei, Kalapea, Louatowa-Haitataimwane and Ueniusupeine.
Mr Brown said the launching ceremony began with the escorting of Hon. Rick Hou, MP and other invited guests by the Rorongo Women’s band, adding the first part of the program included a short church service followed by speeches and feasting.
He added that Hon. Rick Hou, MP was the Guest of Honour of the launching and dedication program.
In his keynote address Hon. Hou, MP stated that the primary goal of the SMC development plan is to improve the socio-economic wellbeing of the rural people by providing access to government service and to provide the enabling environment for more economic opportunities.
Hon. Hou said the primary objective of the road infrastructure program has been achieved. “Today the communities of Tetele, Ou’oumatawa, Tapa’atewa, Ruru’uhe, Rorongo and Likimaea have direct road access to Matangasi Port. Now you can reach the Sea Port and Afio Government Station within 30 minutes”.
He further highlighted that once phase II is completed people from Asimeuri Ward in the eastern side of the island will also access government services. “Today also marks another milestone – we are embarking on Phase II of the Road Program. When completed, all communities between Walande and Roone will be connected with Matangasi Port and Afio Admin Center. This will further enhance achieving our primary goal – to provide access to services. So we have every reason to celebrate this day”, Hon. Hou said.
CDO Brown said the second part of launching was the main highlight of the program that is, the dedication and blessing of machineries and the project team which took place at Rorongo Field where phase 1 ends.
Officiating the dedication service was the Chief Elder of Asimeuri Association, Pr Felix Holo. The program ended with the cutting of ribbon by Hon Rick Hou, Chief Elder Asimeuri, Provincial representative and Land Owner representative to officially declare the launching of construction work for Phase II.
Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) Allan Daonga congratulated SMC for the achievement.
He said improving socio-economic wellbeing of our rural dwellers and making sure they meaningfully participated in such social and economic development is crucial as the vision of the ministry (MRD) states and that is to ensure, “All rural Solomon Islanders become meaningfully participated in development activities to improve their social and economic livelihood.”
PS Daonga acknowledged the continuous active commitment of SMC MP and his project team and officers in establishing such infrastructure development in the constituency that would certainly enable rural people to access government services as well as provide more economic opportunities.
SMC Road Infrastructure Project began with land consultations & mobilization, public awareness and promotion in 2012. Technical work including road surveys, scoping, designs, costing, and procurement of road machineries started from 2015 to 2016 with actual construction work started in mid-2017 with the Trans Cross Road from Matangasi to Tawaro.
To date the total cost of the road project from 2015 to 2021 is more than $18 million. The project was funded under the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). The funding agencies include Solomon Islands Government (SIG), People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the former Solomon Islands donor partner/agency, the Republic of China (ROC).
Source: MRD & SMCO Joint Press Release