BY GEORGINA KEKEA
MAKIRA Ulawa province was the first to be established as a province in 1983. This was highlighted by the Member of Parliament (MP) for West Makira, Derek Manu’ari who was the key guest speaker during the commemoration of the province’s second appointed day in Honiara on Saturday.
Speaking before the crowd from Makira Ulawa at the museum grounds, Manu’ari says 35 years on, undoubtedly Makira Ulawa have achieved so much. He says economically, Makira Ulawa province has a wealth of resources and they have contributed so much in the areas of agriculture, fisheries as well as in forestry.
“Just last year the quality of Makira cocoa was recognized at the global level when one of our local producers of cocoa was awarded with a prestigious award for high quality locally produced cocoa.”
Manu’ari says however it has not been all glory and splendor.
“We do have our own challenges, some of which have continued to bog us down since 35 years ago up until today.”
He says it is often their people’s way of life to be ashamed to admit their own faults and weaknesses. But he says that if they are to effectively address and overcome their issues, they must acknowledge the challenges faced. He says they must not be ashamed to admit their own failure and their development woes and obstacles to sustainable development are numerous. Manu’ari says Makira Ulawa continued to lag behind in terms of literacy and their efforts to address economic poverty remain slow.
“Today Makira Ulawa province stands at a cross road. We face today many new challenges unlike any other that we may have encountered way back in our short history as a province. We face today new challenges created by ourselves, challenges that have the potential to pose disunity and disharmony among ourselves. These challenges are new because they are fueled by gross misinformation and chronic indoctrination stimulated by the enticement of the monetary world. It is in such times that our solidarity as a people and province can be truly put to the test.”
The MP for West Makira adds that there is no shortcuts to achieve sustainable development and there is also no easy way. Therefore he calls on the people of Makira Ulawa to commit, endure and to be resilient, patient and participate meaningfully while at the same time make a lot of sacrifices in order to achieve sustainable development. He called on the people of his province to cooperate and work in collaboration with each other as land and resource owners. He also pointed out that the people of Makira Ulawa tend to do things their own way with little regard for the formal government apparatus.
“My question is, how conducive is this type of lifestyle to the needs of the modern world and the modern practices and systems of governance? Can this type of lifestyle help us to meaningfully participate in socio-economic development?” Manu’ari questioned.
In 2009, the total enumerated population of Makira Ulawa province is 40, 419. This is eight percent of the country’s total population.
“But just like our founding fathers, we must not falter in the face of adversity. We must stand up and ensure that our people are not mislead nor misinformed into lawlessness by a few misguided elites. We must not be held back by our own human weaknesses but must stand up and face our development woes head on together as one people and province. We must not go back. We must only move forward for there is truly no place for that ‘past’ in the future. The future only has room for ‘good past’, not ‘bad past’,” the MP for West Makira says.
The day on Saturday was a fun time for the people of Makira Ulawa to come together to share their culture, traditions and be together as one people from the province of Makira Ulawa. The official day for the second appointed day was on August 3.