PRIME Minister Rick Houenipwela has officially handed over the Melanesian Spearhead Group chairmanship to his Papua New Guinea counterpart Peter O’Neil in Port Moresby on Tuesday evening.
The handing over ceremony took place at the indoor Sir John Guise Stadium which also saw exchange of gifts and a traditional ceremony staged by the host country.
Prime Minister Hou when handing over the chairmanship role also presented a shell money to the PNG Prime Minister as a show of transfer of responsibility.
In his speech during the occasion, Hou encouraged leaders of all MSG member countries to uphold unity and respect for MSG countries and our people.
Hou said under the Solomon Islands chairmanship over the last two years; it has continued to uphold the MSG charter and maintained relationships with member countries as well as other MSG members.
The Prime Minister said although MSG has gone through some rough patches they have continued to resolve them in the true spirit of Melanesian brothers.
“Allow me to say that, if Solomon Islands has broken any bridges with any members of the MSG family during our 2 years of chairmanship, we will make needful amends and rebuild these broken bridges. We will normalize and enhance our bilateral relationships with all members of the MSG family. We will ensure to enhance our relationships with all members, associate members and observers of the sub regional organization,” he said.
The Prime Minister also took the opportunity to also express sincere gratitude to his colleague prime ministers who attended the meeting, and looks forward to dialoguing with them on the cultural, economical, political and social issues in the Melanesian sub region.
“We must continue to affirm and consolidate our solidarity through discussions of on these issues and pave new pathways to a better sub-regional organisation,” he said.
Hou also encouraged other MSG leaders to continue to render support to the new MSG chair.
“In the spirit of sharing equal responsibility of managing our people and resources in our sub region, let me also call upon other Leaders in our sub region to render constructive support to the Incoming Chair and provide unreserved commitment to the work of the MSG Secretariat.
“Melanesia is our region. Melanesia is our home. Melanesia, is you and me. Let us work together to protect and conserve Melanesia for the good of Melanesians in our sub region,” the Prime Minister emphasised.