Central Honiara constituency is ‘New York’ of Solomon Islands: Lilo


The significance of Central Honiara constituency has been underscored by SIPRA candidate Gordon Darcy Lilo as the ‘New York’ of the country.

Mr Lilo, president of Solomon Islands Party for Rural Advancement (SIPRA) coined this phrase when speaking to the paper yesterday on his visions to bring up Central Honiara to realise its potential of being a powerhouse constituency.

He said SIPRA’s visions and policies can be translated and implemented to empower Central Honiara constituency and its constituents, and the country overall.

“I want my constituents to understand that Central Honiara is the New York of Solomon Islands.

“The great institutions of this country and regional institutions are hosted in this constituency. The Central Bank, the financial institutions such as banks, the cathedrals and main churches and their headquarter offices, the national referral hospital (NRH), the Legislature (parliament), the Judiciary including the Magistrate and the High Court which is shared between West and Central Honiara, the National Provident Fund (NPF) which hosts all the liquidity of the country, the fuel company which controls supplies in the country – South Pacific Oil Limited (SPOL), University of the South Pacific (USP), the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) a premier regional organisation, and most of the Government ministries’ head offices. The Honiara city’s central business district (CBD) is here also.”

Lilo, a one-time prime minister from 2011-2014 and a strong contender for the top job once elected as Central Honiara’s parliamentary representative, said Central Honiara has potential in its huge population, which can be tapped using SIPRA’s visions and policies.

SIPRA visions and policies aim at resurrecting the country’s ailing economy to become a vibrant one.

One of SIPRA’s visions and policies which will tackle the current huge unemployment and youth/women population in the country is incorporating TVETs in community high schools; another will be the propping up and support for more small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in the country.

“SIPRA’s plans to use SMEs and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) will turn the huge unemployed population of Central Honiara constituency to active contributors of the economy. SIPRA’s TVET plan will prepare Central Honiara’s youth and women to enter the SMEs and generate income and drive the economy.”

Lilo explains that SMEs are the only realistic channels through which government and donor funds can go directly to the citizens’ households and back into the economy as a whole.

“The larger enterprises not so much.”

Lilo explains that SIPRA’s vision and policies to provide more education and employment opportunities will also greatly impact the country.

Making example of his plans for Central Honiara constituency if he is elected, Lilo said:

“The huge number of people living in informal settlements behind Central Honiara have ties with their tribes and communities back in their provinces of origin, so providing education and employment opportunities for them, while improving livelihoods and economy in Central Honiara, will also have positive spill-over effects in their communities back in their provinces, improving the livelihoods and economies there.

“Central Honiara constituency will pilot these policies. SME will be the platform that will lift the women and youths here. The TVETs in all the community high schools will absorb them and prepare them to be ready for SMEs to have better opportunities either in the social service sector or the economic sectors.

“We will also fix the land registration problem in Central Honiara. We will make a drive to make sure that urbanisation in Central Honiara must be fixed first, so that they [Central Honiara constituents] have the potential to be able to use that to draw capital in the financial institutions, and even in SMEs too.”

SIPRA has a lot of visions and policies to move the country forward, Lilo explains, and one of them is to diversify and expand on the current labour mobility scheme to include other countries, such as Canada with the under-utilised CITREC programme.

He said this poses huge opportunities for the unemployed youth and women of Central Honiara constituency.

Meanwhile, the labour mobility legislation was passed when Lilo was prime minister in 2012.

Central Honiara is the country’s second most heavily populated constituency, behind East Honiara constituency.

The country goes to the polls on April 17.

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