LEADERS in the Western Province have pledged their support behind the institutionalisation of the Traditional Governance Custom Facilitation Bill 2018.
The support was affirmed at a consultation held in the Shortland Islands and Kolombangara from June 2-3.
FAMOA council of Chiefs chairman, Lawrence Hotomo was among those who threw support behind the intention to institutionalise the Bill.
“The Bill is very important. We chiefs, traditional leaders and elders of FAMOA support the proposed Bill because it will empower us,” he said.
He said it will provide a platform that will enable chiefs and traditional leaders for meaningful dialogue with the government when it comes to resource management and socio-economic development on tribal or customary-owned lands.
Mr Hotomo stressed that the FAMOA Council of Chiefs, was established way back by their forefathers and is very instrumental in the Shortland Islands today.
Shortland Islands is strategically located at the border and hosts some of the important government agencies, he added
“This consultation is timely and vital so that we chiefs and traditional leaders in Shortland Islands contribute to the Bill”.
The Kolombangara Council of Chiefs representative Chief Donald Saepio acknowledged the government through the Ministry of Traditional Governance Peace and Ecclesiastical Affairs for enabling the TGCFB 2018 consultation on Kolombangara Islands.
“Most of our chiefs, traditional leaders and elders have passed away, with only us young leaders and elders with these responsibilities on the Island. Therefore, this consultation is an opportunity and blessing for us to come together to share ideas”.
He also points out that Kolombangara Island has contributed much in the country’s economy through the KFPL investment on the Island, let alone the leadership of our chiefs, traditional leaders and elders in this regard.
Chief Saepio called on all Kolombangara leaders to come together, work together and make Kolombangara a united and peaceful Island.
Director Traditional Governance Division from the Ministry of Traditional Governance Peace and Ecclesiastical Affairs (MTGPEA) Chris Tabea thanked participants for accepting the invitation.
“Your participation in the consultation is very important, given this Bill is to empower chiefs, traditional leaders and elders, therefore your contributions are very much appreciated,” he said.
He said the Ministry in 2018 conducted a nationwide consultation on the draft Bill and was withdrawn on the floor of Parliament based on the Bills and Legislation Committee (BLC) recommendations.
“Therefore, the purpose of our coming is to consult with you on the draft TGCFB 2018 as well as identify areas whereby recommended by BLC to support the re-drafting of the Bill,” he added.
–MTGPEA PRESS RELEASE