Gao-Bugotu sets history in the justice and social sectors.

MP Samuel Manetoali, guests, chiefs and children celebrating the official opening of the court house
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Gao Bugotu constituency has set a historical achievement where its people will have access to justice services at the rural level.

This follows the opening of a court house at Tatamba on Wednesday.

Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs Dr Paul Mae, who had the honour of receiving the important infrastructure, describes the event as historical.

He said the completion of the court house is one of the first time not only in Isabel but in whole country where community decided to build a court house and give it to his ministry.

He said one of the visions of his ministry is to provide effective, efficient and sustainable justice services for rural communities.

He said his ministry prepares to provide leadership and cooperation support for delivery of justice service.

“When we talk about justice services it includes service like access to court, access to legal advice, access to lawyers and these are important part of service where my ministry provided.

“This also fall in line with the policy of the national government which talks about ensuring people in the rural communities have access to justice.

Part of the crowd witnessing the handover ceremony

“Today’s event (Wednesday) marks one of the very important history for us.

“It is one of the first time not only in Isabel but in whole Solomon Islands where one of the communities through their hard work decided to build one court house and give it to the ministry.

“This a good example to other constituencies who might look at and do it as well.

“My ministry can do only as much with limited budget. With the support of the community like court house at Tatamba it will help us.”

He said his ministry will work on requesting lawyers, magistrate and encourage them to go down to the communities to provide legal services and administer justice services.

A police officer raising the national flag

He said one of the priorities of the ministry is to ensure justice services are accessed by people in the rural communities.

He said over the past years they have work hard to achieve some of their priorities areas which include includes court circuits, access to justice program and infrastructure development.

He said court circuits is one of the activities where his ministry involved on it.

“It is one of our main jobs to try and reach out to the rural communities with the help of our magistrate, police officer, public solicitor, DPP Lawyers.

He said one of the shocking things they experienced is some of their court circuits are conducted under mango tree and inside rundown buildings.

He said even some of old court circuit building are reclaimed by landowners which they have to fight back for it.

“With this court building it will allow more court circuits to come here and also allow to deal with civil cases and land matters which have big implication in development,” he said.

Mae said in terms of access to justice program they have run serval programs in Makira, Malaita and Western province where they train the Paralegals to conduct workshop to educate people about law and about their rights.

Chiefs taking the lead

He said with such infrastructure it will encourage them to look at Tatamba to extend its program in the near future.

He said going forward Tatamba could be an area where they will put in place one paralegal in the future.

He said although this is not part of the whole development plan of the ministry, they are happy to take it onboard.

“It is a huge gift for us and we acknowledge it,” he said.

Mae said this year the ministry will rebuild two court house at Seghe in Western province and Atori in Malaita province.

He said the ministry is also planning to build two more court house in Isabel and Taro in Choiseul province.

Meanwhile, he encourages communities in Gao Bugotu constituency to look after the important infrastructure.