Choiseul makes history with election of Tabe as premier


CHOISEUL Province made history yesterday when it elected Tongoua Tabe to be its next premier.

Tabe becomes the first person from the minority ethnic group of I-Kiribati (Micronesians) to be given the honour to lead Choiseul for the next four years.

He swept to victory with 10 votes ahead of his rival David Deva, who collected six votes in the 16-member Provincial Assembly.

“I feel very emotional,” Tabe told the Island Sun from provincial capital Taro after his victory yesterday.

“In fact, I am in tears,” he added.

“I feel loved, appreciated and respected by my colleague MPAs.

“I can see the Spirit of God with us in the chamber.

“Gracing us with love, unity and respect from our camp and the other camp too.”

Tabe later addressed the Choiseul Provincial Assembly Chamber.

“Let me, at the very outset, state this.

“I am not making a speech to you as your new Premier.

“Today, I want to speak to you and our people directly from my heart and on behalf of my Tabe family and the people of my Wagina Ward.

“I have plenty of time to speak to you later as your Premier.

“The election of any person to a high Executive Position is a demonstration by electors of their confidence in the person elected.

“You have precisely done that to me today in electing me as your Premier.

“Well, I can reply to that expression of your Will with two words best known and deeply engrained in me. ‘Work hard, and work harder’.

“I therefore, solemnly pledge to you today that I will work hard, and even harder, to repay the confidence you have in me.

“I am not a stranger in this beloved Province of ours. I am a born-and-bred Lauruan, but you all know that I come from our minority ethnic group of Ward 1 in our province.

“This makes your expression in electing me as your Premier extra special.

“It is fitting, therefore, at this time, that I, on behalf of my Tabe family and ethnic group of Ward 1, thank you sincerely for valuing the contribution of one of their sons, to this highest office of our beloved Choiseul.

“We will be getting down to businesses in the next 24 hours. I will, of course, be counting, 24/7, on our Ministers in the Executive Government and our very capable civil servants to push our development agenda.

“We will be a consultative government and leaders who will always uphold the rule of law and have high respect for our Offices and the people of Choiseul, whose power we will be exercising in the performance of our functions as Ministers in this Government.

“Solomon Islands has a Unitary Government, which means a provincial government must work with the National Government to optimise the delivery of our development priorities.

“This means that we must work hard to negotiate and then integrate our development aspirations and priorities with those of the National Government.

“Let me also state openly that whether you have voted for this government or not, this Government is for all the people of Choiseul.

“It is my intention to visit all wards in the next four years. But for now, allow my team and me to first put together our ‘brains’ in the next few weeks to determine our deliverables in the first 100 days and thereafter.”

Tabe, an educationist by profession, told his people of Lauru that he will work very hard with his government, to pay back the trust they accorded him on this Premier post.

He said they are still working on their key priorities but obviously, they will carry on from where the previous government left.

Tabe will appoint his ministers tomorrow.

Prior to his appointment, Tabe was a Secondary school teacher and later, an administrator.

He then became a classroom assessment officer within the Ministry of Education and Human Resources (MEHRD), where he served for six years.

Tabe got a Bachelors in Education and Masters Business Administration (MBA) from the University of South Pacific in Fiji.

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