BY SAMIE WAIKORI
THE people of Malaita Province this week welcomed the US Deputy Chief of Mission under the US embassy in Port Moresby, His Excellency, Bernard Link to Auki.
Mr. Link was in Auki as preparation for the US Scale programme assistance as well as well as other potential support for the country.
Upon the delegation’s arrival in Auki, they took a site visit to the forestry programmes on communities in the Highlands of Central Kwara’ae and a discussion session was held at the Serah’s Hideaway in the Langa Langa lagoon.
Speaking during a brief welcome ceremony held at Gwariagalu community in Central Kwara’ae, His Excellency Link expressed happiness in interacting with communities and seeing the activities that people are engaged with on the ground.
He said when looking at the future of Malaita province and the Solomon Islands there are wonderful and bountiful resources that are around.
Link said the trees, water, soil and the environment around needs to be preserved and taken care of.
“This is the reason why the United States is here and wanted to support your communities to preserve your resources.
He said in preparation for the support including the SCALE programme, “we are here to hear your ideas and how to work with communities in Malaita and elsewhere in the Solomon Islands.”
Link said this is to help address the opportunities for the people and communities as the Scale programme was intended with open doors for partnership and support towards communities.
He also identified in his visit to communities on Central Kwara’ae, that it’s important not just to think about the environment or economic opportunity, but also about the cultural norms and value of the people.
“I look forward for ideas from your leaders that will be put forward to us as I’m here with open ears. I am listening and hope to learn and absorb more through the interaction and experience with people in the province.
“Thank you very much for opening doors to us and I certainly look forward to working together with the national government, Malaita provincial government and other stakeholders on how best we can take possession of our plans of actions to move forward,” Link said.
This paper understands that US representative and a provincial team led by premier Suidani had a visit to communities in Langa Langa lagoon while a meeting was also held with the MPG executive yesterday ahead of his return to Honiara the latter part of the day.