Revolution as communities strengthen themselves
BY SAMIE WAIKORI
Malaita is witnessing a revolution as communities across the province establish bylaws to strengthen and empower themselves.
More than 30 communities have passed their laws; about the same number are having theirs at the draft-stage, and many more are trailing this same path.
Ambu community, near Malaita capital, Auki, is the latest to enter the fold of law-empowered societies with the launch of their community bylaw held Friday last week.
Both the national government DCGA and the provincial government of Malaita put aside their political differences to witness this historic step in Ambu.
Guest speaker during the launching ceremony, Permanent Secretary of the national ministry of provincial governance (MPGIS), Mr Stanley Dick Pirione thanked Ambu community and its bylaw committee and all stakeholders for inputs and contributions answered in the launching of the bylaw.
He said Ambu like other communities has been governed by certain rules, norms and regulations that existed since the establishment of the community.
“These rules are based on teachings of biblical-Christian principles and also on custom practices based on our traditional beliefs and livelihoods.
“By enforcing these set of regulations and common beliefs, we may have a sense of authority and control in the manner we govern our affairs. That is what bylaw is all about.
“It is about rules, control and management of the community and even church affairs so that we can live and participate in socio-economic development in a manner that is peaceful and more beneficial to us the community,” Pirione said.
He explained that ‘bylaw’ has significant contributions or benefits to the communities which include; maintaining consistency in the management of community affairs and helping church and community leaders manage affairs of the community.
“Communicate purposes and resolving of internal disputes, discipline community members and facilitate development of young people, assist in community governance, enforcement and avoids potential conflicts.
“Restore peace, harmony, friendship and improve livelihood of people within community, paves way for development and delivery of government services and confidence for nation building,” Pirione said.
He called on Ambu community to encompass commitment and enforce regulations within the bylaw document “though it could be challenge”.
“Teach our kids and ensure they know the consequences that may come about when breaking our community rules.
“The launching of the bylaw elevates the significant of the bylaw framework for us community to improve on our laws and enforcement management capabilities as we venture into the future,” Pirione said.
The establishment of community bylaws in Malaita is the fruit of the Community Governance and Grievance Management Project (CGGMP) of the MPGIS.
CGGMP is being run in other provinces, but none as vibrantly as what is being seen in Malaita.
Accomplishment for the project in the province and credit must be given back to the CGGMP office in Auki through MPGIS, all contributing stakeholders and World Bank for the achievement.
So far, community bylaws that were launched and enforced are: a “ward bylaw” governing
Ambu joins 34 other communities in Malaita that are with bylaws: 27 communities in ward five, three in ward 28, two in ward 29 and one each for ward 10 and nine in the province. More community bylaws are on draft stage.