BY CHARLES KADAMANA
MEMBER of Parliament for Hograno, Kia and Havulei Jeremiah Manele says MV Libaka is owned by the constituency through a trust board.
Manele said the trust board comprises of six wards, Havulei, Kia, Katova, Susubona, Kolotubi and Kolomola.
“You own this ship. It does not belong to the member of the parliament,” he told his people at the commissioning of the vessel last week.
Manele also cleared doubts to his voters and non-voters that anyone can travel on the ship as long as they pay their sea fares and freights.
“Anyone can travel on the ship, whether you vote or not for me you can travel on it so long as you pay your sea fare and freights,” he said.
Manele said the constituency purchased the vessel following request from the people for a regular and non-discriminating shipping services.
He said in recognition of the importance of shipping services and to stop the discrimination, the constituency responded to fulfil the wishes of his people.
The Foreign Affairs minister said Solomon Islands is a maritime state therefore shipping service will continue to be needed.
“With the vessel now made available it will help the communities to move around either for business, health, education or to support the mission of the church.”
He said the availability of regular shipping service is important in the social and economic development of Isabel province and the country.
But Manele cautioned his people that operating a ship is a risky business and people need to understand that to be successful, they must run it on commercial bases.
“That means even though they own the ship through HKH, the trust board, they must pay their fares and freights.
“It does not mean that we own the ship and travel free. If this is going to be the practice the ship will not be able to provide us the service for that long,” he said.
Going forward, Manele said people should not politicise the operation of the ship.
He said the ship will be leased to Segeo shipping company and managed by the HKH constituency trust board.
He acknowledges the chiefs of the six wards for working together from preparation to the launching of the ship.
Manele encourages people from his constituency to work hard and engage in productive sector like copra, fishery, cocoa and kava, and make use of the ship to boost economic right from their home.