Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and his delegation arrived back in the Temotu Provincial Capital Lata on Friday, after spending almost two days visiting Chiefs, community leaders, schools and clinics at Tikopia, Temotu’s remote island.
This is part of the Prime Minister’s weeklong engagement with the Provincial Government and people of the country’s most eastern Province.
The trip started Monday 7 June when the Prime Minister left Honiara as guest of honour at the Temotu Provincial Second Appointed Day celebrations on 8 June.
His delegation left Lata for Tikopia just before Tuesday midnight.
After about 16 long hours braving high swells and strong winds, Prime Minister Manasseh and Madame Sogavare, Government Ministers and the Temotu Provincial Premier arrived at Safoa Community High School, Tikopia.
The arrival welcome at Safoa was overwhelming.
Prime Minister Sogavare was accorded a real traditional warriors welcome and attire.
Welcoming Prime Minister Sogavare on behalf of the Chiefs and people of Tikopia, an emotional Mathew Vaka Apairotu said, “some, if not all of us here never had the chance to meet any Prime Minister in our lifetime let alone hearing it from the radio. Today, not anymore, the people of Tikopia meet you in person.”
He said, the former Governor General, the late Sir George Lepping visited them some 27 years ago and that was it.
Mr Apairotu on behalf of the Chiefs and people of Tikopia thanked the Prime Minister for coming out all the way to them.
The Chief’s representative also thanked the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement, DCGA, for steering the country safely in this pandemic. Adding, the people of Tikopia owe their health especially in this pandemic to the wise decisions of the government resulting in the current COVID 19 free status.
He said, the visit brings the government closer to the people on Tikopia.
“It reinforces national unity, that we are one family, a Solomon Islands family.”
Reciprocating the welcome, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare was overwhelmed that he can personally meet the Chiefs and people of Tikopia, listen to their challenges, visit schools and a clinic on the Islands, without having to wait in the office for the reports.
The Prime Minister also thanked the Chiefs and leaders of Tikopia especially for its human resource contribution in the development of Solomon Islands.
He assured the chiefs and people of Tikopia that their plea for improved health services is not ignored. A new Health facility will soon be built with Government assistance.
In Education, the Prime Minister said, while it is welcome news to hear that Government support through the constituency especially in classroom buildings was strongly evident, Government wants to pursue the idea of a modern Library built for the students on the island of Tikopia.
The Prime Minister also applaud Tikopian leaders for upholding the island’s rich and unique culture of respect. He said, while norms and culture continues to break down in most parts of the country, it is encouraging to feel, breath and experience the highest form of respect on the Island.
The Prime Minister also handed over token of appreciation in cash to community leaders on behalf of their communities.
Prime Minister Sogavare and delegation also visited Tukutaunga Rural Health Clinic and provided logistic support for the clinic’s medical supplies.
Terano Primary School at Ravenga district was also visited. Students of the school treated the Prime Minister and his delegation to some of the unique traditional Tikopian dance.
The Prime Minister acknowledged the school’s administration, past and present for raising some of the country’s best human resources both in private and public sectors.
The Prime Minister further donated 20 Thousand dollars as a token of appreciation towards Terano Primary School.
Prime Minister Manasseh arrived back in Lata on Friday, onboard Patrol Boat Gizo.
The Prime Minister was expected to spend Sabbath with church members in Lata yesterday (Saturday 12 June).
Mr Sogavare is due back in Honiara today.