BY LYNTON AARON FILIA
PEOPLE of the Shortland Islands in the Western province are demanding clarification on the Prime Minister’s proposed visit to the border.
Report reaching Island Sun says chiefs and communities in Shortlands would like to receive a confirmation so that they could embark on preparations to accord Prime Minister Rick Hou a proper traditional welcome, if the visit is confirmed.
With the proposed visit, Former SSPM, PS and Chief Mr Edward Kingmele CBE said they have learnt through social network that Prime Minister Hou will be visiting the border under some government programme.
However, Kingmele also points out disappointment that the proposed visit has failed to follow procedures – in terms of planning and announcement of the high level visit to their community.
“In this case the chiefs and people know nothing about the proposed visit to Short land border, therefore chiefs and people are not ready to welcome and receive their Hon Prime Minister.”
He explained it is their tradition to welcome a high chief of another village, let alone from another province.
“Prime Minister’s visit to Short land is very important to the political, socio-economic and peace development for the Islands of Western province, and such a visit must get support and cooperation of everybody,” he adds.
Regarding border issues, Kingmele said he had proposed a way forward to address the border issues early this year.
He suggested a high level roundtable should be held immediately among national, provincial and community chiefs and leaders.
Secondly the government’s presence at the border must involve the permanent establishment of law enforce township at Lofung as a follow-up to the Commissioner of Police Office assurance to establish a naval base there, he said.
Finally two important agents that must be put in place are the establishments of border authority and parliamentary border oversee committee.
If the government is not prepared to attend to these proposals, then what is the purpose of such a high level visit to the border? He asks.