PM remembers past leaders in 44th independence speech
By EDDIE OSIFELO
PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare has paid tribute to the founding fathers, who pushed the country to gain Independence from Great Britain in 1978.
Sogavare stated this during his reflection of the country’s 44-year journey in his 44th anniversary speech yesterday.
“These men and women negotiated our political Independence from Great Britain who ruled the country for 85 years since declaring us a Protectorate in 1893,” the prime minister said.
He said on 7 July 1978, our young country attained nationhood.
Former Member of East Are Are, late Peter Kenilorea was the first Prime Minister who led the country to Independence.
“Our first leaders solemnly declared to the world our choice and determination to champion our destiny.
“On that day, 44 years ago, we started the process of governing ourselves,” he said.
However, Solomon Islands, a country of more than 700,000 people and different cultures and languages, has faced many challenges in her history.
Some of the challenges included internal conflicts like the ethnic conflict between Malaita and Guadalcanal from 1998-2003, riots in Honiara and natural disasters like cyclones and climate change.
Sogavare pondered some questions that remained with him today as he reflected on the country’s journey.
“Has the country achieved the vision and aspirations our founding fathers and mothers had of a strong united and peaceful Solomon Islands?
“Has the country achieved the vision portrayed in our National Anthem which is a country that exude joy, peace, progress and prosperity where men shall brothers be make nations see?
“Or are we planting seeds of doubts and dissent that will continue to divide us and prevent our country from achieving long term peace and prosperity?” he asked.
Sogavare said what legacy should the current generation of Solomon Islanders leaders leave behind for future generations.
“What kind of Solomon Islands do we want to see in 10,20, 50 years or 100 years from today?
“What should we do to ensure that the decisions we all make will lead us to the type of Solomon Islands we wish to see and leave behind for our children, our great children, grandchildren and your children?” he asked.
He said to ask answer these questions, we must first look back to our past and consider the realities we face today before we can chart our path into the future.
Honiara marked the Independence with parade from White River to Maranatha Hall, music shows at Townground, Auditorium building, women selling food and handicrafts and youths offering barber services at Solomon Islands Ports Authority compound.
While people in the communities also celebrated the Independence with sporting events and selling of foods and music.