LAST week in a letter to Solomon Islands media and also posted on Linkedin I reported on the UDP sponsored three day Land Conference held in Malaita Province.
I mentioned the young people attending the Summit had called for their inclusion in decision making on all matters when their interests were involved, including decisions being made about land issues and tenure.
I also mentioned that some had raised their voices in criticism of leaders and questioned whether one or two had spoken out in excess of what I considered might have gone beyond free speech.
One young leader subsequently wrote to me following my story and said the young people were frustrated during the Summit and told me (quote).
“What we all felt was heck this is just another conference and we are not important because they only gave us one hour to present and on the last day.
Did you know that at the previous conference they have 136 recommendations not implemented and now the women and youth have like another 30+ recommendations to add on their waiting lists?
We are going around in circles, we need to look at the constitution and see what is relevant to our time.”
If previous conferences have led to recommendations made by the young attendees at such gatherings not having been attended to and, as claimed, not enough time allocated for the youths to raise their concerns when meetings take place, such as allegedly occurred at the Land Summit, then it would be my suggestion, indeed plea, that all their outstanding claims be addressed as soon as possible and better time arrangements be considered for all future meetings when people, young and old, need to make their statements and air grievances.
Young people make up the majority of Solomon Islanders to-day and their rights, needs, ambitions and desires require full consideration and to sideline them would be a mistake.