BY TAVAKE SIMON HANA’AROA
AS the capital Honiara prepares for a 36-hour lockdown on Tuesday last week, the Minister for Provincial Government Rollen Seleso MP without a second thought saw this as an opportunity to take a moment off from his busy schedules as a minister to attend to his Constituency in South Guadalcanal.
Mr. Seleso together with a Nine member team, among them were three members of the Provincial Assembly (MPA) representing the three wards in South Guadalcanal Constituency embarked on a four-hour boat journey from Honiara to South Guadalcanal Constituency.
According to testimonials being shared by constituents, this is the first time for a Member of Parliament of South Guadalcanal Constituency to work with the cordial support from the three MPAs of the Constituency.
The visit was to fulfill the 2nd phase of the 2019-2023 South Guadalcanal Constituency (SGC) Development Plan, covering the three wards that made up the South Guadalcanal Constituency, namely Duidui, Vatukulau, and Talise.
The constituents were presented with the first draft of the Development Plans for final vetting before its launch in the coming months.
“Since I came into power, I can see the gap between Members of the Provincial Assembly and the national Member of Parliament and it is one of the hindrances to drive any development for our people.
“It’s very important that I took onboard the three MPAs of our three wards here in South Guadalcanal to work together.
“I can see that the three MPAs need to work closely with me so that together we can drive the priority developments in our wards and constituency,” the Minister for Provincial Government and MP for South Guadalcanal,” Rollen Seleso told Sunday Isles Exclusively.
In early January 2020, a tour was also made to the constituency consisting of an eight (8) member team, including the three MPAs which was also led by the Honorable Minister Seleso.
They engaged in dialogues and consultations with women, and youth leaders, church leaders, village chiefs, and other prominent leaders of South Guadalcanal to formulate a development plan concept paper for the constituency.
The discussions and dialogues during the visit are captured and formulated in the first draft of the South Guadalcanal Development Plan.
“After we came up with the idea of working together, we then formulated the development plans for our constituency and it is the first of its kind for south Guadalcanal.
“By doing this we have to come down to the communities and have dialogues and consultations and have their views on their plans, their priorities and asked them about their day to day challenges that they encountered in their communities.
“And this is how we develop our development plan,” Hon. Seleso said.
With this initiative taken by South Guadalcanal Constituency, Hon. Seleso added that this would also set as a model for other constituencies in the country to learn from.
He said that both the national and the provincial MPAs are all leaders as they are elected by the same people that elected him to power.
Member for Vatukulau Ward, Hon. Richard Reti said it is a historical event in which the three MPAs are working closely with their Member of Parliament.
“The point is, the same people that we serve were the very ones that our big brother, our Member of Parliament for South Guadalcanal is also serving.
“That is the kind of understanding that we have and together we want to thrive in bringing development and services down to our people,” Ward Member for Vatukulau, Richard Reti said.
For the constituents, the visit has shed some light on the future developments of the constituency.
The cordial relationship they had seen from their ward members and Member of Parliament has spark praise from the people as they had seen it is a beacon of hope for their constituency.
“We are overwhelmed to have this team that comprises of our ward members together with our Member of Parliament to come down and have a dialogue with us.
“I can feel that our leaders cared about us, about the problems that we faced and they want to hear from us about our needs and how they can help us,” a mother of four, Fragrance Obed, from Urahai Village in Duidui ward said.
These similar sentiments were shared by Apollos Piri, Paramount Chief of Poleo also in Duidui ward.
“I appreciate the team’s visit.
“I commended our Member of Parliament, Rollen Seleso, and the three MPAs together with their team members for presenting to us the first draft of the Constituency Development Plan.
“On behalf of the communities here in Poleo, we want to see this development plan working and I call on my people for their cooperation, so that we can together fulfill these plans,” Paramount Chief Apollos Piri said.