BY MIKE TUA
IN the keynote address delivered at the Solomon Islands National Parliament, His Royal Highness, Prince Charles recognized the country’s exceptional human capital for economic growth, the youthful population, and the high rate of domestic violence against women.
The heir apparent praised the “freedom and sacrifices” committed by Solomon Islanders during the Second World War and the remarkable resilience and commitment to democratic values at the end of Regional Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) stabilization mission in the country.
“I have followed very closely the journey the country and her people have taken; your journey has not always been an easy one as each of you may know far better than I do.
“This building and this city was built on the very grounds which the battle of Guadalcanal was fought; this was a crucial turning point in the Second World War, when so many Solomon Islanders endured such immense suffering and show such a distinction, we must never forget their sacrifice and all measurable differences that managed due to the cause of the war and to reservation of the democratic freedom that they hold so dear.
“Those freedoms thrive there as demonstrated by the public support and the enthusiasm for the elections which took place here more recently. Triumphant for democracy is a pity tribute to all who have laid down their lives in these islands; not just in the Second World War but also during the most difficult period of the tensions in the Solomon Islands, almost 20 years ago.
“As all of you know since 2017 and the end of RAMSI stabilization mission, Solomon Islands government has had so much responsibility for security of this country. To have a so successfully and peace held elections this year and the lack of presence of external security is a mark of Solomon Islands’ success in this regard and a tribute to the Solomon Islands’ remarkable resilience and commitment to democratic values.
Another area that holds huge potential, the Prince said was Solomon Islands youthful population. He expressed his optimism for the country’s future human capital.
“With the 77% of the population of the Solomon Islands aged 30 or under, it seems to me that there is such a great opportunity to harness your exceptional human capital in support of your future economic growth and to grow more collectively. These means giving young people skills and personal development training they need to be productive and have fulfilling lives,” he told the Parliamentarians.
Highlighting the Solomon Islands as one of the highest rates of family and sexual violence (FSV) in the world. Prince Charles stressed that tackling domestic violence against women should be the number one priority for the country.
“It also means tackling the appalling scourge of gender-based violence as I know so many of you are determined to do and you must empower women to fully play their role in the society.
“In the Solomon Islands and elsewhere as long as women face the despicable threat of physical and sexual violence, discrimination on the basis of gender neither your economy nor members of your society will ever be able to achieve their fully extreme potential,” he said.
The Prince also challenged the leaders on how best we can uphold our democratic values to address the country’s social-economic issues.
“A strong and vibrant democracy seems to offer such a firmest foundation in which to build the future and ensuring that the Solomon Islands and her people are able to rise and to manage the challenges that lie ahead.
“How best to maintain peace and understanding, how to improve access to education and health care including eradication of Malaria and how to empower future generations to achieve their full potential,” he said.