“We are thankful now that the government in their policy prioritization exercises to empower traditional leaders,” said outspoken Rennell Bellona chief Alo Sangatango.
Mr Sangatango of Bellona’s Matangi Council of Chief during the draft Traditional Governance and Customs Facilitation (TGCF) Bill 2018 consultation last week said its welcoming news for leaders in the communities to have their roles and duties recognized.
“I want to thank the government for recognizing our importance as traditional leaders in the nation building process.
“After gaining independence our roles and duties as chiefs have not been supported legally, financially or the social aspects in the communities.
“With this proposed bill, I am convinced that it will set forth an effective governance structure for our nation,” he stated.
Similar sentiments are also aired during consultation meetings facilitated by the Ministry of National Unity, Reconciliation and Peace (MNURP) and Cultural Division across the nine provinces.
TGCF Bill have been around for sometimes, but after coming into power Solomon Islands Democratic Coalition for Change Government (SIDCCG) set out consultation process.
Successive government from the Solomon Islands National Unity and Rural Advancement (SINURA), Democratic Coalition of Change Government (DCCG) and current (SIDCCG) prioritize empowerment and recognition of traditional systems and structures / leaders which is reflected in the draft policy.
TGCF Bill is based on recommendations of the 2009 Parliamentary Foreign Relations Committee recommendations; Recognizing the roles of traditional governance structures and churches in the country.
“SIDCCG pledges to recognize, strengthen and empower the traditional governance systems and structures and protect and preserve the diversity of our organic traditions and culture in Solomon Islands.
“Additionally, the government intends to redesign the Solomon Islands Coat of Arms to reflect cultural identity and sensitivity,” the policy statement reads.
The draft bill will be furnished after the nationwide consultations and finalized for Bills and Legislation Committee before tabling in parliament next month.
Source: Government Communication Unit