Board Chairman of the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI), Jay Bartlett says the next year and the coming years is shaping up to be critical years for Solomon Islands as a nation.
Mr Bartlett uttered this when delivering his official remarks at the Business Excellence Awards (BEA) on Saturday 30th November at the Coral Sea Resort and Casino.
“If we can push improvements in corporate and Institutional Governance, political and social stability, sound economic management we can achieve more in the next five years than we have in the last four decades,” he said.
He said the delivery of essential services is set to broaden and improve with large infrastructure projects planned for our key State-Owned Enterprises (SOE).
“Solomon Water, Solomon Power and the Solomon Islands Ports Authority (SIPA) all with ambitious plans and capital infrastructure programs that will further develop and broaden accessibility, quality and affordability of services much needed in our economic and social development. Water, Electricity and Trade facilitation are some of the basics of any successful economy and society.
“We as a people are also embarking on the largest single infrastructure program our nation has undertaken and is only successful with a partnership with multilateral donors and resource owners and our Government. This is the Tina River Hydro Project,” the SICCI Chair highlighted.
He also highlighted that Solomon Islands is set to host the largest sporting event in the Pacific region with the construction of much needed sporting facilities that will leave a legacy that we all want to be proud of.
“Successful delivery of the Pacific Games will give our capital a face lift and provide sporting facilities that our young populace can enjoy,” he said.
Connectivity with roads and infrastructure with the planned Airport Upgrade, East Honiara Road and other infrastructure developments will also improve Solomon Islands as a tourist and investment destination.
Bina Harbor Project will also ensure development progress.
Mr Bartlett said this all has to be achieved in the next five years.
“And this will only be achievable with successful partnerships,” Mr Bartlett said, re-emphasizing the theme for the BEA 2019 ‘Partnerships for a Shared Future’.
“41 years ago, on the 7th July 1978 we were bestowed the destiny of self-rule and self-Governance. We woke up on the 8th of July 1978, reborn as independent people. We woke up that morning with the greatest of responsibilities to build this great nation. Today, for me, the concept has not changed, that responsibility has not left us. We must act like every day is the 8th of July 1978 with this great task ahead of us. We took the difficult path many years ago to seek peace, progress and prosperity by looking within ourselves for nationhood building,” he said.
He continued: “The general rhetoric on development, the headline news, our discussions in the street, betel-nut markets and around the dinner tables. These conversations and discussions always seem to be focused on external parties and looking out outwards.
“But there is always a party that we seem to forget. That party is not a sovereign nation from the East or the West. It is the party amongst us tonight. Our forefathers did not aspire to be independent only to become dependent - let us always keep their aspirations in our hearts.
“We are blessed with our strategic location with added abundance so coveted by many. Let us put our differences aside to take control of this nation ourselves,” SICCI Chair, Mr Bartlett, said.