BY TAVAKE SIMON HANA’AROA
FOR long the women, youth and children of Guadalcanal have been marginalized when it comes to decision making on land and other resources development.
Their demands as citizens of Guadalcanal to be recognized for their cultural rights and their inclusion in the structures of government have been neglected and unheeded for the past 36 years.
This however took a twist on Friday last week (31st July) as their provincial premier has assured the province that his Government urgently needs to address the issue.
On the behalf of children, youth and women of Guadalcanal, , a form 5 student Samantha Tahiseu of Visale Community High School in her speech demanded recognition for the cultural rights and inclusion of children, youths and women of Guadalcanal in the structures of the government.
She also demanded equal opportunity to participate in decision making on issues of land and resources.
“For too long, we have been ignored by leaders at the community, provincial and national levels when it comes to important decision-making.
“What are the provincial and national government’s plans for us (the children, youth and women)?”
However, Guadalcanal Premier Francis Sade in his speech has highlighted that his administration is making sure to treat men and women equally.
He said they are making sure that men and women of Guadalcanal are treated equally and that women especially be fairly treated and included in any decision making.
Guadalcanal as it is predominantly being a matrilineal society except for the Are’Are Speaking people of Marau, it is the women who carry and pass on genealogies and rights to land and other resources.
“Over time, our women have largely been marginalized or excluded from decision-making on land and other resource developments.
“There is a need to include women in our decision-making processes.
“Furthermore, the increase in gender-based violence is a serious issue that we must stop. I appeal to our leaders at all levels of our society to help us address these issues,” Premier Sade said.
He therefore appealed to the Guadalcanal Provincial Assembly and the good people of Guadalcanal to Support his Executive to make positive changes and create alternative futures for Guadalcanal Province.