The Western Province Chiefs, Traditional Leaders and Elders fully supported the institutionalisation of the Traditional Governance Custom Facilitation Bill 2018 (TGCFB 2018), the statement echoes at the consultation held on the Shortland Islands and Kolombangara Islands on the 2nd and 3rd June 2021.
Speaking at the consultation held in Shortland Islands, the FAMOA Council of Chiefs Chairman Lawrence Hotomo acknowledged the government intention to institutionalise the Bill.
“The Bill is very important. We chiefs, traditional leaders and elders of FAMOA really happy and support the proposed Bill because it will empower us”. He says
The Chairman added that the Bill itself will provide a platform that will enable us chiefs and traditional leaders for meaningful dialogue with the government when it comes to resource management and socio-economic development on tribally or customary-owned lands.
Also the Bill will empower chiefs and traditional leaders in their leadership role and to strengthening law and order in their communities.
He also highlighted that most of the Islands in the country have their chiefly system in-place. And for us in the Shortland Islands, we have the FAMOA Council of Chiefs, which was established way back by our forefathers and it’s very instrumental in Shortland Islands today.
Shortland Islands is strategically located at the border and it hosts some of the important government agencies, he added “This consultation is timely and vital so that we chiefs and traditional leaders in Shortland Islands contribute to the Bill”.
Therefore, “I on behalf of the FAMOA Council of Chiefs thanked the DCGA government through the Ministry of Traditional Governance, Peace and Ecclesiastical Affairs (MTGPEA) for making an effort to consult with us on the TGCFB 2018”.
On Kolombangara Island, the Kolombangara Council of Chiefs of Kolombangara Islands Chief Donald Saepio also acknowledged the DCGA government through the MTGPEA for enabling the TGCFB 2018 consultation to Kolombangara Islands.
He said the TGCFB 2018 consultation is very important for us to contribute to the draft Bill as this is important for us to collectively finalise our structures and other important matters concerning our people at the community and tribal levels.
“Most of our chiefs, traditional leaders and elders are already passed away, with only us young leaders and elders with these responsibilities on the Islands. Therefore, this consultation is an opportunity and blessing for us to come together to share ideas”.
He also highlighted that Kolombangara Islands has contributed much in the country’s economy through the KFPL investment on the Islands let alone the leadership of our chiefs, traditional leaders and elders in this regard.
Chief Saepio called on all Kolombangara leaders to come together, work together and make Kolombangara a united and peaceful Island.
Meanwhile, Director Traditional Governance Division from the Ministry of Traditional Governance Peace and Ecclesiastical Affairs (MTGPEA) Chris Tabea thanked the participants for accepting the invitation.
“Your participation in the consultation is very important, given this Bill is to empower chiefs, traditional leaders and elders, therefore your contribution are very much appreciated”. He says.
He highlighted that the Ministry in year 2018 has done a nationwide consultation on the draft Bill and it was withdrawn on the floor of Parliament based on the Bills and Legislation Committee (BLC) recommendations.
Therefore, the purpose of our coming is to consult with you on the draft TGCFB 2018 as well as identify areas whereby recommended by BLC to support the re-drafting of the Bill.
He said with the DCGA government commitment to empower and strengthen chiefs and traditional leaders, the team is here to further consult with you on the draft Bill for your inputs.
Finally, Director thanked the chiefs, traditional leaders and elders for their contributions, “Your contributions today is very important for the re-drafting of the TGCFB 2018”.
– MTGPEA Press