Choiseul Province (commonly known as Lauru) has a new Premier. He is Hon. Tongoua Tabe, Provincial Member for Ward 1, Wagina, in East Choiseul.
Premier, Hon. Tongoua Tabe (MPA) took his oath after being elected today on 9th January 2023, by a clear majority of 10 votes against his rival Hon. David Deva (MPA) who polled 6 votes in the 16 Member Provincial Assembly.
Premier Tongoua was a secondary school by profession and was one of the Senior Officers in the Ministry of Education and Human Resource when he resigned to contest the Choiseul Province Ward 1, Wagina Ward and won it from the former MPA, Mr. Movete.
The newly elected Choiseul Provincial Assembly Speaker Mr. Isaiah Pitakaka who was elected on 5th January 2023 and polled 10 votes against his rival former MPA in the last government Mr. Philip Bavare, facilitated the election of the Premier.
Five candidates were nominated for the Speaker position; they were Lemeus Manavakana, Clement Kengava, Greg Sokeni (former Speaker), and Philip Bavare and Isaiah Pitakaka. In the first round of voting after the elimination of three candidates, the final duo got a tie at eight votes each, which was settled finally on the second round of voting on 5th January.
Clerk to the Choiseul Provincial Assembly Mr. Christopher Makoni stated that he was satisfied that the election of the Speaker and the Premier was done in accordance with Standing Order 59 of the Choiseul Provincial Assembly.
“I am fully satisfied that our Provincial Assembly Standing Order 59 has been fully satisfied and implemented smoothly without any problems. This is indeed a reflection of political maturity and respect for the Assembly processes by the elected leaders, senior leaders and officials of the Province”
Choiseul Province sets history in its Assembly when it now has for the first time a female MPA Hon. Florence Vasaro MPA for Babatana Ward, and first ever elected Premier from a minority Kiribati ethnicity who are legitimately and culturally Lauru people.
Attached Statement by Premier Tongoua
Choiseul Province’s New Premier Issues Statement
Hon Members and, all our Lauru people each of us is representing in this sanctified House of our beloved Province of Choiseul,
The spirits of those who have gone before us, our Lauru Pioneers including the Paramount Chiefs, they are the founders of this province, they shaped this province and made this province what it is now, a home called we call Lauru province,
Our former leaders and governments, women, youths and children,
Senior civil servants, members of the public and all those who are witnessing this final phase in the formation of the Executive Government of Choiseul.
I greet you in the name of our God Almighty, who has just blessed us all with a New Year and a renewed hope of furthering prosperity and better well-being for our people here in Choiseul Province.
Let me, at the very outset, state this.
I am not making a speech to you as your new Premier.
Today, I want to speak to you and our people directly from my heart and on behalf of my Tabe family and the people of my Wagina Ward.
I have plenty of time to speak to you later as your Premier.
The election of any person to a high Executive Position is a demonstration by electors of their confidence in the person elected.
You have precisely done that to me today in electing me as your Premier.
Well, I can reply to that expression of your Will with two words best known and deeply engrained in me. “Work hard, and work harder”.
I therefore, solemnly pledge to you today that I will work hard, and even harder, to repay the confidence you have in me.
I am not a stranger in this beloved Province of ours. I am a born-and-bred Lauruan, but you all know that I come from our minority ethnic group of Ward 1 in our province. This makes your expression in electing me as your Premier extra special.
It is fitting, therefore, at this time, that I, on behalf of my Tabe family and ethnic group of Ward 1, thank you sincerely for valuing the contribution of one of their sons, to this highest office of our beloved Choiseul.
We will be getting down to businesses in the next 24 hours. I will, of course, be counting, 24/7, on our Ministers in the Executive Government and our very capable civil servants to push our development agenda.
We will be a consultative government and leaders who will always uphold the rule of law and have high respect for our Offices and the people of Choiseul, whose power we will be exercising in the performance of our functions as Ministers in this Government.
Solomon Islands has a Unitary Government, which means a provincial government must work with the National Government to optimise the delivery of our development priorities. This means that we must work hard to negotiate and then integrate our development aspirations and priorities with those of the National Government.
Let me also state openly that whether you have voted for this government or not, this Government is for all the people of Choiseul. It is my intention to visit all wards in the next four years. But for now, allow my team and me to first put together our ‘brains’ in the next few weeks to determine our deliverables in the first 100 days and thereafter.
As your Premier, I promise that my government and I will officially make a statement on Government’s development priorities and their delivery timeframe in the next few weeks.
God bless our Lauru people and the people of Solomon Islands from shore to shore.
To God be the glory!
Great things, He hath done!