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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Sept. 6) - A former Solomon Islands Member of Parliament was yesterday elected as Honiara City Council’s new mayor.

Mr. Alfred Maetia, the councilor for Panatina ward, was elected ahead of his only rival Mr. Tom Lolemae.

Maetia polled 7 votes to Lolemae’s 5 in the 12-member council.

Speaking immediately after his election, Maetia said challenges facing Honiara were numerous.

But he said his council’s first priority is to clean up the city.

"Honiara was dubbed the dirtiest city of the South Pacific. The new council’s priority is to clean up the city and ensure rubbish collection is up to date. I would like to see that a particular day in a year is set aside for the clean up of the city. This should be a public holiday for the city so that every resident will come out and participate in the clean up process," Maetia, a former east Malaita MP, said.

He said his executive would further discuss the issue when its settles in office.

Maetia also pledged to address unemployment among youths in the city.

He said there were many young people who are without jobs living in Honiara.

"I believe one of the way out of this unemployment problem is self-employment. Therefore, my executive will be working closely with the Department of Commerce to address this problem," he said.

Maetia is the third city mayor since the mayoral title was introduced under the 1999 Honiara City Council Act.

He has also pledged to investigate dubious allocation of city council land by the previous council.

"We are going to assign a legal person with this task. This will be done in consultation with the Department of Lands," he said.

Maetia appealed to the Honiara community to support the new council, saying the challenges facing the city won’t be addressed by the council alone.

"This is our city.

"Together, we can help to improve the services and make Honiara a better place to live."

September 7, 2006

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