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More than half country’s population under 30

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, August 19, 2009) – Issues regarding youth development as a result of the rapid increase population are becoming a matter of great concern.

Governor General Frank Kabui said this at the presentation of the Young Solomon Islander of the Year Award 2009 at the Multipurpose Hall in Honiara last Sunday.

Mr. Kabui said Solomon Islands youth population is well over 50 percent, including those who are up to 29 years of age as the upper limit of the Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP) definition of those falling within the youth category.

The country has a young population, he said, but the attention given to youth matters by the successive governments has been minimal.

He said this has not been the result of any deliberate design to side-line youth development but rather a matter of lack of resources from within the government set-up.

Kabui added that the establishment of the Ministry of Women, Youth and Children Affairs was a recognition by the present Government of the need to give special attention to youth development.

The Ministry is responsible for the implementation of the Government’s youth policy in conjunction with CYP and other stakeholders.

He said previous efforts to address youth issues in Honiara include the Masta Liu Project and others.

"We have come a long way in the development of our youth but we need to do more.

"It is an ongoing programme and we hope that we get better and better in our efforts to develop our youths for the better," he said.

Kabui added that adequate resources are needed to do this.

"Young people are sleeping giants of hope. They are the bed-rock for the future," he added.

Kabui told youths of this country that they are the hope for the future.

"You are the future leaders and the destiny of the Solomon Islands is in your hands."

National Futsal captain Elliot Ragomo and Noelyn Wagapu were named the 2009 Young Solomon Islander of the Year Award 2009 on last Sunday by Ministry of Women, Youth and Children Affairs.

They were awarded SB$10,000 [US$1, 300] cash prize with a certificate of achievement and contribution.

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