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MRD Officially Welcomes New Minister, Farewells Former

New MRD Minister Rollen Seleso fourth from left, outgoing Minister Duddley Kopu third from left with MRD Executive, senior management and MRD officers during the welcome and farewell program.  PHOTO: SUPPLIED

16 May

The Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) yesterday held a luncheon to formally welcome its new Honourable Minister, Rollen Seleso, and also farewell the former Minister, Duddley Kopu.

Hon. Minister Seleso is the current Member of Parliament (MP) for South Guadalcanal Constituency (SGC), and the former Minister Kopu was the former MP for Temotu Pele Constituency (TPC).

The purpose of the luncheon was to introduce to staff the new Minister, Seleso and also to acknowledge the great work that the former Minister, Kopu has done in leading and guiding the ministry in the last four-years.

In his opening remarks, Permanent Secretary of MRD Dr. Samson Viulu recognized the former Minister’s strong political leadership during his tenure in office and the transformations the ministry has accomplished under his leadership.

He described former Minister Kopu as a brave leader who always stood his ground despite the challenges faced during his political career as minister for MRD.

He said Mr. Kopu has set a legacy not only for the ministry but for the entire country, especially with the new Constituency Development Funds (CDF) Act 2023, which passed in Parliament last year to cater for the administration and regulation of CDF.

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Some of the major achievements the ministry accomplished under the leadership of former Minister Kopu are:

  • Passing of the new CDF Act 2023 in Parliament at the at the end of last year to cater for the administration and regulation of CDF, specifically to strengthen good governance, ensure improved and effective delivery mechanisms of CDF, and promote equal and inclusive participation of all Solomon Islanders in development.
  • Formulation of the first ever Solomon Islands Constituency Development Policy (SICDP), which was approved by Cabinet on March 2, 2023, is a ten-year cross-sectoral overarching roadmap that will guide the implementation of tangible and sustainable development in the rural constituencies of the Solomon Islands toward improving the social and economic livelihood of every Solomon Islander.
  • Establishment of a new joint partnership program between the Ministry of Rural Development and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) known as the Rural Sustainable Development Program (RSDP), which aimed at improving the social and economic development and livelihood of citizens in the rural areas of the Solomon Islands. Many communities are now benefiting from RSDP through projects like water and sanitation, school infrastructure, transportation, and so forth.
  • Establishment of the Communications and Public Relations Unit of the ministry to educate and inform the public about the ministry's programs, especially through publicity efforts.
  • Development of the Cooperate Plan 2019–2023.

At the same time, PS Viulu said the CDF Act 2023 was the toughest Act in the political history of the Solomon Islands to have passed in Parliament.

On several occasions, the Act met resistance from MPs in the 11th Parliament; however, with the willpower of the former Minister, who wants to see change and improvement to the CDF program, he waded through those challenges and had the Act passed in Parliament on Friday, December 22, 2023.

“So, Kopu sets a legacy not only for the ministry but for the entire country. A legacy that will be long remembered by generations to come.”

PS Viulu then wishes Kopu well in his future endeavors.

Former Minister Kopu acknowledged PS Viulu and the staff of MRD for their overwhelming support over the past four years.

He also thanked them for their commitment and dedication to serving the nation.

Mr. Kopu said achievements are the end result of collective efforts; therefore, he expressed gratitude to the leadership of PS Viulu and staff for their overwhelming support for him during his tenure in office.

“We achieved a lot in the past four years, and I believe the journey is not yet over. You still have a bigger task to do, especially with the implementation of the CDF Act 2023 and the rollout of the CDF program to serve our rural people.”

Mr. Kopu said that though he is out of the political scene, he regrets nothing but being happy because the ministry now has an Act to protect and guide the ministry in its program implementation.

Meanwhile, PS Viulu warmly welcomed Minister Seleso to the Ministry and said that the Ministry and its staff are looking forward to work together with him to continue with the reforms that the ministry has started.

Minister Seleso, then assured PS Viulu and staff of his robust commitment to the ministry’s legislative and policy initiatives to drive rural development in our rural areas.

He also thanked the former minister for leading the ministry for the past four years.

“Really, you set a legacy for MRD and the country. You have reformed MRD and set a thing (the CDF Act) that we will easily ride on,” Minister Seleso said.

He said in not very long MRD will be a recognized ministry amongst others to bring services to our rural communities.

Minister Seleso assured PS Viulu and MRD officers of his commitment to carry on from where the former minister has left and look forward to close collaboration on the implementation of the CDF Act 2023 and programs aimed at improving the social and economic livelihood of our rural people.

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