BY JOHN HOUANIHAU
MYKNEE Sirikolo and Joseph Huitarau of the Solomon Islands government’s Ministry of Forestry & Research and Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, and Disaster Management – Environment & Conservation Division have condemned the ongoing illegal activities carried out by locals at the Honiara’s Botanical Garden.
A recent post cited by ENVIRONMENT MEDIA that was posted on the Yumi Toktok Forum’s social media page described a complaint made by Shy Humble Dapinz about the exploitation of the Botanical garden, calling on responsible authorities to impose strict regulations on the protected forest garden area.
The post headlined ‘Botanical Garden Become a Solfish Hostel’ allegedly described the protected forest garden area as the home of prostitutes and a public toilet.
Director for the Ministry of Forestry & Research, Herbarium & Botanical Garden Division, Myknee Sirikolo strongly urged the public and visitors to respect Honiara Botanical Garden (HBG) as an important and unique place in the country.
“It is the only biggest green space we have open access to go freely within our capital city of Honiara. It is a large natural environment inside our urban and business center of Honiara,” he told ENVIRONMENT MEDIA.
He also called on the public to stop vandalizing and destruction of the public properties that are meant for public use within the Honiara Botanical Garden.
“Stop all the undesirable and unwelcomed illegal activities, such as drinking alcoholic drinks, playing loud music, making unnecessary disturbances, stealing from other genuine visitors, causing public threats, etc.
“The public is also advised to stop cutting down trees and extracting other forest products within the Honiara Botanical Garden boundary.
“Always seek permission, advice, and help from the Botanic Gardens management office,” the Director Sirikolo appealed.
In addition to that, he said the primary idea of setting up Honiara’s Botanical Garden (HBG) was conceived by the late Geoffrey Dennis who works for the Forestry Department from the 1960s to 1980s. The Botanic Gardens was formally established in the mid-1960s.
“The 4 founding Pillars of our Honiara’s Botanical Garden are Biodiversity Conservation, Education & Demonstration, Scientific Research, and Recreation & Public Enjoyment,” said the National Herbarium Director.
“The role and responsibility of the Honiara Botanic Garden office are to improve the way they provide guidance, advice, and regular interactive communication through its management committee.
“The office should help and collaborate in providing the necessary means of security to safeguard the public assets, resources, and facilities that exist in the HBG for public use and enjoyment,” Sirikolo said.
Meanwhile, Environment and Conservation Division, Deputy Director of Conservation, Joseph Huitarau that the land boundary and title which the Honiara Botanical Garden is situated within the Honiara City Council (HCC), while the management of this area is under the Ministry of Forestry & Research.
He said the Honiara Botanical Garden area was previously planned to be listed as an attraction site under the Protected Areas Act 2010, however, the plan was not forthcoming due to unsolved issues of illegal squatters, security, access & others, etc.
“The planned idea was jointly initiated by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme’s (SPREP), Ministry of Forestry & Research (MFR) and Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, and Disaster Management (MECCDM) – Environment & Conservation Division (ECD), Honiara City Council (HCC),” Deputy Director of Conservation, Joseph Huitarau said.