29 May 2008

Embracing tradition key for Melanesia in meeting big challenges ahead

7:43 pm on 29 May 2008

The importance of enhancing customary tradition in Melanesia has been hailed at the MSG Leaders Summit underway in Port Vila, Vanuatu.

In their opening addresses, both PNG and Vanuatu's Prime Ministers have told delegates that embracing tradition is a key to meeting the big challenges facing Melanesia.

JB reports from Port Vila.

"Melanesian customary tradition has been in the centre of proceedings at this MSG summit. A reconciliation ceremony for the death of a Solomon Islander in Vanuatu last year was held at the Port Vila chiefs nakamal, involving several MSG leaders. At the ceremony, four chiefs' councils from around Vanuatu each adopted the people of the other four Melanesian countries, pigs were killed in the custom tradition, and mats, food and shell money were offered to the victim's family. Then, at the opening of the Leaders Summit, Vanuatu PM Ham Lini also killed a pig after he officially accepted the chairmanship of the MSG from PNG's Sir Michael Somare. The leaders are due to choose a director general for the new MSG secretariat by Friday."