A career public servant renowned for her fearless commitment to accountable government was today honoured with the RAMSI Special Coordinator’s Award for Women, 2012.
Ruth Liloqula, who in 2007 became the first woman in Solomon Islands to be appointed Secretary to Cabinet, was presented with the award at RAMSI’s annual Women’s Breakfast.
Presenting the award, RAMSI’s Special Coordinator, Nicholas Coppel said it seemed timely to recognise that generation of Solomon Islands women who had broken through the barriers not only as the first women, but often as the first Solomon Islander to hold a post and in doing so had played a very real role in shaping their new nation.
“So today I am delighted to be presenting this award to a woman renown for her discipline, diligence and dedication to serving her nation with courage and commitment so clear sighted that at times it has been known to make life quite uncomfortable for those not so dedicated to accountable and transparent government.
“This is a woman who had always wanted what is right and best for her fellow Solomon Islanders, who is a firm believer that Solomon Islands not only has the responsibility but has the capacity to manage its affairs effectively and in doing so, deliver a better life to the people of this nation.”
Mrs Liloqula, in accepting the award said while she was humbled and honoured to receive the award she also thought it was ‘about time’ that women be acknowledged for their efforts on behalf of the nation.
She said it had not been an easy road to be doing the right thing and staying uncorrupted when contributing to the development of this country.
“The grounding provided by my parents, family, culture and tradition of my province gave me sanctuary in times of need and when I faced backlash and challenge,” Mrs Liloqula said.
”Our country needs us and our ability to survive and keep going in influencing the influencers”.
Guest speaker at the breakfast, the Deputy Premier of Isabel, Rhoda Sikibalu, currently the country’s most senior female elected politician, encouraged women to step up and have the courage to take up leadership roles.
“As a woman I still attend to my duties… but I have also realized that when it is time to lead, I must accept it and put the traditional feelings aside in order to take on the leadership role.”
Mrs Sikilabu said women considering leadership roles need to make the effort to stay connected with their communities.
“I now know that the real test of political character comes from living the life of your people in your constituency and your province, so that you not only understand their needs and desires, but your everyday qualities and integrity become your campaigning tools.”
RAMSI decided instituted the Special Coordinator’s Award for Women in 2009 as a way of acknowledging each year the outstanding contribution of a particular Solomon Islands woman. The inaugural award went to Beverly Komasi of the Mercy School in Burns Creek, the 2010 recipient was Inspector Florence Taro of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force and last year’s recipient, a young community developer worker, Maylin Sese.