Thursday, December 12, 2013

From aircraft engineer to environment advocate

By Josephine Navula, journalism student at FNU

Pacific Nature Conference Closing Bulletin 2013, Suva Fiji - Love for his people and his homeland is what drives Premier Jackson Kiloe, the Premier of Solomon Islands’ Choiseul Province.

“I could see that we were facing problems of our forests being cut down and damaging the environment and nothing was done about it,” he said.

This was what caused him to put his hand up for the role.

“I had no background knowledge of the environment, but I took up the job because I had to fight for what was best for our environment and the people,” he said.

Premier Kiloe worked in Australia for seven years as an aircraft engineer before he returned home in 1997.

He said his Australian experience was relatively challenging because he was the only Solomon Islander where he worked.

“I was complimented on being so hard working, despite the challenges I faced,” he said.
 The father of five said he thrived on challenges though.

 “I faced these a lot while growing up,” he shared.

“My father was just a normal farmer, we didn’t have enough money but we didn’t see ourselves poor because we had everything around us that we could rely on.”
Premier Kiloe returned to the Solomon Islands when his father called him to return to look after his mother who was ill.

“I couldn’t do anything else even though I had elder siblings who could look after my mother, but I also missed everything about home,” he said.

Premier Kiloe said upon his return he realised the significant exploitation of their forests and he knew he had to do something to save it.

“The environment is home to everyone and everyone needs to be accountable for the actions they do to it,” he said.

Josephine Navula is a member of the Media Team providing coverage of the 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas from 2 to 6 December in Suva, Fiji.  This is a partnership between the Fiji National University (FNU), University of the South Pacific (USP), SPREP and Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) whereby a team of 10 journalism students are mentored by senior reporters as they cover the conference.  This activity is funded by the Pacific Assistance Media Scheme (PACMAS). 

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