Cultural breakdown a factor in lawlessness: Leader

A village leader has attributed Milne Bay’s rising lawlessness to a breakdown in culture.

The Huhu LLG leader highlighted a lack of respect in today’s society.

When speaking of Milne Bay’s locally initiated event – the Huhu War Canoe Festival – coordinator Kaimuyoni Ila emphasised the importance of imparting cultural and traditional knowledge to the younger generation.

Ila believes this is the best way to keep youths firmly grounded in spite of Western influence.

“Being a leader, I’ve seen a lot of people move away from their cultures and traditional way of life,” he stated. “And for us in the bay, you’ll notice that the Alotau township is within the heart of Huhu – the place where we come from – and the influence from people from outside is very much felt today.

“And so to me, culture is a concern. We’ve seen a lot of lawlessness in the province simply because people no longer value their traditional cultures.”

This was the reason why the war canoe festival was initiated in 2016 by the people of West Tawala, Ealebe, East Tawala and Buhutu. They hope to attract visitors to their respective villages to experience the authentic village setting as well as instill a sense of ownership in their people, and especially the youth.

Ila said what is now needed is government support as this initiative is of great benefit to the local communities and is a form of cultural preservation.

“Right now we have Egwalau Tours & Events Milne Bay really supporting us for the last four years; from 2016 to 2019. And this year we called it off because of COVID-19. But we’re looking forward to coming back in 2021.”

(Huhu leader, Kaimuyoni Ila)

Carmella Gware