Suspicions within MSG - Solomon Star News

Suspicions within MSG

11 March 2018

Dear Editor – I may not be well versed with the MSG charter, upon which this alliance operates and govern its operations.

However, it seems to me that those protocols are dozed off if and when a member country decides to do otherwise.

This little grouping, the way I see it has a lot of suspicions against each other, and at times backstabbing and distrusting each other.

I don't care much, because that is what is happening, even among our own local politics.

Currently, looking at it, it's Solomon Islands and Vanuatu against Fiji and PNG, whilst New Caledonia is watching and undecided as to who to throw their weight behind.

The worst hit are our Melanesian brothers and sisters in West Papua, who have been betrayed for "thirty pieces of silver" as it were.

This is shown through PNG and Fiji's economic interests by admitting Indonesia, the 'elephant in the tent' and denying our siblings as it were.

Mind you, it's the elephant in the tent. Those who know this metaphor or story understand the conclusion.

This is despite the fact that certain protocols of this organization have to be met, before admission.

This begs the question of what actually was MSG established for?

Have we missed the vision of those who've espoused the idea?

Are we improving or rather changing those ideals?

Maybe it's time to review the MSG charter so that it accommodates some of these confusions and mistrust.

I believe Vanuatu and Solomon Islands are the only MSG countries battling it out with our larger economic neighbours and the rest of the world, when it comes to the West Papua issue.

This arrangement (MSG) is a one-sided affair, even when it comes to economic benefits.

One can see evidences of this on the shelves of our shops in Honiara.

PNG and Fijian products are flooding in, whilst we export very little.

The only thing we export through this organization is tuna, and I can tell you it's the best tuna product in the world.

However, besides that, I still have to see some biscuits or coffee from the Solomons here in Nadi or Suva.

An Expo held in New Zealand a few years ago, has put our coffee products (thanks to Isabel Province) as the best.

Guess where our coffee was displayed? In a Fijian stall.

Very cunning right? They expose themselves using our product.

The same goes to MSG. They use this forum to gain economic benefits at other countries' expenses.

The decisions from our neighbours that we cry over here, shows the upper hands they have, with economic power.

The adage, 'with money comes power' is very true here.

We are not economic power houses per se, so what influence or power do we wield even when we disagree?

No wonder, even our other arrangements like the airline issue with Fiji airways - we couldn't make a better deal.

Eventually, they pushed us from the Saturday flight (mind you the busiest day) to Monday/Tuesday, the days least traveled.

This just shows what economic power tool they could wield, again, even if we disagree.

Three things I want to bring to your attention as I conclude.

Firstly, before joining any of these organizations, we must look deeper to see their implications on our country at the short, medium and long term. Do the benefits outweigh the disadvantages?

Secondly, a review of the MSG is needed right now, so that these issues can be resolved accordingly.

Finally, and not the least, it is a challenge to our members of Parliament to get their acts right and move this country in the right direction.

We have been bullied, ridiculed, and looked down upon in several arenas due to our lack of development and corrupt practices.

Aren't you leaders ashamed of yourselves when we are viewed this way?

We are seen as insignificant, because you, our leaders can't get your acts together and move this country forward!

God save Solomon Islands! 


Jackson Ray
Fulton College
Nadi, Fiji Islands