Locals, nation deserve better - Solomon Star News

Locals, nation deserve better

11 June 2019

Why is Transparency Solomon Islands so concerned about good governance, focusing its advocacy activities on [1] civic awareness, [2] active citizenship/citizens, [3] fight against and rolling back corruption, [4] people engagement, [5] democracy, [6] empowering citizens with information on their relationships and linkages to the three arms of the government, [7] supporting people’s activism, [8] human rights and [9] providing free legal services and advice?

It is because Transparency Solomon Islands believes that Solomon Islanders and Solomon Islands as a country deserves better than what it has currently.

Yes, funds are scarce but with proper use of them and with corruption rolled back they, coupled with development partners contributions, can provide and Solomon Islanders can have better than we have today.

The preparations for the recent visits by our two most valuable partners in the region, Australia and New Zealand, illustrates what can be achieved in a relatively short period of time and enforces the notion that Solomon Islanders deserve, and can have, better.

Perhaps putting it simple will bring home to our Executive Government, our Legislature, and our Judiciary, the three arms of the government, that Solomon Islanders deserve better from the three arms of the government exercising their entrusted power on their behalf.

Transparency Solomon Islands acknowledges that it was a great effort by those involved to clean up Honiara and do a quick fix of the roads for the short visit by Scott Morrison, followed by Winston Peters.

That being the case, it is time for Solomon Islanders to take back this country for themselves, to renew that self-respect that has been missing for so long. If the Local Government [the Honiara City Council] can organise a clean-up in two days for visiting dignitaries, imagine what could be achieved with some organisation and planning that should be a standard of the Honiara City Council operations.

With regard to the roads, at what point does the Minister for Infrastructure acknowledge that it is more important to fix a road for a visiting dignitary than it is to permanently repair and rebuild the roads so the local population can go about their daily lives in a safe secure manner, so local business can operate knowing the infrastructure is in place allowing them to function successfully.

Transparency Solomon Islands reminds the minister that if the roads were repaired and congestion dealt with, then quite possibly the Prime Minister, Governor General and Corrective Services may not need to impede traffic with a siren blaring police escort at all hours of the day. Needless to say, it would reduce the unnecessary cost of Police transport and free up valuable Police resources also.

Transparency Solomon Islands believes that it is now an opportune time for the new Minister of Infrastructure or the new DCGA government to fully explain what the tens of millions of SBD allocated to Road improvements in 2018, 2017 were actually spent on in the last government and who the contractors were.

With new Executive Government  and Local Governments now in place we look forward to hearing new plans and policies to deal with the ever-growing piles of rubbish that line our streets and clog our waterways. TSI understand our Pacific neighbours are working towards eliminating the use of plastic bags and are embracing the recycling of paper, cardboard, newspaper, plastics and aluminium.

TSI applauds the efforts made to date by the Western Province government at plans to eliminate the use of plastic bags. We also congratulate Bobby Siarani as a winner of the Commonwealth Youth Award in March 2019 for a bio-gas initiative to address waste disposal and sanitation issues.

The Executive Government [DCGA] will need funds to fund its ambitious workplan. These funds will be raised through taxing its working citizens, businesses etc. It makes a lot of sense with regard to our roads that it is time the Infrastructure Ministry take stock of the lost time incurred by businesses that require the use of the roads as part of their daily function. Does the Ministry not understand the direct correlation between lost revenue incurred by business and reduced GDP and tax revenue?

With change we understand a relentless education and awareness campaign will be required to make the population understand the positive effects on the way they live, more importantly improving their quality of life now and for future generations. Solomon Islanders are up to the challenge, they want to re-claim their waterways, their natural resources, slow down logging, they want to stop burning plastic, they want to raise their children in a healthy, safe environment and they want to be proud of their surroundings.

Here we draw attention to a statement made by the new government. “The DCGA remains committed to transparently delivering ongoing and prospective policy priorities in the interests of peace, national stability and economic advancement”

The people of Solomon Islands now look forward to understanding the new plans and policies that will form an important part of the way this government will go about its business. Most importantly how these will create a better Solomon Islands for Solomon Islanders who deserve better from the exploitation of their resources and how the public funds will be used to achieve a better Solomon Islands as a country.