By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN
THE slow progress of our nation in terms of where we should be to where we are now shows that something is terribly wrong somewhere, Chief Justice Sir Albert Palmer says.
He made these sentiments when speaking to the participants of the Leadership Pacific 2019 Conference in Honiara.
The conference was held at the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) cultural village, at Lower Panatina Campus.
“You do not need to be told that our progress has been slow and that we are well behind in terms of where we should be, to where we are now as a nation,” Sir Albert said.
He cited an example of that to the bad state of our roads in the Honiara, stating “something is not right or terribly wrong somewhere because the duty to have our roads maintained on regular basis is simply not there”.
“Sometimes it takes up to six months, even a full year passes, before something is done.
“And if it is done, it wears down again within a month and left unattended for another 4-6 months, and the cycle is repeated, sadly to the point where many of us come to accept this as the norm,” Sir Albert said.
“This is unacceptable in the 21st Century Solomon Islands.
“I am only talking about roads, but isn’t this symptomatic of so many other essential services that have suffered as a result of, dare I say, poor leadership?”
Sir Albert further added that if money is the problem then we need to ask why and try to find answers and solutions to this ongoing problem.
He said this cannot continue.
“We know too well what transformed Singapore and turned that tiny nation around, was strong, wise committed and dedicated leadership.
“We have heard of the founding father of Singapore, the late Lee Kuan Yew as the mastermind or architect of that nation.
“... but there were also so many other outstanding leaders, both men and women supporting him to be able to turn that nation around within 35 years, from a 3rd world country to a 1st world country,” he stated.
He told the participants that leadership is about responsibility and that there are levels of responsibility, some jobs, some positions require more responsibility than others.
“Having the right persons in those positions is critical to the success and prosperity of that organisation.
“....a responsible person will always seek to act appropriately for the good of the organisation, society or nation.
“Are we appointing responsible persons into leadership positions?”
Sir Albert said responsibility and maturity go hand in hand and it is important to also have mature and experienced leaders in the helms of leadership in our country.
“.... otherwise they may do things which bring shame and disrepute to the organisation and fail to fulfil their mandate.”
He further added that a leader should be knowledgeable in what he does, failing which he will not be leading from the front but being pulled by the nose by the followers or disciples.
“They lead by example and are supposed to be role models for our young people and be able to mentor and train others.
“All leaders are accountable in one form or another according to their specific areas of duty and responsibility.
“When we are accountable, we ensure that we act responsibly, righteously and justly.
“Our actions thereby are open and transparent; there is nothing to hide, other than what is confidential by virtue of our jobs.
“Our work is open to scrutiny whether we are performing our duties faithfully, diligently and well, or we are failing and negligent.
“When that happens, the public have a right to criticise us and to complain that we are not carrying out our duties well.
“Accountability means taking responsibility for our actions and the consequences that follow.
“It entails asking the question, who will bear the costs incurred in this decision or that action, and doing research or seeking advice from others more knowledgeable,” he said.
Sir Albert congratulated organisers and facilitators for the courage to have the leadership forum convened to give opportunity to leaders to talk about the important and challenging subject and to exchange ideas and views.
The forum ends today.