The event started off with a parade from the Honiara City Council to the National Auditorium with members of the Parliament, diplomatic corps, senior government officials, UN agencies, Civil Society Organisations, churches, private sector, regional and international organisations.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare delivered the keynote address on the government’s commitment to eradicate corruption at all levels.
Sogavare said the fight against corruption is the highest priority of the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA).
“This is the will of the people and as your Prime Minister and with the support of my cabinet, we are committed to combat and rid out country of this malignant cancer,” Sogavare said.
“Corruption is a scourge to our livedoid, our wellbeing, our economy and our very existence as a country,” he added.
He said a ‘business as usual approach’ in the fight against corruption is not acceptable and to do nothing about corruption is not an option for his government.
He added the detrimental effects of corruption have been seen and felt by most in this gathering or if not every single person throughout Solomon Islands.
“Corruption defies and undermines our fundamental human rights and it exacerbates poverty.
“It deepens inequality by diverting money needed for basic health care, education and other essential services in our societies to other dubious things.
“Corruption undermines business confidence, prohibits new and genuine investors from investing in our country and also increases the costs of doing business.”
Sogavare said corruption also distorts markets, impedes economic growth and will prevent Solomon Islands from achieving its national development strategy and the sustainable development goals objectives
Not only that, corruption undermines development, sustains poverty, drives political instability and unsustainable use of natural resources.
“It undermines the delivery of services and weakens good governance and the rule of law,” he added.
He said it is sad to claim ourselves a Christian country and yet the level of corruption continues to rise unabated.
“Something is grossly wrong when our basic Christian principles seem to be eroding faster rather than strengthening.
“We need get back to basics in our fight against corruption.-our basic Christian principles.
“We need to follow the instructions and advise that preachers preach to us about.
“These are the basic building blocks to prevent, to resist, to combat and to defeat corruption,” he said.
By IAN M.KAUKUI