His comments on the front page of the Solomon Star last year on Saturday 16th December 2107 at an event organised to mark the Anticorruption Day on Friday 15th December 2017 saw him assuring the nation of his Government’s stance on the fight against corruption.
The speech embarked on his government’s support to ensure the Anticorruption Bill (ACB) is tabled in Parliament.
But, is he genuine? Or, will he live up to his promise?
Some civil society groups including people in the public are still sceptical of the comments by the Prime Minister.
Over the years, successive governments have tried to address corruption by initiating legislations and regulations, strengthening processes, controls and systems to address threats that comes with it.
From nepotism and wantok system in the work place to the intentional manipulation, abuse and by-passing of policies, processes and systems for personal gain in and within the government structure.
Corruption and corrupt practices have become prevalent in the country, especially in the public service from non-established government employees to those sitting in the corridors of power, our leaders.
Experience has taught us some good lessons on how the system has dealt with issues relating to corruption.
In most cases, culprits avoided prosecution because of systemic corruption and connection, in some culprits got away with minor penalties while in few minor cases, those hated in the system were prosecuted with short prison terms behind bars.
No one will dispute that we have some of the best legislations in the world but the implementation and enforcement of these legislations have become its own challenges.
We have a system tainted with corruption and it is difficult to get rid of it unless we get rid of those in the system that are part of the corruption syndicate and network.
To effectively address corruption head on would require the will and support of our leaders to protect our country from ruins caused by those corrupting the system.
If the current Government is serious about its commitment and promise, it is important that they consider looking into the Bank of Hawaii Trust Funds, an unresolved issue that happened under its nose, worst it is happening to government finances.
I am therefore calling on the Government, especially the Prime Minister to live to his promise and see to establishing a Commission of Inquiry to look into the Funds that have been entrusted to John Sullivan.
It is about time that the Government focus on serving the interest of the people, not their own interest or the interest of those intending to ruin the country.
Let’s make the Government the solution to our problems, and not a problem in itself.
But unless our leaders have the commitment and heart for the people of this country, we will not be able to solve the biggest threat to our country’s future.
Remember, if we fail to make uncomfortable choices now, then it would be difficult to make uncomfortable choices later on. It is wise to ‘Sacrifice Short Term for Long Term Gains’.
But unless we make sacrifices, we will not be able to realise how important it is to get rid of corruption and benefit from the changes that such actions and decisions will bring about to the life of ordinary Solomon Islanders, most importantly our business sectors, both our barefoot entrepreneurs in the informal sector and the big players in our formal sector and economy.
Lastly, let me close by quoting a saying by a fugitive who continued to avoid the law and imprisonment in the Movie Series, “Prison Break”.
I quote, “We are captives of our own identity, living in prisons of our own creations”, end of quote.
This saying sums it all that our own identities and personas will make us victims if we are not truthful to ourselves.
Simply put, if we do not support addressing corruption, we ourselves will be victims of its effects on society, ‘ourselves’.
To me, failure to consider investigating the BOH Trust Fund would mean that there are some problems with the Government, our leaders.
Addressing corruption has become necessary and the implementation of relevant regulations or even taking bold actions to ensure proper use and management of government finances has become imperative to ensure government money is put to productive use for the country and its people.
A prosperous New Year 2018 to all good people of Solomon Islands.
By GEORGE KOSUI