I for one observing and analyzing the recent events unfolding since DCC took power in the past 7 months must say this change has been nothing but negative change.
I remembered the Prime Minister’s maiden speech during his election victory on December 9th 2014, he highlighted that his new government's vision for change isn't just political rhetoric but real change the people of Solomon Islands want.
The people praised this Government with some looking up to the current Prime Minister as the ‘savior’.
But in the past 7 months, this Government and its leadership may not realize that it took them only a few months in power for them to be embroiled into so much controversy that have now left citizens of this country to wonder whether we are really heading into the right direction.
In June this year, the Solomon Star carried a story on the Prime Minister’s popularity poll dated June 2nd 2015 which highlighted some of the issues that have included dubious decisions by the Government to date.
And the issues mentioned are:
- The appointment of certain Cabinet ministers to controversial portfolios.
- The appointments of 39 political appointees.
- The directive issued by the Prime Minister and his DPM to issue export license to Ontong Java Development Company (OJDC) to export Beche-de-mer; a company which currently has an ongoing Court Case at the High Court.
- The ambiguous People’s Budget with an unrealistic timeframe and financial capability which currently puts Government development plans in question.
- The failure by the Government to address the ongoing Solair saga.
- The Red House issue.
- The issue of the MPs Parliamentary Entitlements tax free salary
- The Cabinet decision to allow BT Mega Bintang Borneo Limited to export Bauxite without a license as an illegal investor.
- The reshuffling of the Mines Minister, sacking of the PS and suspension of the Director by certain Government Ministers who have personal interests with the BT Mega Bintang Borneo Limited.
And then just recently before our Independence Day celebrations, the media scandalously revealed that tax-payers of this country will foot the bill for damages to MV Sun Express, the boat that took MPs to Mbike Island on the eve of the Prime Minister’s election last year.
The call made by the Opposition, Civil Society Groups and Transparency Solomon Islands (TSI) are genuine and anyone in his right mind can argue that why should tax-payers foot an unsanctioned Government trip.
This trip happened before the Government was formed so why should the Government and people pay for this? Isn’t this illegal? It is public knowledge that an insurance company in the country has already covered for costs for damages to the boat worth about $1.7 million; so this only raises the question of why and what is the $3.7 million from the tax-payers for? Is it a payment of goodwill to MPs who have close connections to the boat owner?
Isn’t this nepotism and conflict of interest? Or maybe the Government is compensating the boat owner because the damages done to the boat were done by themselves to make the other group look bad. Whatever the reasons maybe, tax-payers should never foot the bill.
The Prime Minister if I can remember has reiterated more than twice publicly in the media that he will address corruption head-on.
Thank you Mr Prime Minister, but how can you categorize this $3.7 million payout? Isn’t this not corruption? The Prime Minister preached so much about corruption but yet he cannot address his own house.
And it was not only this week that the people of Solomon Islands have been presented with a belated independence gift that tax-payers will again be forced to pay for hotel bills for 3 Ministers.
The revelation from the Opposition office that the 3 Cabinet Ministers have been residing at the Heritage Park Hotel since the Prime Minister’s election last year until May is frustrating to say the least. This will cost tax-payers more than $900,000 just a few hundred’s from $1 million.
Mr Prime Minister, this is an outright misuse of public funds and a slap on the face of taxpayers in the country. The usage of government finances to pay for an unofficial bill is totally irresponsible and does not speak well of a government that claims to be determined to tackle corruption.
This country cannot afford to pay for the luxurious living of politicians when it is struggling to finance even essential services like health and education. I only wish the Prime Minister and his Ministers take a day off from their comfort zone to see the current state of our National Referral Hospital where patients are without beds, toilets are unhygienic, there is shortage of nurses, doctors, medicines and there is dire need of proper equipment’s for our people.
I for one like any other taxpayer in this country am frustrated that when our leaders have been exempted of tax; we the people are forced to clean their mess and pay for their dirty deeds.
Where are our Christian values that guide us as a Christian nation? DCC Government has lost people’s respect as they have ignored our country’s number one principle and that is ‘To Lead Is To Serve’. Maybe we should make some alterations to our motto and change it to ‘To Leade is to Self-Serve’ because this is currently what is happening.
While DCC is busy making Cabinet decisions to suit themselves, they have lost focus of their priorities and promises to the people. We have less than 4 months before the end of the financial year and we are yet to hear any positive outcome of the $4 billion People’s Budget.
The promises to the people of Malaita that projects would be established as early as next year, is nothing but lip-service; a political tactic to lure support from Malaita. Government funds have been blown out and ministries have been crippled because there are no funds to implement Government programs.
My last question now is ‘Is the Prime Minister still in control over his cabinet?’ Because from the outset, the recent decisions and all the controversy against DCC has pointed out clearly that the captain is no longer in control.
A lot of Solomon Islanders know of the Sogavare that listens to his people and a firm leader who doesn’t bow down to outside influence; a man of principle. But sad to say, he no longer has these qualities as he has allowed himself to be pushed around into making very bad decisions for political convenience.
Please do the right thing because for now I am sure most people no longer have the trust and confidence in this Government and its leadership. The least we would like to see is the people turning against their own Government.
God Bless Solomon Islands.
By Jack Beaur