The two day symposium which started yesterday at the Parliament House Theatre in Canberra brought together high level policy practitioners, parliamentarians, researchers, civil society representatives and media from around the world to discuss the challenges of ensuring citizen’s participation in different environments.
It was aimed at distilling policy recommendations on how to enable democratic institutions to strengthen popular participation, capture and sustain the democratic momentum of people’s movements, empower citizens to engage with and access their democracies and develop agendas for democratic reform.
Speaking prior to his departure, Dr Sikua said he was pleased to have been invited by the organizers of the forum- Labour Party and Liberal Party- to present his outlook on people power, popular power and the integrity of democratic institutions in Solomon Islands.
He said he is pleased to note that there is a growing realization amongst various groups in the civil society that they should speak out whenever they perceive there is ill-discipline and mismanagement or corruption in government and other national institutions.
“Thinkers in Solomon Islands were already expressing views on issues in various networks but though their expressed views are beginning to be more focused, it will take time before a critical mass of people will make serious propositions that government and its institutions must address.”
The Opposition Leader said one way of achieving consensus was to make use of referenda so that people can focus on issues and thus direct government as to what the consensus is.
“We should be able to do this for constitutional amendments, education policies, health policies and rural advancement policies that secure the foundation of government.
“We need injections of direct democracy to mainstream the majority views of people on important issues.
“Solomon Islands has never had a referendum or public plebiscite of any kind. Even the decision for Solomon Islands to become independent in 1978 was never put to the people,” he said.
The Opposition Leader was expected back in the country this Friday.
|< Prev||Next >|