Dear Editor - I refer to letters to the editor in view point column Star No.6646 of Friday 14, 2017 on the above subject by Clement Kengava(CK) former MP.
I also realized that the he had written on the same subject earlier in Star No.6636 on July 4, 2017
In his second letter to the editor though, Mr. Clement Kengava referred to Mr. Andrew Radclyffe’s wish list but, especially point one “quote; abandon the plans for federal government. They will not work and we can’t afford it; end of quote”
According to Mr. Clement Kengava this point of his (Andrew Radclyffe) wish list is colonialistic, lack of sensitivity and a continuation of the stereo type of argument against the federal system of government.
It is rather strange that Mr. Kengava could easily forget that Great Britain as it were, left the Protectorate (BSIP) to her own fate when Solomon Islands was not ready for independence in 7 July 1978.
Colonialistic? Was Solomon Islands ready for independence then? Just listen to songs composed by Solomon song writers then, now often replayed during Anniversaries each year.
May I Quote some of the songs’ messages; “No more Navy, no more Army, No more inafu seleni yet;… Solomon Islands by hemi independent but olosem bikinini no more”… these were the views expressed by indigenous Solomon Islanders through songs when Great Britain wanted to let go of us.
We can see clearly that we still wanted to be a colony of Great Britain but the British left us earlier than we thought. This was the truth about the issue of colonialism to us Solomon Islanders then.
Lack of sensitivity, to whom? In fact the drive for federal government is a sensitive issue to Malaitans, not because it is raised by a colonialist. Can you remember?
On the eve of Solomon Islands independence, the Western District wanted to secede from the rest of Solomon Islands because of a poem written by a Malaitan which really hurt the Western District people.
Moreover, the Guadalcanal district wanted the state government because Malaitans were “taking” over their lands and murdering their people due to the unitary system or centralized system of government which caused an influx of people of other districts, especially Malaitans into Honiara and the rural Guadalcanal.
It was a drive for change of government system premised on “hatred” for Malaitans and so this is the truth of the sensitivity of the drive for the change to federal system.
And a continuation of the stereo type of argument against the federal system of government? I don’t think so. As a person who understands the laws and government is about laws, the second but an important point in Andrew Radclyffe’s first wish list (which Mr. Clement Kengava former MP and Premier excluded) and I quote. “They will not work and we can’t afford it, instead, improve the government system and devolve more powers to the Provinces, the issue here is not about government system but quality of our leaders” end of quote.
This argument is about costs and not a mere continuation of the stereo type of arguments against the federal system. The problem with many aspiring politicians is they never consider the cost or the economics of government system.
At this point may I refer Mr. Clement Kengava (CK) to an argument for change of the Public Service Machinery by Peoples’ Alliance Party during the 1990s? The argument then was the Public Service was a 15 headed monster which consumed a lot of resources but produced very little and must be restructured to be efficient in its service deliveries.
An exercise was therefore was carried out to right size the Public Service and in mid 1990s the Ulufa’alu government executed this change. This change of the Public Service to me was the beginning of chaos which Solomon Islands is morning over right now. At the pinnacle of government MPs no longer recognize the separation of powers by the legislature, the executive and the judiciary but most obviously the legislature and the executive.
Moreover, instead of reducing or right sizing the Public Service, the number of ministries increased.
The Rural Development Ministry was added to Public Service Structure in the hope of realising tangible developments in rural Solomon Islands.
The opposite occurred and right now millions of public funds are misused or stolen, Permanent Secretaries posts are a joke, and so too the appointment of so-called political advisers, this is just an example of a change which we are now experiencing and is very expensive.
Today due to the so-called restructure of the colonial Public Service which was established by our colonial master, corruption is rampant in “government” and is costing this country dearly. I’m I morning here over a colonial derelict?
No, the point I’m saying here is that this change was a suggestion by political leaders and was very expensive.
However, Mr. CK also pointed out that for the last 39 years of independence under the unitary system, Solomon Islands is experiencing unequal distribution of wealth, socio-economic developments and lack of political participation.
Radclyffe’s second part of his first wish list which he (CK) excluded in his quotation answers this point which is devolution of powers to provinces, which would address lack of political participation from provinces and socio-economic developments.
As for unequal distribution of wealth Mr. CK must understand that wealth is more than money. Wealth is land and sea plus human resources which nature had distributed equally to all the islands in the Solomon Islands.
Perhaps what he (Mr.CK) is referring to is the redistribution of taxes from the extraction of resources of country under the unitary system which favors capitalists and foreigners.
Would devolution of more powers to the provinces not address also this unequal distribution of “wealth”?
I believe that the main issue is quality of leadership no more no less.
Remember a system is as good as those who man it.