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Dear Editor – I respond to the Premier’s continuous denial of the legitimate allegations made against him. Of the many challenges we find dealing with this premier and his recommended Provincial Secretary (PS), I want them to answer the many questions that are being inspired by their shallow responds in the media.
First the Premier must refrain from using ‘hungry for power, misleading and Propaganda’ from his responds because it is a poor excuse to dodge the seriousness of the allegations made against them.
The Premier must also note that power struggle is real, and many would agree that everyone is envious of political leadership roles at some point.
The only difference is we’ve got the chance, and the rest just resort to entrusting their hopes and confidence on us. Thus, everyone is equally qualified to that statement.
It is the people’s choice to choose whatever government they like. Our role as leaders is to provide for what is expected of us, both from within the government circle and the people we serve.
It is fair to point out that our people are privileged enough to be given this opportunity to know more about their government, to judge and digest for themselves. Their opinions are sometime compelling, but one that must be respected.
To claim that your government started from the scratch is questionable. Your government is one that is being greeted with open doors when you begin by receiving funds from the many investors operating in the province (west Rennell) and you bluntly boast about as “good will payments” – a notion that was later nullified by the Ministry of the Provincial Government Institutional Strengthening (MPGIS) stating it as a form of ‘corruption’ and must not be practiced.
Furthermore, it is your government that should have inherited the SB$334,190.00 left in the Provincial account when my government was bowed out in 2014 – besides many other funds (hundreds of thousands) only your administration is accountable for since I left office.
It is a pity to use my government’s shortfall as your shining stone to claim that it is your government that placed the province back on track and to retrieve the provincial account under your full control.
This is something the system is catered for and that to any successive government would do as you did. To use it as your talking point is naïve.
Manning the province is a collective responsibility therefore, we as leaders in our own time are responsible to perform responsibility while also striking the balance between our people’s expectation and the continuous demands from the provincial executives, non-executive, administration and the central government.
The question is after you resume the provincial authority over those Bank accounts, what difference have you made? Because those financial records, banks statements and quarterly reports published could not agree with you, an account that will take ages for one to comprehend, or better still, for you to answer with guilt.
It appeared that you must be on track but on the wrong track because not everyone, including your own executive would agree with you.
To claim that I am responsible for our downfall is an indication of your poor judgment and limitation to understand the system, your colleagues and our political history. To tarnish reputation by taking advantage of the people’s ignorance and mindset is useless.
It must be noted that inconsistency in figures, as claimed by the Premier, is a wild attempt to dodge the seriousness of the financial allegations made against him and his PS.
Frankly, the claims they made to paying outstanding pays of our direct employees, their NPF contributions, and others they cant’s specify is partly true.
But the question is how much money; really, do you need to settle these outstanding? Because from our quarterly reports, on 28/5/15 payment of SB$22,999.80 was paid to NPF, no official records of payments made to employees.
If so, where are the government Payment Vouchers (PV) to substantiate these claims? We all know how much our direct employees received in salary.
They are the most hardworking but low paying employees in the system, therefore, their plight should not be used for your advantage.
Inconsistent enough is your claim that you have never collected fees from the investors; worse still is when you publicly announce investor’s direct involvement in facilitating assembly meetings.
Previous revelations indicated your collusion with investors and papers acquired shows evidence of you collecting huge amount of fees from those investors.
One worth mentioning is the Agreement you signed with APID pledging to support all their operations in Rennell and take out SB$292,500.00 on the 1st August 2015 as part payments of Business Licence for both APID and BMSI Ltd, without signing the official LC 4 payment receipt voucher, instead signed the company’s payment voucher.
Is this an attempt to escape the official audit system? Or is it just another limitation to your lack of understanding of the system?
Your continuous denial of what is true will result in more money acquired from companies surfaced, and this is not good for you as a leader.
Further, why did you signed and collect the fees without the PS and Treasurer involved? If you claim that you have put us back on track and in full control of our finance, why did you chose to carry out all the financial transaction without them?
Is this another shallow way of avoiding official records for auditing purposes? Senior government officers and people who are familiar with the system should know this without excuses.
I am calling on you Premier to seriously consider you attitude to handling issues in the Province especially your relationship with companies like APID and Bintan SI Ltd.
The agreement you have signed to take out hefty payments could put the province in a bad position if the company decides to sue us for not honouring our commitments.
No one denies your business reputation in the Province, but don’t be too arrogant to make careless statements in the media because only a selected few knows where it all started.
The vehicles mentioned are the least of our concerns, but for you to try and justify them in the media is quite naïve because you and I know how they were acquired and a few of your cohorts know how your company affair.
To use them to substantiate your claims is cheap because if we’re to dig in further, we will leave no space for respect to the individual.
On this note, I called on those companies who are sourcing in support to this premier to reconsider their position in this political row because we all respect you are investors but will surely reason and decide upon your credibility as an investor and business stakeholder.
I will leave the rest of the personal issues to the non-executives and the public to decide, but my subjects of interest will move on to other topics that demand public knowledge so that there is a balance of judgment to the issues at hand.
Your claim that a ploy is on him and that the non-executive is colluding with APID to oust him is a poor judgment of his part.
One thing this premier must understand is that as a government, there are lines drawn between personal and collective interests.
What amused everyone is that this premier is just purely arrogant and very often, spare no room for necessary collaboration while also meeting our objectives stated in our policy statements.
My activeness in the group should not be mistaken for leadership dominance in the group and influence for resentment. Our non-executive group consist of individual MPAs who should be respected for who they are and for standing on their own right, whom by far have astound all of us for their solidarity and trust amongst themselves despite the odds.
The Premier must refrain from his blame game because it perpetually reveals who he really is. Natural leaders, as claimed, know what to do, and when to do it, because their sense of direction comes naturally as second nature.
And usually, they don’t lose people’s confidence, because they make sacrifices and not accumulating the wealth. Prove your worth, one of the attributes of natural leaders is they stay longer in their position, because regardless of the minute community resentments often felt during election times, people never forget who truly serve them.
Therefore, for you to continue to tarnish my reputation in public media is a plight of disrespect to my people as well and the wider community who a looking at you as their leader.
The PS denial of his involvement in the Province ploy is not surprising. Obviously, his statements made it very clear that his appointment to the PS post was a direct recommendation from the Premier and was never an executive decision.
This is the reason why the executive members are not happy with the decision, hence, their disagreements to the premier – amongst many other things.
Senior government officials understand the system in and out. They know that internal government ministerial transfers are possible but must follow proper public service procedures – which are fair and just.
They also know the right channels on how to handle public and provincial funds. They know that expenditure must be done through legal procedures, that is, dishing out money by signing official PVs and Receipts and all recordings are available at the Treasurer’s disposal for auditing purposes.
Sadly, this is not the case to our supposedly, senior government officer who is now our PS. His administrative incompetence is one that has cause many controversies in the past government to this day.
It is often us leaders who receive the hot shot at the end. It must be known that administrators played a huge part in manning the system, and it is under their discretion to do as they pleased, depending on how much integrity they want to reserve to try and explain huge expenditures like the half million dollar spending made thus far under this administration.
A significant point to consider is the PS claim of giving out SB$100,000.00 to each respective wards. Where is proof of such commitment? Because those funds were not dished out by the treasurer and that no official records in the form of PVs were given to be signed by those MPAs for auditing purposes.
This technically is a clear breach of the Financial Instructions (FI) governing such transaction. This is also true to other statements regarding financial expenditure mentioned by the PS. Chances are the PS attitude paves way for systematic manipulation of the FI without denial.
My call to the Premier is to reconsider his continuous onslaught on my reputation in the media, because as leaders, we are already in the frontline of any such allegations and we are already branded depending on what the public is being fed with in terms of the information they chose to hear.
I regret that the public is led to believe that one person is responsible for the downfall of the province. Take time to learn more about our political history, who is responsible for what, only then you will realise that the Province got suspended twice, and that our suspension was not on financial grounds, but on the power struggles tied to national politics, driven by individual interest within the provincial executive at that time – thus resulted in a government with a minority number, which I then decided not to resign but to resort to suspension for running a minority government. A decision I undoubtedly embrace, in my own right, without regret.
We have no authority to change the existing public mindset, however, we are still privilege to express our side, and allow the rest to judge, thanks to the freedom of speech.
Member for Ward 2, Renbell Province