FORUM Solomon Islands International (FSII) has confirmed that the new date for the peoples’ forum is tomorrow – Thursday 6th August 2015.
The new venue will be at the Korean Restaurant, behind Jina’s restaurant, within the Pacific Casino premises at Kukum.
The peoples’ forum that was set for yesterday 4th August was cancelled by the Management of the Solomon Islands National Museum following directives from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
“Whilst we feel our constitutional and democratic rights have been denied by this last minute cancellation of this important forum, that won’t stop us from finding another venue for the people’s forum” the FSII CEO Benjamin Afuga said yesterday.
Mr Afuga said, the forum aims to bring together stakeholders and gauge their opinions about the strings of government controversial decisions, adding the forum is an opportunity to listen to them and take their views for appropriate actions.
“I understand the government thought we might stir up trouble, but this is a total misconception and only goes to show that democracy is being suppressed in this country,” Mr Afuga explained.
“The People’s Forum will provide an opportunity for concern stakeholders to express their views and moreover explicate how the controversial decisions directly affect them and the organizations and citizens they represent,” he added.
It is understood that leaders of CSOs (including people with special needs), NGOs, church leaders, youth leaders, chiefs, community leaders, women leaders, provincial leaders, diplomatic mission and donors have been invited to attend the forum.
In a FSII statement yesterday, two provincial premiers, the HCC mayor, the commissioner of police, the RAMSI special Coordinator were amongst the guests invited to attend the forum.
“Invitations were also sent to the OPMC, Opposition Office and Independent group offices”, so this is not a secret meeting to stir up trouble or feed participants with fabricated information,” Afuga said.
Asked why FSII decided to organize the people’s forum, Afuga said, it was for a valuable cause for the government to measure its performance.
“There is nothing sinister or suspicious about the forum, but the writings on the wall have spoken loudly, therefore as an intelligent and responsible movement; FSII wants to scale citizens’ views and present it to the government for appropriate actions,” he further explained.
He said, as a concern group, FSII will continue to find and provide intelligent, responsible and amicable solutions to stop our legislators siphon further tax-payers monies.
“Solomon Islands must avoid another “Black Tuesday” (April 2006 riots) when citizens reacted violently and burnt down almost 90% of China Town to express their frustrations over certain political decisions.
“If citizens are not properly informed, they will react negatively. We have a very low illiterate population; therefore the mode of meeting them face-to-face will always work.
“Operating as a voluntary group, FSII is prepared to work with the government, its stakeholders, community leaders, youth leaders, women leaders and community associations to address national issues responsibly and harmoniously,” he said.
Meanwhile the FSII boss said, they are liaising with the RSIPF for their presence within the vicinity of the forum venue to ease the government’s suspicions.
“FSII representing the silent majority is an intelligent and responsible movement, therefore it will not stoop too low to mislead the citizens it represent or blot the country it strives to see prosper in all front,” Mr Afuga concluded.
– By FSII News