Wake-up call for PM - Solomon Star News

Wake-up call for PM

24 August 2013

PRIME Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo may be right.

He is not obligated to bow down to calls from civil society groups that asked him to stand down.

But he and his advisers need to take stock of the sentiments and concerns raised by these groups.

For the concerns they raised are legitimate and real.

The public expects this government to match its words with actions.

Mr Lilo has previously told the nation on a number of occasions that his government will cut down costs and save money for service delivery.

That his government will manage public finances properly and ensure funds are spent only on priority areas.

But his recent regular overseas outings with large delegations are not matching his words.

They are in fact sending the wrong signal to the sceptical public.

Solomon Islanders today wondered whether Mr Lilo still has his heart for the nation.

They are wondering whether their prime minister still cares for them.

And they are wondering whether Mr Lilo is serious about running the affairs of this country.

It took teachers three strike actions before this government could finally secure the funds to pay them.

Our students studying in Fiji have suffered for months without any allowances. Not until there was a public outcry before this government could release the funds for the students.

Still, some are still to receive their allowances even today.

Most schools and clinics around the country lacked the basics of medication. This government does not have the funds to re-stock them.

Yet, when a sudden invitation came to Mr Lilo to travel to Indonesia on a state visit, this government found no difficulties securing more than $1 million to fund the trip.

Where is this government’s priorities lie?

No, we are not saying Mr Lilo should not be travelling overseas. As prime minister, he is obliged to.

But be selective.

 There are some trips that you could just send a representative.

 There are other trips that you could just take four officials with you rather than having 15 people on the delegation.

Overseas trips are expensive.

Solomon Islanders are already taxed to the bone and they cannot continue funding overseas trips that bring little or no benefit to them.

The tax they pay should be used to restock our schools and clinics, and maintain our roads.

Furthermore, Solomon Islanders expect their prime minister to spend more time at home overseeing the implementation of government policies and making sure services are delivered.

This has not been the case; and this is why civil society groups are calling on Mr Lilo to step down.

Of course we don’t expect Mr Lilo to write his resignation letter today and hand it over to the Governor General tomorrow.

What we expect of him however, is to take note of the concerns raised and does the right thing.

Current public agitation and anger did not just come out of the blue.

They happened because of the manner in which Mr Lilo is running this country.

Solomon Islanders have the right to demand their leaders to account for their actions and conducts.

That the prime minister must know.

These latest events are a wake-up call for this government, and in particular the prime minister, to re-look at way they govern this nation.