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TSI on current issues

28 January 2019

THE Chief Electoral Officer, Mose Saitala, announced on Tuesday’s paper that the Governor General will make the Proclamation/Announcement of the date of election on the 5th of February 2019. 

There is now a flurry of activities and a buzz in the voters of this country, political parties intending to contest the elections, supporters, and oppositions of intending candidates be they party candidates or independent. 

It is now good to know that the date will soon be made know to us, when intending candidates will come around and beg for people’s power through your vote, promising to exercise it to bring about a change in the lives of the people of this country, for peace and security.  

Transparency Solomon Islands also hopes that indeed, once they are elected, they will be making decisions recognizing that:

[1] ALL POWER in Solomon Islands BELONG TO ITS PEOPLE and is EXERCISED ON THEIR BEHALF by the LEGISLATURE [Members of Parliament], the EXECUTIVE GOVERNMENT [Prime Minister his Ministers, Public Service and the Provincial Governments], and the JUDICIARY[ Courts etc.]; [2] The Natural resources of this country are vested in the people and the government of Solomon Islands;

AGREE AND PLEDGE that- [1]Our government shall be based on democratic principles of universal suffrage and the responsibility of executive authorities to elected assemblies;[2] We shall uphold the principles of equality, social justice and the equitable distribution of incomes;[3]We shall respect and enhance human dignity and strengthen and build on our communal solidarity;[4]We shall cherish and promote the different cultural traditions within Solomon Islands;[5] We shall ensure the participation of our people in the governance of their affairs and provide within the framework of our national unity for decentralization of power. 

Here at Transparency Solomon Islands, we have yet to see any statement, policy or party policies that acknowledge what Members of Parliament are elected for as prescribed in our National Constitution. 

The reasons for that could be anybody’s guess.  

It is probably because they do not know what the Supreme Law of this Country says or choose to continue to keep people confused and ignorant and that they want to be in parliament, be in politics predominantly to divert the flow of public funds and other material benefits to themselves, their families and supporters. 

Their over-riding goal is to be in power, stay in power to maintain the flow of benefits to themselves, their families and cronies. 

Whilst there have been a few exceptional leaders not counting the founders, this is what we have seen of those who occupy the position of Member of Parliament/Legislature since late early 1990’s to date.

As we begin 2019 and at the dissolution of the 10th Parliament in the media there is a river of statements, policy or otherwise from supporters of outgoing members of parliament, intending candidates’ new parties.  

These statements will be read by many voters and there is a need for the people of Solomon Islands to also be given the correct facts where that is available to properly inform the general voters.  

Transparency Solomon Islands hopes that Civil Society Organizations, individuals etc. who are involved in Social Accountability and media editorials to monitor and provide alternative views based on true observed fact on these issues.  

From Transparency Solomon Islands we begin this by commending the Chief Electoral Officer in assuring the nation that he is satisfied with the preparation and pretty happy with arrangements. 

Whilst this is the case will there be a mechanism for raising registration and electoral rigging where the objectors were told that they will have to meet the fare of the person they object against to come to the hearing and go back again and others.  

People are ready to report what they have been subjected to but who can they trust, SIEC?

In the launching of United Party as a newly registered party we note with concern the statement made with regard to Constituency Development Fund.  

The Kenya Model of CDF was challenged in court and found to be unconstitutional.  

The new Act for CDF National Government Constituency Funds Development Act had a number of committees provided for but this too does not work. 

Transparency Solomon Islands looks to UDP to call on Legislature to keep to the role assign to them by the Constitution and re-enforce the separation of power. 

It is unconstitutional for Members of Parliament to disperse public funds. We wish you well.

On Tuesday, Democratic Alliance Party launched its manifesto and vow to get rid of grasshopping. 

We say here at Transparency Solomon Islands, you were in the last government heading it.  

The revised and reformed Political Party Integrity Bill 2018 upon the wish of our people throughout the country and amongst stakeholders this was one of the most important provisions in the bill [stronger anti-defection measures]. 

This we learn did not even get to the Cabinet.  

You sit in the Caucus and you sit in the Cabinet, could you explain why you would not allow it to be passed during your time in government and as the Party providing the Prime Minister?

 What would you do different?  In your manifesto will you respond to the fight of the landowners of Rennell who are opposed to mining, but the mining company just ignores them. 

Pass much stronger anti-defection provisions so that you can concentrate on helping our resource owners fight the injustices they are subjected to now.  We wish you success!

There are also a number of supporters telling us through the media how well the outgoing Member of Parliament has done and that CDF under him has brought development to constituency.  

Here at Transparency Solomon Islands we say the total amount of funds going through your former members of parliament in the name of your constituency is [10th and 9th ] $33,880,922 million plus $4,000,000 Discretionary Fund under Parliament.  

For your first-time former member of Parliament in the 10th Parliament the amount is $26,500,000 million plus $2,000,000 million. 

Is what you see worth this much and ask the supporter and the outgoing member of parliament for the retirement/acquittal report?

Only then can you believe and know how your money was spent. 

Will you be participating in the decision-making of how the CDF will be spent in the development of your constituency?

Of the 2,600 plus students a total of 408 made it to 27 Schools Form Seven throughout the country and 2,200 missed out. 

Here at Transparency Solomon Islands we say Solomon Islands has the funds to build more educational infrastructure to ensure its population is given the education that will give our children a chance in life. 

What is your statement political parties and intending candidates on diverting funds away from CDF, Shipping Grant, Termination Grant to education facilities and the training of teachers?  

Solomon Islands can do this.  

We need leaders within political parties, and political parties that have broad based policies, one that will remove the CDF from the hands of Members of Parliament, a party/candidate that put peoples in the center of development, one with policy to reclaim our government and our institutions and members of parliament from the loggers and their cronies.

One with determination to use tax-payers money to bring about development. 

Solomon Islands tourism target $1 billion by 2025 was outgoing PM on tourism. 

We say here at Transparency Solomon Islands we can achieve this much faster by using RCDF, Shipping Grant and Terminal Grant, putting a stop to tax-free salaries and spending it on economic and social infrastructures and fight against corruption.  

Not many people like to go to a country, where there is no adequate or lack of health facilities and where cost of corruption is high, and above all where the national referral hospital is without drugs and where the members of parliament do not trust their health and medical facilities and doctors and spend millions of tax payers money to go overseas for medical service.

Make our national referral hospital what it needs to be.

SICCI supports minimum wages increase. 

We say here at Transparency Solomon Islands that the tax regime of Solomon Islands is based on raising cash and raising more tax.  

It is killing business everywhere when it should be developmental focused to encourage more business to grow to create the employment opportunity for our youth and educated. 

All tax collected is spent on wasted effort and not creating any good environment for the growth of business, for better social services.  

It is used to make the richer rich and poor poorer threatening our peace and security. 

As intending candidates and political parties where they stand and hold them accountable to it.

Transparency Solomon Islands wishes all intending candidates and political parties the best for this coming election but beg you next leaders to roll back corruption, build back trust and integrity in our government and the people’s government as per our constitution.  

We will be monitoring the river of statements being rolled out and try our best to provide good information to counter this and hope that people will be well informed in some constituencies to make informed choices.  

Remember voters your job begins after you cast your ballot paper holding your elected member accountable. 

Out there he/she will face a lot of challenges, and your voice he/she will need for him to stay focused on your needs and that of the country.





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