When Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo took over from Danny Philip in November he immediately made popular announcements. One of them was to cut all post-paid mobile phones of those that did not fall in the bracket of a minister, permanent secretary and constitutional post holders.
Another major announcement was for him to move to the Red House, the traditional home of our prime minister, from his hotel room at the Honiara Hotel.
Mr Lilo’s move was seen as that of a champion leader who is solemn about cutting government spending especially when his predecessor was very unpopular given that he had lodged in a $75,000 a month accommodation.
The controversial rental was seen as the first weakness in the Phillip-led NCRA version which culminated in the unfair allocation of public funds to his close relatives which led to his downfall.
Lilo’s election was deemed as the continuation of the Phillip era but his bold step to veer from the old guard won him praise from both sides of the house.
However, almost four months after making the promise Prime Minister Lilo still lives in his hotel room.
Lilo’s actions do not replicate well on his personal undertaking. If the Prime Minister was serious about cutting costs then he should have led by example. For a Prime Minister’s character is worth more than his policies.
Making simple but right decisions are hallmark of a good leader.
As his leadership eats into the days and months the masses will soon make their own judgments. And this may be seen as a simple issue but our people often rank them highly. So far Lilo’s popularity remains very high but if he continues to reside in a hotel – he will be viewed as a tourist – who does not have the experience of living and managing a Solomon Islands family home environment.