MALAITA ‘CHEATED’ OF $185 MILLION IN APPROVED DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS
PREMIER Martin Fini has introduced a $20.34 million revised budget in an 11th – hour intervention aimed at pushing forward its Malaita New Government for Fundamental Redirection Policy (MNGFR) initiative.
At the same time Mr. Fini told the Malaita Provincial Assembly meeting in Auki yesterday that Malaita lost about $185 million worth of approved development projects in the three years to the end of last year.
Twenty eight Provincial Assembly Members – including members of the Non-Executive – attended yesterday’s meeting. Five MPAs, including former premier and MARA government leader, Daniel Suidani did not attend.
Mr Suidani had advised the Speaker in writing of his absence, saying he was overseas. He did not give any reason for his absence.
Mr Fini who will be a month old in the position of Premier on 10th March told Assembly members he believed his new Malaita government can deliver even at the 11th hour.
“Malaita has missed (out in) millions of dollars in approved projects because of the policy of isolation and deceit promoted by some over the last three years.
“Our Goal for this new Government – that is the aim of the Malaita New Government for Fundamental Redirection – is to put an end to the isolationist policy, which has cost Malaita very dearly in terms of millions of dollars worth of approved development projects from the national government for the past three years …,” he said.
Malaita Province has lost approximately SBD185 million worth of approved development projects for the past three years. This included the PCDF funds forfeited under the Ministry of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening (MPGIS) assessments in 2021 and 2022,” Premier Fini, 46, told the Assembly.
These projects are in road improvements, agriculture, fisheries, health, education and other important government projects planned for Malaita Province since 2019,” Premier Fini said.
“The non-accomplishment of these projects negatively affected the lives of our rural populace, warning Malaita cannot afford to miss out on such funding again this year.
Premier Fini told the Assembly the total approved development funding for Malaita Province projects this year is $48 million.
These projects target infrastructure, education, health, commerce, agriculture, fisheries and sports and youths and other sectors.
“Further consultations with the national government on these projects will convene in the coming weeks.
“As mentioned previously, Malaita cannot afford to forego these planned projects that are vital towards sustaining our people’s livelihood,” he said.
Premier Fini said the people of Malaita, unsuspecting as they are, were given false hopes in the past.
“Our intention is to revive this hope and to empower our people to have faith and trust in their government. The time to keep deceiving our people is over. It is time to revive our hope for a better Malaita,” Premier Fini said.
He also told the Assembly that the Malaita New Government for Fundamental Redirection was about inclusiveness.
“We are about working together. It is about ordinary people working with their elected government for addressing pressing needs in our communities. It is about re-establishing links with the national government, other provinces and donors (because) no one can walk the development road alone.
“It calls for all hands on deck,” the Premier said.
Premier Fini also defended the Motion of No Confidence in the leadership of the MARA government.
“Yes, taking over the Malaita Provincial government at the 11th hour does give mixed feelings. But we believe our action is justifiable. For my government there is no other way. We just have to do it,” he said.
“I wish to reiterate that the Malaita New Government is determined to restore Malaita’s image through its flagship policy of fundamental redirection policy. We believe that in pursuing this policy initiative, Malaita can be great again.”
By Alfred Sasako