PRESIDENT of Malaita Ma’asina Forum (MMF) Martin Housanau says Solomon Islands leaders must have the courage to make decisions of their own for the betterment of the country and its people.
Mr Housanau said as a political independent country all the decisions made at the upper level must not be determined by donors and foreigners as what is happening now and then.
“What is happening today does not reflect our status being an independent country; instead we are becoming more dependent.
“That is not freedom Ma’asina Ruru is advocating for as the first province to have legislative council status is Malaita province in 1957,” he said.
Mr Housanau said Solomon Islands is yet to realise its political freedom.
“We are yet to realise our political freedom and we are yet to realise our leaders who have the courage to stand up and say no and yes,” he said.
He said what MMF executive has observed since independence is that instead of becoming independent, the country is becoming more dependent.
“More than 50% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) an indicator which shows the total value of goods and services in the country is funded by donors,
“Does this shows we are politically independent? I think not, in fact after independence we became more dependent,” he said.
Mr Housanau said not only political but also economic dependency.
“Because we are politically dependent on donors, it is reflected in our economic dependency as well.
“Reports show Solomon Islands has a lot of natural resources but the question is why 50% of the GDP is funded by donors?” Mr Housanau added.
The MMF President said one of the clear indicators is the weak investment regulation in the country.
“Our government investments regulations and Act do not encourage local indigenous Solomon islanders to come up and take charge on harvesting, realising and enjoy the benefits of the country’s resources,” he said.
Mr Housanau said the influx of Bangladesh coming in and other foreigners enjoying themselves doing all kind of businesses in the country are just simple indicators.
He said corruption at the highest level is also a contributing factor which affects all sectors of life including access to basic infrastructures.
“It reaches a level where we have experienced shortage of medicines in our hospitals with lack of proper health services, no proper education, old classrooms, no staff houses and basic infrastructure is not well maintained,” he added.
He said the reason for no basic infrastructure is because the money that should be used has ended up in corrupt practises.
“When it comes to Rural Constituency Development Fund (RCDF) we are yet to enjoy the benefits and realise what economic and political freedom means to us,” he said.
Mr Housanau said Solomon Islands continue to have a syndrome; “a sickness where our leaders continue to think that we don’t have the capacity to lead and do things on our own and so they keep asking other countries to do it for us.
“The question now is how long we are going to depend on others to come and do things for our country rather than to do it on our own,” he said.
By IAN MCDONALD