TRANSPARENCY Solomon Islands (TSI) as do other concerned citizens of Solomon Islands urges the government not to leave the youths hanging in the air, unemployed looking for any opportunities of employment and where they could access the information, they need to present their plight constructively to the government.
It is the observation amongst the youth that have graduated that only youths/graduate that are well connected are given employment. These youths do not even need to complete their studies to be given senior posts in some of the key institutions of the government. All they need is a well-connected member of their family. That is how unfair it has become for them. The playing field is not level.
More and more politics as the activity through which people make, preserve, and amend the general rules under which they live is no longer the case. Instead, politics is becoming more and more the art of government where power corrupts, and power corrupts absolutely. Politics should be what concerns all and especially the young people of today and their future or what concerns the State of Solomon Islands where all of us live including our young people.
The exercise of control, and enforcement of collective decisions within our country is no longer on behalf of the people. It is more and more of those that hold public office or entering into politics or seek to do so that are the people that are in politics. The exercise of authority by the government, associated with policy, the authoritative decisions that should establish a plan of action for the future generation of Solomon Islands has become non-existence, or only for the privileged and well connect youths and individuals. The youths coming out of educational institutions are the ones that are increasing the victims of this definition of politics by those in power in Solomon Islands today.
The various processes through which government responds to the need of the larger society with regard to allocation of rewards benefits is no longer for all but a few. Punishment for abuse, non-compliance with our laws is applied only to those not in politics. The practice of politics is now confined to government caucus, cabinet rooms, legislative chamber, government departments etc. an activity of a limited, specific group of people mostly politicians, civil servants, and lobbyist and their families and cronies what our founding fathers did not envisaged for this country.
It is for this reason that the youth of today as they sought for opportunities to enhance their potential to participate in the social-economic development of the country and finding almost nothing have a negative or pejorative images of politics as do others. This was not the vision of the founding fathers of Solomon Islands. This is not the country that they put together. They put together and practiced in the early years of independence a country where they expected that as people become more and more educated they would work together to make, preserve, amend the general rules under which they live collectively and the shares of benefits. Today the country is witnessing politics being associated with the activities of the politicians where:
- Politicians are often seen as power-seeking hypocrites.
- Politicians conceal personal ambition behind the rhetoric of public service.
The Media houses [mainstream and social media] are doing a great work and have effectively brought to light examples of corruption and dishonesty amongst elected representatives and public officials in position of public power. Alas the population remain silent due to ignorance. Government has failed to equip its citizens with key and critical knowledge of their rights, be it democratic, human rights, political rights, legal rights, civil rights, customary rights over customary properties etc. More and more the government seeks to regulate those rights outside of its control and authority belonging to the people, with the sole purpose of having control and authority those areas that are regarded as private in our constitution.
Today the personnel and the machinery of political life more and more are rooted in;  politics as a self-serving,  two-faced, and  unprincipled activity. The use of cunning, cruelty and manipulation by political leaders, those in positions of power for the benefit of their cronies further adds to the flight of the country’s young generation, requiring all right-minded Solomon Islanders to totally denounce and reject such conduct and behaviour.
In the minds of a number of young people, individuals who are in positions of power are self-interested, using political power to corrupt, encourage themselves, exploit their position for personal advantage, and gain at the expense of others. Politics as practiced by politicians is no longer conducted within a framework of checks and restrictions preventing the abuse of governmental power, making it so difficult for the country’s youthful population to be engaged for solutions that can seriously addressed their predicament. The engagement and empowerment of our youthful population must start with them being aware of how this country was put together, their political, legal, and civil rights enabling them to demand their democratic rights constructively.
The youths, the leaders keep repeating, are the future leaders of this country, but are these leaders, representatives in positions of power preparing them for that. So far most programmes targeting the youth have always and continues to focus on their vulnerability than their potential. The policy re-direction that is so much talked about does very little for the constructive engagement of our youthful population.
What can be seen is a government that is self-serving and serving the interests of a few, more resources allocated to the MPs, depriving the youth of employment opportunity,  resources focused on the political needs and wants of the politicians and not the people in a truly representational way, a government that sides with loggers, miners against the interests of the customary owners of these customary properties,  a government that does nothing about indigenous Solomon Islands squeezed out of businesses that should be reserved for them,  no level playing field where the odds are stacked against Solomon Islanders,  a government that ensures economic power is totally in the hands of foreigners,  does not care about the reduction of Solomon Islanders to spectators reducing them systematically and schematically to renters in their own economy,  cares little about young Solomon Island professionals being priced out of the property market and  more importantly does very little about the employment of the country’s young graduates. Furthermore, its cash orientated policy in the place of development orientated policy does very little to grow the business sector creating employment opportunity for the young and the old. Businesses are taxed to death and cronies are not taxed at all. Tax money is spent on wasted efforts than those that would count toward employment opportunities and many more.
Its policy re-direction will bring more of the same whereby the few at the top will get richer and the vast majority of Solomon Islanders will remain poor, disempowered, and disenfranchised, the unemployed young population both graduates and dropouts will grow drastically to level that threaten peace as frustration grow. It is not only unemployment that is affecting the young population of this country but all the decisions of the present government under the guise of Covid-19 and successive governments that have subjected this country to this situation.
The rising unemployment thread in the youth population is not only sad but unacceptable. Had the billions channeled through members of parliament put into what would grow the economy the country can at least manage this. The fact that the elected representatives are doing nothing about engaging youth into any meaningful activities that will enable them to contribute to the economic development of the nation says volumes and should be a huge concern to all.
Transparency Solomon Islands believes that the young population of this country have the potential to be agents of change, they want to be heard, they need access to information and knowledge that would place them in an empowered position where they can constructively demand for their democratic rights. They want to know how the government works, and what rights and responsibilities they have assisting them in their decision-making and like other countries be a voice for their country and for what they can contribute to discussions of issues of national interest and concern. They are not the problem; the system and leadership are. For any meaningful strategy for purposes of contextualization the solution needs the youths contribution and willingness to compromise ensuring what works for them also works for all. The government owes it to the youths of this country to equip them with the foundational knowledge they need to know as citizens of this country to help themselves.
The feedback to the advertisement put out by TSI in the media for the Youth Democracy Camp was overwhelming. It shows that many youths with the potential to contribute positively to the development of this country are untapped as no platform is established to nurture them to become future leaders. TSI urges that programme meant for the youth be revisited and focus on their potential than their vulnerabilities, a holistic approach than a piece meal one. Within the short period that the Youth Democracy Camp was advertised more than 200 show interest in attending the camp. It is unfortunate that out of the 200 applicants only 25 will be selected for the five days program. TSI is planning another Youth Democracy Camp late this year or early next year. TSI thanks SPC for funding this first camp and the next camp. If this country is going to get out of this present confusion, it needs to stay engaged with the youth, it needs to educate them beyond their normal university learning and inform them of their political, legal, civil, and human rights. Now is the time to do that.
Due to unforeseen circumstance, Transparency Solomon Islands Youth Democracy Camp will now be held 12th July to 16th July 2021. Successful applicants will be informed via TSI Facebook page and through phone call.