THE Parliamentary Opposition Group is concerned that nepotism has influenced the list of cultural groups that will represent Solomon Islands in this year’s Festival of Pacific Arts in Guam.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Opposition said they have received complaints from various cultural groups that they have been misled by the Culture & Tourism Ministry.
According to the groups, the ministry instructed them to prepare for the upcoming FOPA this year.
However, after months of preparation they were surprised to discover that their names have been removed from the list.
As such, the Parliamentary Opposition office saID the government through the ministry needs to come clean over the list of groups that will represent the country and why some have been omitted with unknown reasons.
“We have information that some Government MPs are pushing the ministry to include groups from their constituencies which have resulted in other groups being left out and this is pure political nepotism and it must not happen this way,” it said.
The Parliamentary Opposition also added that at least one of the cultural groups was even awarded with a little funding from the ministry to acquire cultural costumes towards their preparation for the Guam’s FOPA; but later found out they have been omitted from the list.
In light of this, the Opposition is demanding the government to provide a thorough explanation as to why groups have been removed and replaced at the last minute.
“The government must also shed light as to what are the criterions that qualifies any cultural groups to represent the country,” it said.
The Opposition Office is of the view that this prestigious FOPA offers a good platform upon which the country can showcase its rich and diverse cultures.
“That is why it is important that the ministry avoids nepotism and choose the best cultural groups that cover the rest of the Solomon Islands as we must also take into consideration the diverse culture we have with the diversity of Melanesians, Micronesians and Polynesians that make up our beloved country,” it said.
The statement saId, “it is also an opportunity for us to showcase to the world our diverse cultures, people and tradition; therefore, political preference should not be encouraged.”