Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has reassured people of Solomon Islands that his government is fully committed to seriously looking into fighting corruption head-on.
Highlighting the introduction of a legislation to establish Solomon Islands Independent Commission against Corruption (SIICAC) as a way forward.
PM Sogavare told Permanent Secretaries, Head of Integrity Institutions, experts and other government officials when opening the anti-corruption workshop yesterday.
“I am pleased to reiterate my earlier promise to the People and Nation: that this Government is serious about introducing legislation to establish the Solomon Islands Independent Commission against Corruption (also referred to as ‘SIICAC’).”
He said, fighting against corruption remains an urgent priority the needs immediate action which his government highly prioritizes.
“Our current Government has flagged the eradication of CORRUPTION in the DCC Policy Statement and Translation Strategy, as an urgent priority needing urgent action, and the increasing public denouncement of corruption in the public service, private sector, and even rural communities should signal us to the urgency of setting things right.
“My hope is, this workshop will assist us understand better the different forms of CORRUPTION and the endemic cycle by which it permeates decision-making systems and processes and erode institutional integrity.
“As well as cloud our judgement from doing the right thing and making right and fair decisions. Precisely the reason for this workshop,
“I will say it here and now, that as your Prime Minister and national leader, I am committed to tackle Corruption, particularly within the Government, and within the programs government agencies implement for service delivery, with the full force of the laws, policies and service delivery processes the Government is responsible for managing.”
A collective effort towards the fight against corruption in this workshop is highly commended with confidence of finding amicable solution to the problem, he said.
“My earnest wish is that this workshop will pave the way for every agency we represent – to agree on best way forward towards adopting a well-defined and effective strategy with a common focus backed by firm resolve to combine resources to examine and deal with this undesirable phenomenon `Corruption’ with intense and well-thought out deliberation,
“So that we get to the root cause of this undesirable `disease’, identify and understand its character, and therefore be confident to develop precise remedial interventions utilizing “sensible, practical and effective measures for eradicating it head-on; before it brings down its wrath on our decisions and actions.
“More so, I am very pleased that this workshop has adopted a sensible and methodical approach to identifying the different forms of corruption, how it permeates decision-making to digress from honest and legitimate choice of actions; and seek out the best practical and sensible measures for eliminating the conditions under which corruptive behaviour including misguided decision-making based on self-centered reasons, tend to occur.
“I am also pleased to note the workshop purpose and approach is fashioned around the findings of a review conducted by a UN Mission using the UN Convention against Corruption national Review Framework.
“On which it assessed how organized and effective the country’s legislation, regulations and service delivery mechanisms set up in government, private and non-government organizations, and communities have performed to prevent corruption and to address the problems corruption is causing and depriving us the opportunities to change people’s lives and interests for the better.”
He said Solomon Islands is a State party to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (also referred to as ‘UNCAC’) since 2012.
“This is, a global Anti-Corruption Agreement that 175 countries have also ratified. There is a Review Mechanism established under UNCAC, which the UN uses to review Member Countries efforts to tackle corruption at the national level.
“So, there is a global obligation for Solomon Islands to tackle corruption and prevent it from disrupting services which the government and all other sector agencies are obliged to provide for the people and the country under this Universal Convention rules and principles.”
Mr Sogavare added previous Governments have expressed the desire to take a similar path; however, their good intentions have not materialized because it lacked the political will and boldness to convert the idea into reality.
This current Government has prioritized eradicating corruption within its policy statement and is treating this as urgent priority, he said.
“It is also for this reason that I must emphasize the point – that this is not a government only agenda and business – this is also the People’s Agenda and principle concern, and is on the Democratic Coalition for Change Government’ National Agenda.
“I therefore encourage you to actively participate in joining us in our efforts to find lasting solutions to the eradication of corruption in our organizations and in the community at large.
“You have my Government’s unwavering support and commitment to fight corruption and to eliminate it now so we can get on with the task of building a prosperous, just, peaceful and united People and Country.”
By BRADFORD THEONOMI