PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare said the Leader of the Independent Group in Parliament needs to be reminded that the Democratic Coalition for Change (DCC) Government is now made up of responsible leaders held together by a collective commitment to the principles of good governance, respect for one another and concern for the peace and happy co-existence of all Solomon Islanders.
The Prime Minister was responding to a statement by Dr Derek Sikua accusing him of employing ‘money politics’ to remain in power.
Dr Sikua’s made the statement following the DCC Government’s recent disbursement of $3-million to ex-MEF combatants as partial payment under its rehabilitation and reintegration program to former combatants.
“We condemn any intimation of alliance to any interest group in this country to stay in power as claimed by the Leader of the Independent Group. This is cheap politics, the kind that can only be resorted to by people who are desperate to be Prime Ministers as recently demonstrated by the instigators of the failed motion of no-confidence.”the Prime Minister said.
Mr Sogavare said the decision to rehabilitate the former combatants by way of projects is a policy initiative by the DCC Government and nothing will deter it from achieving the objective of that policy.
“The question that the likes of Dr Sikua need to answer is what is morally wrong and legally wrong about assisting these Solomon Islanders to settle back into their communities and become useful citizens again by actively participating in economic development?
“This is a policy intention of every Solomon Islands Governments since independence and therefore preceded the ethnic tension. It remains a standing policy. As a matter of fact, it is the failure of successive governments since independence prior to year 2000 to address the fundamental weaknesses of the country that created the environment for our people to take issues against each other.”
He said leaders who now have the audacity to condemn what the DCC Government is trying to do must be ashamed of themselves and come out of their little world and think about these issues in the broader context of the country’s peace process and development.
The Prime Minister said for the information of Dr Sikua and others, work on the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report is now ready for submission to the government for consideration.
This report, he said, carries a comprehensive suggestion on how Solomon Islands will anchor the peace process and warns that it will not be cheap.
“The nation must be prepared to answer tough questions on the way forward to address the underlying causes of the ethnic tension.”
– OPMC press secretariat