But SIPA chief vows reform must go on
SOLOMON Islands Ports Authority (SIPA) chief executive officer Colin Yow vows not to abandon the current reform he was engaged to oversee, despite Wednesday’s violence at the port’s premises.
A highly determined Mr Yow, who was brought in recently to administer the Asian Development Bank (ADB) initiated reform process, spoke to the media yesterday.
“I was punched, kicked, and stoned by SIPA disgruntled workers on Wednesday, but I will not give-up. I will continue to deliver the reform programme that the Solomon Islands Government looks for,” he said.
“I will not be deterred, nor will I stop doing what is best for SIPA and the reform SIG looks for. I have the conviction and the determination to drive these reforms for the future benefit of Solomon Islands.”
SIPA workers unhappy about a notice informing them that they will not get their bonus advances on Easter, staged a protest, while others went to the extent of attacking Mr Yow.
Some refused to work on that day.
The police have to be called in to restore calm at the premises.
The incident came at the back of a 28-day strike notice the workers’ union issued recently, that called for the removal of SIPA chairman Nollen Leni, Mr Yow, and the 10 Singaporean consultants currently implementing the reform process within the organisation.
But Mr Yow has defended the reform, saying it is yielding positive results and taking root.
“The signs are clear that SIPA is making headway. Wednesday’s incident of defiance is indicative of resistance to change by some, not the majority.
“Just a few people can damage SIPA. This must not be allowed to happen.
“Such actions are designed to frighten the majority of workers from wanting to work and to instil psychology of fear, to deter me from undertaking the reform .This reform will continue regardless of any physical actions,” Mr Yow said.
He said what happen to him on Wednesday was well-planned by some SIPA workers who wanted to cause him harm.
“I was mobbed, punched and stoned. If it was not for the actions of a staff member; I could have been seriously injured or worse.
“It’s shameful to have to resort to violence in an attempt to stop changes, seeking reasons to call for unlawful strike. Such actions are deplorable and not acceptable.
“It’s beneath the dignity of most Solomon Islanders.
“I would like to tell those few disgruntled workers that I am not deterred, nor will I stop doing what’s best for SIPA and the reform SIG looks for. I have the conviction and the determination to drive these reforms forward and will not give up.”
By DENVER NEWTER