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Dear Editor – I refer your readers to the recently released information by TSI on the attendance of our MPs and the frequency of their participation on debates on Bills on the floor of our national parliament.
I do commend TSI on their efforts to examine the MPs in relation to those two above issues and to reveal to the public their findings.The main findings are that our MPs attendance in parliament has been very poor and that their participation on debates on Bills has been done by a very vocal few whilst the rest have remained mute giving them also a very poor performance or a total failure to perform.
The TSI findings released, I believe, has raised serious concerns and conclusions amongst members of the public, community and provincial leaders, church leaders, private sector and so forth.
My own main conclusion or view is this: that the Solomon Islands national parliament has become a redundant national institution not performing the constitutional role of a legislature which is enshrined in the national constitution adopted in 1978.
We have observed for many years now that our parliament is effectively a parliament of a few or only 10 or so MPs (out of 50)! It is therefore an undemocratic institution, has failed the people of Solomon Islands and has long been a mute machine only controlled and played by a few MPs.
The information revealed by TSI says it all. It has now no constitutional democracy and no representation of the people as 90%of the MPs have become mutant ninja homo sapiens upon entering parliament house.
May I ask: Where are we heading? Sir, we cannot go on like this and call ourselves a constitutional democracy! This is no different from a few executive officers or Permanent Secretaries running the country without the MPs! We must seriously look at changing the system or voters need to vote in people who can perform to the task. We definitely do need to change this situation and must change.
The information revealed by TSI simply confirms what has been observed by thousands of Solomon Islanders and probably observers from around the region. That is, for many years, even from the previous parliaments, there has been very poor attendance and participation on parliamentary debates by our MPs.
It has been said by many from within and outside of the country that the debates are generally of poor quality and that governance is very poor in our country. From the debates that were usually relayed live on SIBC and on TV, you can make your own judgements about the quality of debates, participation of MPs and attendance.Staka time you lukim empty seats nomoa and samfala sem sem MPs nomoa toktok olowe!
The reasons for the poor attendance and poor participation may have not been properly determined as yet, butI am certainly sure that one of the main reasons is that MPs have become Finance Managers rather than legislators.
This simply has been due to the amount of funds that MPs have selfishly given themselves to dish out lavishly to their families and supporters at the expense of most Solomon Islanders, much needed national development programmes and the national economy. (There is probably a need to examine the constitutionality of MPs taking on the role of finance managers rather than their role as legislators).
Other reasons for the poor attendance and poor participation, I believe are these: many active business men going to parliament without concentrating on their constitutional responsibilities but are more interested in the funds and on serving themselves than doing all the study and research required of MPs for parliamentary matters especially on legislative matters; many undereducated and ill-experienced MPs who simply cannot perform to the required standard of national legislators; many MPs who are educated but are so egocentric and selfish that they have changed their colours after a year or so in parliament and have become business men serving themselves and have forgotten their role as legislators; MPs (and other leaders) taking cover under the RAMSI interventionand concentrate on self serving programmes;and many MPs becoming womanisers and have spent too much time on extramarital affairs with a good number of MPs (even ex-MPs) now on to their second or third wife or fourth spouses (some are already on their fifth spouse).
There is generally a lack of nationalistic attitude (not to be overly emphasized) and a sadly deteriorating standard of moral and ethical values. The general pressure from the supporters for funds, goods and other favours from MPs is a constant living burden and does affect MPs attendance and participation. Those who cannot handle the overwhelming pressure do not perform their legislative or constitutional responsibilities and end in demise. This however has been due to their own doing and only they themselves can make the necessary change to ameliorate such situation. We must change if things are to improve.
The state of our economy and governance right now is a concrete manifestation of the general performance of our national leaders. Very serious concerns on some of these issues have been raised in the media by senior and well respected community and provincial leaders over the years.
I urge all current leaders to take stock, think and evaluate our situation for the sake of our future ‘joy, peace, progress and prosperity’. Please think about our future for we do not want to transgress backwards but progress forward. The hidden truth if I may say is this: we definitely cannot continue on the current path we are following, we must change to work towards a better and prosperous future for all, for the whole nation, not for only a few MPs and their supporters.