Solomon Islands do not need a diplomatic switch, all it needs is a switch in leadership attitude says Malaita Provincial Premier Daniel Suidani.
Premier Suidani told the Solomon Star Auki over the weekend in an exclusive interview stating Malaita province’s position on the proposed switch of bilateral relationship from traditional partner Taiwan to a new partner China.
He said if the switch is triggered by the need to have access to more foreign aid and opportunities then it is a cheap excuse.
“Funding and opportunities was never the problem for Solomon Islands.
“Poor leadership is the main culprit that prevents funding from the traditional aid donor like Taiwan from reaching down to the people in the rural areas,” he said.
Premier Suidani said when it comes to funding, Taiwan has been there for the country over the past three decades showing endures support through the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and other forms of funding support from the traditional partner.
“I believe if our leaders make good use of the funding worth millions of dollars obtained from our traditional partner (Taiwan) over the years and turned the funding into meaningful and life changing development, this country would be somewhere up the ladder in its development.
“I believe if the funding received from our traditional partner was used properly, it should already created better opportunities for our women,men, youths and children in having access to better education, better health care, having access to proper sanitation, nutrition, housing and more employment and business opportunities.
“I believe if the money the country received from Taiwan over the years was properly managed and use to fund the country’s road and health infrastructure, Solomon Island would have some of the best infrastructure in the Pacific region.
“The reason why millions of dollar through funding fail to trigger positive development in the country is because of leadership issue and not funding issue.
“What the country needs right now is a positive switch of attitude by our national leaders and not a bilateral switch of ties to China.
“My humble call for the leaders of the day is to switch you attitude and remain with Taiwan our true traditional partner,” he said.
He said if leaders fail to switch their attitude to become committed and responsible leaders, even a diplomatic switch to China will not solve a thing for the country.
“But will even make matters worse for a country that already showed symptoms of poor leadership,” he said.
Premier Suidani highlighted that Malaita province is the most populated province in the country with many unique cultural values that bind its people and influences the way decisions were reached.
“One of the common unifying characters of Malaita culture is do good to those do good to you,” he said.
Another one of those unifying characters of Malaita culture is; “you can only declare war on someone who killed your blood relative.”
Premier Suidani said that in the context of Taiwan and Malaita province, “there is a great engagement and commitment shown over the years to now.”
“There is no genuine reason or reasons to influence Malaita to withdraw its support from recognizing Taiwan and support the switch to China instead,” he said.
He said the decision made to remain with Taiwan is not made in the best interest of any individual or interested groups, rather he said the decision was made with due respect to the traditional ties that Solomon Islands has enjoyed with Taiwan as a loyal friend over the years.
He said if the proposed switch of diplomatic ties from Taiwan to mainland China is over funding issues, more economic opportunities, or poor administrative issue then Premier Suidani is calling on the national government to solve its issues with Taiwan and show some respect to our traditional partner.
With that, Premier Suidani said the much talked about switch to China might not be in the best interest of the country, but in the interest of those who are advocating for the switch of bilateral ties to China.
The Malaita Provincial Premier is the latest premier to share is provincial views on the proposed diplomatic switch.
Premier of Western province and Premier of Guadalcanal have already shown their support for the proposed switch in support of China.
By WILSON SAENI