DEAR EDITOR – The people of Solomon Islands are already facing a bill from the switch that Sogavare’s government voted for on Monday 16 September.
It is a $53million Solomon Islands dollar loan that the ROC was repaying on behalf of SIG.
It was due to be paid off by 2025, but with the switch the balance must now be met by SIG itself.
The $53M is the balance remaining from a SBD$145million loan that the post-coup Sogavare government took out in 2001 after the Townsville Peace Agreement.
In 2000 after the coup, the first Sogavare government took a loan of $146M from Taiwan EXIM Bank.
This loan was used to pay off Special Constables and lost property claims from the ethnic tensions, but there was widespread abuse of the money, which was reported on by the Auditor General in his report to Parliament in 2005.
ROC-Taiwan was repaying this loan on behalf of the people of Solomon Islands at the rate of about $13M per year up until the switch vote this week.
Now the hard working people of Solomon Islands need to pay back the remaining $53million.
SIG is now facing an unpaid loan of $53M which will need to be paid off by the sweat of people in the country.
Many ex-militants and vocal China supporters were beneficiaries of this money. One of them is a Honiara lawyer, who has been actively campaigning on social media for the switch.
This lawyer billed the Government up to $200,000 for so-called legal advice he provided to ex-militants.
His legal bill was met from the Exim loan.
The Auditor General report highlighted invalid, false and unsubstantiated claims, non-existent properties and abuse of process.
It is interesting to see how their private benefit from 2001 and the actions of the post-coup Sogavare government will now be paid off by ordinary people of Solomon Islands, due to their support for the switch.
They are the biggest beneficiaries of ROC-Taiwan, and now that they have chased them away, we all must pay for their compensation claims from 2001.