The countdown has truly begun. A week from now, for example, the Ninth Parliament will be no more. It will be dissolved. Nearly half the 50 Members of Parliament will have been out of job as the nation prepares to vote in new MPs to represent them in the 10th Parliament.
The date for the election remains a mystery but it will soon be announced. Informers are now saying October 29 remains a strong contender in terms of a date for voter decision.
It is an exciting moment in our young and evolving history.
Lest we forget, the road ahead, remains challenging. It is not impossible. The damage being knowingly inflicted by the current administration on the nation is priceless. It has reduced our image as a nation to pure ridicule, here and abroad.
Its ramifications on investment prospects are widespread and far reaching. No genuine investors would part with his money in a nation being seen by outsiders as a bottomless pit with entrenched and openly-practised corruption.
The task of cleaning up the mess is and will truly be daunting.
And it is not (not) the question of how to clean up the mess, which grew in intensity during the last two and a half years. No, it is not that at all. Rather, it is where one starts.
In that regard a new regime that takes over the reins after the election later this year has quite a task before it – a daunting and unenviable task indeed. In my view it will take more than just a new team with a new big broom.
The new team must first of all be like-minded and united in purpose. That purpose is to restore the nation’s honor, pride and prestige. In today’s language it means salvaging the nation from the brink of bankruptcy caused largely by those who have made it their business to ignore the nation, its people and their interests.
So where do we start? Here are some thoughts.
First, law enforcement agencies need to do more in causing deterrents. People are getting away with murders today. Notorious for this is the traffic section of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF). Honiara is becoming an island nation city being over-run by motorists who control traffic. Cars are parked anywhere any time of the day. This must stop. Impose hefty fines, if you must.
Policing the traffic is not only for ceremonial purposes. It is an everyday thing. Traffic police always perform a fine job when dignitaries are in town. But the moment the ceremonial event is over, chaos returns. Clean up the mess there, Police Commissioner. No excuses, please?
The second area is what appears to be a dead end every time an MP is under investigation for serious criminal allegations – diversion of public funds, for example. All we hear these days is the case is active.
No one wants to hear that. Why? We hear it every day. We hear it for years on ends, it has become monotonous. The nation cannot bear to continue hearing the case is active.
Deterrents are what the nation wants to hear. That deterrent must start at the top. No excuses. Only the police can make that happen in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies such as the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) and our court system.
I have seen or heard so many complaints from investors and businessmen alike. Being human as they are, they felt and perhaps rightly so our court system has failed them. Perhaps it’s time the Director of Public Prosecution invest a bit more time in his work than his preoccupation with sports, a fact confirmed to me by an advisor who once worked with the Director.
Performance-based outcomes should be the yardstick a new government uses to keep or boot people in the public sector. That sort of approach has my undivided and unqualified support.
One can be assured that while the clean-up will be long and painful the gains would be worth it all for the public good and the nation’s tainted image.
BY ALFRED SASAKO