SOLOMON Islands Democratic Party (SIDP) Leader Mathew Wale says Solomon Islands is suffering the consequences of its negligent leadership.
Mr Wale made the statement when giving his key note address during the launching of the Party manifesto in Honiara, Thursday.
“Governments have known about the inevitable reduction in logging for the past eight years, especially the last four, but have chosen to do nothing about it.
“The neglect has placed Solomon Islands in the current situation, facing a precarious future,” he added.
Wale said it is not a mistake, but a decision by recent governments and recent Prime Ministers to do nothing about redirecting the economy that has placed Solomon Islands where it is.
He said the country needs to ask why this negligence in a matter of such serious gravity and consequences.
“Are our Prime Ministers and Ministers of Finance incompetent? Were they compromised by the logging industry? Or did they luck the vision to see what was creeping up on our economy?”
“Perhaps it is a case that they could see the impending substantial reduction in the economy, but did not attach any serious weight to it- they are have insulated themselves because they are disconnected from the experiences of ordinary Solomon Islanders,” he added.
Wale said we have all heard over the past several years that the logging industry was drawing to an end, but it seems no one believed the warnings, especially not the governments.
“If they believed it, they chose to ignore it. But that end is now upon us. Governments have allowed unsustainable practices and harvesting to continue unabated in the logging industry for so long that the forest resource has been depleted a lot sooner that if it had been harvested on a sustainable basis,” he said.
He said Governments, generally, were compromised by the logging industry so that the tough decisions were not made to bring this industry to within sustainable harvest rates.
“Evidence of this compromise is clear for all to see:;
• there has been no legislation to address the serious issues in this industry
• the determined price of logs have always been set by the logging industry under the nose of Ministers of Finance
• formation of governments have been determined by this industry,
• Prime Ministers have relied on this industry to remain in office by providing money to appease MPs.
“A particular Prime Minister was so audacious that he used the office of the Prime Minister as the place for MPs to collect cash and sign off for it.
“Cash that was supplied by the logging industry,” he said.
He said our leaders, in their request for power, have handed over control of sovereign government of the people of Solomon Islands to the logging industry run by foreigners.
“Such has been the disease and the rot that has entangled leaders and government leading to the tough decisions on this industry not being addressed.
“It is very difficult to bite the hand that feeds you. These practices are flowing over into the mining industry, but must not be allowed to continue,” he added.
By IAN M.KAUKUI