SOLOMON ISLANDS ranked 44 out of 180 countries in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) survey announced last week.
CPI uses a scale of 0 to 100 to rank nations, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean. Last week, the wise men and women of Solomon Islands congregated to discuss a solution.
The group was made up of the Leadership Code Commission, Solomon Islands Independent Commission Against Corruption (SIICAC), the Media Association of Solomon Islands (MASI), the Council of Women, the Ombudsman Commission, the United Nations Development Programme, and social media representatives.
Sadly, they could not come up with one solution when they discussed the country’s approach to corruption and reflected ON Solomon Islands Corruption Perception Index (CPI) ranking.
What is corruption?
The Macquarie Concise Dictionary (6th Edition) defines corruption as being “dishonest, without integrity, guilty of dishonesty, especially involving bribery.”
Former Governor-General and Chairman of the Solomon Islands Independent Commission Against Corruption (SIICAC), Sir Frank Kabui made an interesting observation during the panel’s discussion. He pointed out the government has never delivered on funding promises to the newly-established Commission Against Corruption.
Sir Frank suggested one way was to improve internal procedures in the public service as a lot of officers cannot comply.
While the former Judge of the High Court may be right, this Paper suggests corruption is a manifestation of a much deeper institutionalised and fundamental problem. It has grown into a culture.
The truth about why corruption gains an increasing foothold in our society every year is quite simple.
Truth be told, our police are weak and under-resourced to deal with corruption, the Leadership Code Commission, the Ombudsman Commission, and others are largely reluctant to deliver on cases reported to them because of fear of losing their jobs. Their jobs have become highly politicised in recent years.
No public officers are willing to talk about corruption. That is the reality. And we must be honest with ourselves in admitting that until we are willing to talk, nothing will change
The challenge is to stand up and be counted – for the sake of our children.