Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Challenges remain the same......

The Challenges remain the same......
Monday 24 December 2007 was a historic day in Solomon Islands.

It was the first time in many attempts a members of Parliament unseated a Prime Minister in a motion of no confidence. First timer Parliamentarian and deflected Education Minister and MP for North East Guadalcanal, Dr Derek Sikua became the terminator of the sitting Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare. Dr Sikua and Mr Sogavare became part of Solomon Islands political history when Parliament voted on the motion.

PM Sogavare oust in no confidence motion
The downfall of the Sogavare-led government was set in motion through the appointment of Australian lawyer Julian Moti as the country's Attorney General.

Moti had been a controversial figure in Solomon Islands for some years. Previous governments have engaged him in various projects. The proposed Mamara Township project on North West Guadalcanal was one of them. Moti was one of the key men behind the project in providing his legal savvy to the drafting of the project. After some heated debate on the project it never saw the light of day.

The other project was the Solomon Mutual Insurance, which after operating for several years it has folded because it was facing financial difficulties. Although, Moti was involved in the formulating stages of the Insurance company through his legal representation, he was not involved in the running of the company.

The former PM Sogavare is very firm in his beliefs and decisions. Despite mounting criticisms against his government and his leadership style which some people have described as dictatorial, he never bow down to the pressure. He stood by his words saying he was elected by Parliament and only Parliament could vote him out. And that was the verdict. Dr Sikua won the secret ballot vote with 32 votes to 15 votes. While the result was a foregone conclusion, the winning margin was a surprise.

The New Government
Dr Sikua an educationist by profession was elected on what seems to be a firm foundation.

His Cabinet was a mixture of seasoned politicians, public servants and young first time Parliamentarians. A significant aspect of that Cabinet is the Guadalcanal-Malaita led administration. Dr Sikua and his Coalition for National Unity, Reconciliation and Peace selected form Opposition leader, Fred Fono from Malaita as the Deputy PM. Guadalcanal and Malaita were the main conflicting parties in the ethnic tension and some Solomon Islanders those two leaders were the right persons to address the the outstanding issues head on.

MyBlog comments
Its early days....and the remaining two or so years of the life of the present Parliament is too short for the new government to implement its policies and programme.

The government's immediate task now is to put together the 2008 budget. The new government like any other previous governments cannot implement it policies and programme on its own. It needs the cooperation of Solomon Islanders and all sectors of the community and developing partners to achieve its aims and objectives.

The tasks and challenges ahead are awesome and seemed difficult, but they can be tackled.


Friday, November 16, 2007

PM responses with fire

PM responses with fire
The political uncertainty closes the sixth day with fire. Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has came out firing with both barrels at his critics, assuring the people that he is innocent of the accusations. The ammunition come in a paid addressed to the nation being broadcast on the national radio, SIBC.

Former Finance Minister
In the statement Mr Sogavare maintains that the Ministers and MPs that have resigned from his government were mislead by the former Finance Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo to cover up for dubious dealing and mismanagement of public money. The PM claims that the former Finance Minister never consulted the Cabinet when used the country's revenue reserve to pay for Solomon Islands students’ fees in Papua New Guinea Institutions. This was because PNG withheld their assistance when the Mr Lilo cancelled their 5th Freedom Right, without any consultations. Other actions by Mr Lilo involved the purchases of government vehicles at about 12 million Solomon Islands and funds for for rehabilitation of the April tsunami stricken areas of the Western and Choiseul province.

Guadalcanal Demands
In the statement the Prime Minister re-iterates that the importance of the "bona-fide demands of the people of Guadalcanal." He continues to put emphasis on this because the ethnic unrest which has resulted from past injustices has became an vital reference point in the history of Solomon Islands. The social unrest has brought about a new era for the Solomons, to find a new direction for the country or states.

Some thing new and but long overdue is the establishment of Tandai Land Trust Board. This Board would address the concerns of the original landowners of Honiara land. A a legislative framework is being drawn up to deal with financial benefit to the original landowners of Honiara and other crown land where, because of their strategic nature, excluded from the policy to return them to the original landowners.

Prime Minister Sogavare has also assured Solomon Islanders about the safety and security of the people. He says the government is committed during the development and rehabilitation phase of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force to continue to work very closely with the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands.

Opposition Statement
The Prime Minister responded to what he described as a 9-point defamatory statement issued by the opposition office, in the Solomon Star newspaper. He defended government decisions and actions on the issues raised by the the Opposition. Some of the issues includes the paying of a foreign lawyer to put the 666 questions out to the Australian Government relating to Attorney General Julian Moti and the payment of $300,000 paid to Hon Charles Dausabea.

He said he is seeking legal advise on the Opposition statement. Mr Sogavare statement can be viewed on

MyBlog comments
Whilst Prime Minister Sogavare has released the statement to the public, it may take time to really sink in. It will also take time for people to crasp the reality of the situation. Most supporters of both the Sogavare-led government and the Opposition will remain unconvinced by the party they oppose, while a minority will may have a change of heart over the six days of war of words by the two groups.

Meanwhile, the situation remains uncertain, and the perception by many Solomon Islanders is that substantial amounts of money will decide the number game by the Government and Opposition. Whether this perception is true or where the money comes from is anybody's guess.

MyBlog ends this post with a port of the PM's statement, "The battle belongs to God and I am confident that he will take us through as he always did in the past. This political battle will be won on truth and justice not telling lies and the making of defamatory statements.

Have a happy and blessed weekend.