Sunday, 27 September 2009 6:51 PM

Hindrance to Development

The Prime Minister Sikua said and I quote "if Solomon Islands want to develop, then disputes, violence, corruption and maladministration must be stopped" end of quote.

I would like to add that lack of governance over the years is the root cause of all these.

The preceding paragraphs are few amongst many.

The failure to decentralize development through out the provinces resulted in high inflow of population into Honiara which led to occupation of or squatting on customary land and later became one of the reasons for the recent unrest on Guadalcanal.

The lack of foresight in recognizing the status and role of chiefs as the governing unit even before the establishing of Government and Religion, contributes to the underdevelopment in Solomon Islands. For instance, 80 -100% of land mass in SI remains under the custodian of chiefs. The failure of the previous governments to assist the chiefs in demarcation and registration of customary land where the vast wealth of resources lie, is a contributing factor to slow development. Remember; when government plans for development, it always underestimates the complexity of the customary land tenure, let alone the provision for compulsory acquisition of land. If the government is serious about sustainable development then the first task is to work with the chiefs or tribal landowners to come up with a system that would open up the 80 - 100% customary land for development.

The lack of recognizing the informal education sector such as the rural training centers as the alternative education not only to cater for the thousands of school dropouts each year but to equip each youth with knowledge and skills that would enable them to become self reliant and useful in the society.

The instability of the previous ruling governments fuelled by corrupt practices, greed, self-serving, nepotism, Mr. me ( what me talem nomoa hem good), etc were very evident at the governance level, by the very person(s) that should lead by example. In 1998, had the government then listen to the bona fide demands, the so called the ethnic tension may not have escalated into what had been experienced. Similarly, the Chinatown incident may not have occurred had the MPs acted responsibly rather than resorting to lobbying game, which was influenced by the power of money and were very obvious to the public at that time. The spillover effect of the in-house fighting led to the public taking the Chinatown Street.

How can politicians expect development, when they themselves are the obstacle? Instability, self serve (awarding themselves huge entitlements), abusing of power, overriding & disregarding the court decisions, unfairly disbursement of CDF (supporters only), etc, etc, etc, etc. Oh the integrity bill may be the answer. But the integrity bill once become law will be the same as the laws that are already in existence. If we can't respect the existing laws, what guarantee is that the integrity law cannot be manipulated? It's too early to adopt this integrity law because the current style of leadership is not conducive to ensure this law works as has been preaching throughout the country. With the current style of leadership, this would instead be a breeding ground for dictatorship governments. Integrity law is a good idea but only when it comes with honesty, mature leadership, sacrifice and putting the nations interest first. The MPs will continue to debate and pass this bill into law as a campaign strategy, so be aware of it.

If we need Solomon Islands to develop, then the leadership style must be changed or better still new blood is needed in the system. A change and new blood that will undo the costly entitlements and redirect the CDF to benefit the rural mass with no political conditions attached, to mention few.

God bless Solomon Islands.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter/article are those of Asly and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.

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