Tuesday, 26 January 2010 2:14 PM

Cattle Rehabilitation in SI Stalled Again

I read with deep regret the recent news posting in the Solomon Star by the Acting Director of Livestock; that the proposed project for cattle to be brought in from Australia may not be possible this year, due to limitations with available funds.

If this is the case then why not open up for individuals, business houses or even local farmers to make payments for specific numbers of animals if interested, this I am sure can allow a collective approach to targeted dollar figures the Ministry of Agriculture is lacking. I for one, as a local farmer with business prospects who has been waiting for this controversial plan to eventuate am willing to spend at least a $ 100,000 for some cows or even a bull out of this batch. I know of another handful of Solomon islanders willing to spend equal or more if these arrangements are available. Even members of Parliament have expressed similar intentions to allocate funds from RCDF towards this arrangement.

Additionally there are rumors circulating around Honiara town that locals engaged in the project with specific roles; for instance: veterinary consultation and services have excessively charged fees against the intended project, hence the high peak of funds needed. What happened to contributing to national development and the future of larger animal herds in country for meat, income and job creation? I believe that more animals of exotic breed will mean veterinary services will also increase in demand, so why are our locals thinking short term? This is just one of the many examples of locals engaged within the project that have increased their demands making funding allocations spontaneously increase.

Another rumor is the Government will dish out funds from the consolidated fund basket; where the proposed cattle rehabilitation funds are located, some of what is left of it anyway; to members of parliament for campaigning and as usual will call it; end of term gratitude payments to members of parliament.

I also understand discussions with ROC have not be successful, given the controversial SBD 10,000,000 has already been issued about three times already to two (2) separate Solomon Islands Governments in the past four (4) years to save face. I understand discussions have occurred with the Australian Government, however; to many demands and own terms were imposed by the Australian Government, which subsequently saw our Government back away.

Can the Solomon Islands Government of the day enlighten the general public on the specifics and particulars of this whole scandal? Where are the available documents including budgeting allocation of the project proposal that us the public; which you serve, can access for comments or recommendations.

Why is such a small project with enormous benefits to locals particularly our farmers and our declining rural based economy taking such a long and complicated time to be achieved?

If the Government hasn't already noticed, our people are not interested in numbers of Bills put to parliament or passed, knowing fully well that they are unachievable, no money to implement or strong enforcement agencies to advocate, enforce and penalize accordingly.

Please get your acts together and start looking at the basics which you have missed for so long. This notion of equaling or paring up to our neighboring countries on the parliamentary front (lame politics) has out rightly allowed our leaders (Government to be precise) to forgot the basic needs that advocate peace and unity, development, job and food security and economic growth.

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

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