Monday, 29 October 2012 3:44 PM

PM Lilo. An Antithesis

Who is Mr Lilo and more importantly in public life, what does he represent?
Mr Lilo came in to the top job promising a fair bit - he dedicated his win to the young people of the Solomon Islands and promised to roll up his sleeves and change the course of the nation - for the good, we hoped. He announced a 100-day plan setting out what his government would do.

Fast forward to today, what has he really done? Fiscal policies championed? Meaningful public policy priorities on the table? What about young Solomon Islanders whom he dedicated his win to? Post - schooling initiatives to get youths off the streets and utilise their God given potential for the good of the country?

I have a long list of depressing questions and I am sure most Solomon Islanders do too.

To understand what Mr Lilo represents, we need to go back a few years. In this case though we don't have to go far.

The so-called bêche-de-mer saga was one of those. We Solomon Islanders do not eat sea cucumbers and naturally we had heaps of them in our waters. The commercialisation of it sees dramatic reduction of their numbers. It was easy to harvest them as they do not swim or crawl fast enough to hide. Within 20 years most populations were decimated. Now as a result of this, the government put in place a ban on harvesting, to hopefully allow them to re-establish. The ban becomes law (regulation) and heavy penalties were therefore put in place should the law be broken.

It wasn't long before customs officers discovered tonnes of the stuff ready to be exported. Mr Lilo argued (on national media) that the crooks had suffered enough having their goods confiscated and that they had suffered heavy financial loses. The crooks were consequently given reduced fines making a mockery of our laws and the standing of our legal system.

I am at a loss here, should he be fighting tooth and nail for the Solomon Islands government and its people? Not against it? It just defies common sense don't you think.

What about the hefty bill at a very expensive hotel in Honiara, one hundred thousand dollars a month or thereabouts? Wow, and this is in contrast to most Solomon Islanders living in abject poverty in rural communities right across the country.

How about just a few weeks ago, when the PM led an overcrowded and questionable delegation to the UN - for a promise of 100 computers from Georgia? At the same time there was a picture of a man from his electorate (on national media) holding up a broken water pipe caused by the Tsunami years back pleading with him for help. I might be wrong here, but his priorities are just not on the right place. It just did not pass the common sense test for me and I am sure it wouldn't pass most Solomon Islanders' either.

The no confidence motion moved by the opposition (the alternative government) is part of a democratic process. Whilst Mr Lilo thinks it's a waste of time, obviously 20 odd MPs beg to differ - that's about 40% of sitting members.

No-confidence motions will be part of our political system as long as we have weak coalition governments. Whilst this is regrettable, there is no silver bullet. The proposed reforms (under the Sikua government) that were meant to stop this were defeated in parliament. No amount of money or conventional wisdom will deliver us from this. We need a fundamental change in how we do things in politics in the Solomons - a paradigm shift. And it needs to be championed by our political leaders.

There is one thing though that I agree with Mr Lilo, and that is where he said "it is time to refocus on the tasks at hand, that of governing the affairs of the country". I just hoped that he wasn't joking.

Andy Kerazama.





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

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