Tuesday, 4 December 2007 4:08 PM

BUA - The Way Forward for SI: Prime Minister Sogavare

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said the Bottom-up Approach development policy of his Grand Coalition for Change Government is the way forward for Solomon Islands after 29 years of a snail-paced development growth.

Mr. Sogavare was responding to statements by the Leader of Opposition, Fred Fono, suggesting that the Bottom-Up Approach Development Policy is not working, and that the development projects being implemented by the Grand Coalition for Change Government belonged to the previous government.

The Prime Minister said the statements showed how irresponsible the Opposition Leader was and his desperation for power by engrossing himself in a points-scoring game.

Mr Sogavare said his Grand Coalition for Change Government's Bottom-up Approach development policy would not be achieved overnight, as it had to redirect the top-down development approach that was in place for the last 29 years.

"This is the first time a government is determined to address development through a bottom-up approach that was strategically designed to address the underlying issues of the ethnic tension, and it would take time to put in place legislations for the successful implementation of the policy."

"This approach is not about dishing out money to the rural people but rather, taking development down to them so they can participate and benefit through their participation," Mr. Sogavare explained.

The Prime Minister said some of the major programmes embarked on by the current government was the economic zone strategy, land reform, free basic education, rural electrification and rural housing scheme.

He said under the economic zone strategy, the government was working on encouraging investments in fishery, agriculture, tourism and forestry in the rural areas in direct response to the bona fide demands of the people of Guadalcanal.

The Prime Minister stressed on the need for Mr. Fono to understand that the Solomon Islands government was a permanent entity, and any responsible government in power should not discontinue good programmes initiated by a predecessor government but realign them to match its development policy.

"Is Mr Fono suggesting that every time a new government comes into power, it has to do away with all development programmes of a pervious government and that the Bottom-up Approach policy is about dishing out money to the rural people?" Mr. Sogavare questioned. "That is a very irresponsible and ridiculous thinking by the Leader of Opposition, and it clearly showed that the Opposition's move to oust me from office is based on selfish and narrow political agendas."

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