To the editor and people of Solomon Islands.
Opportunities for growth are distributed randomly over the surface of the earth. As with many random distribution the outcome is sometimes unequal. Good governance brings opportunities that enhances income and raises the standard of our living, but as it has been so often as usual, it is always associated with problems of unfulfilled economic growth potentials and high risks of large scale violent conflicts specifically related to corruption. In our case for Solomon Islands, it is not violence of any type the country is facing here but more towards issues of integrity and combating corruption as it is, for what it is, in the eyes of ordinary Solomon Islanders. The good fortune from proper governance has never been a reality since the time of elections in 2008, yet the essence of hope and the beacon of life keeps on burning in the eyes of desperate mothers and unfortunate children and adults within our communities for a better future. Issues of corruption continues to taint our institutions processes, yet our relations to bribery and conformance to repeated offences increases radically and continues to succeed as a habit. In addition, It is not surprising that the public and people of Solomon Islands are becoming interested in whether there are feasible collective actions that could significantly mitigate this problem or whether we should continue to raise our voices in the hopes that they may be heard and eventually see true leaders lead this country out of the problems we continue to face as a nation.
According to a 2004 report given by Transparency International from a National integrity Systems Assessments survey, ( which provides a framework for anti corruption organisations, in order to analyse both the extent and causes of corruption in a given country as well as analysing the effectiveness of anti corruption efforts) Solomon Islands is reported to be urgently in need for the following; strategies to fight corruption, stimulation for ongoing open-ended Solomon Islands research and public discourse on integrity issues, a historical survey on prosecuted cases such as embezzlement conversion and forgery, (demanding the attention of leaders prominent individuals and public sector officials) and an urgent need to begin and maintain a public information base on corruption.
Moreover it has also been reported that structural causes of corruption in our nation Solomon Islands stem from systematic factors which either predispose actors to corruption, failure of preventing on going corruption and the continuous creation of conditions that are supportive of corruption. Sad to say, it has also been reported throughout the survey that our government agencies for accountability, professionalism and integrity are also highly vulnerable to political pressure and resource pressures that causes some of the major issues of corruption today. Not surprisingly, the report continues to state that there is a continuous lack of political will and leadership, aimed at supporting accountability and transparency in government. Watch dog agencies both within and outside the state sector have also failed to remove opportunities for corruption and there is an overall lack of public engagement with the state, pointing out that Solomon Islanders needs to be more politically active when it comes to issues concerning the use of money and curbing corruption.
From the above report (which was in 2004) until today, it is possible to state that nothing in so far as curbing corruption is concerned, has ever been successfully taken seriously and implemented. Unmeasurable accounts of funds miss used in the past, continues to attribute ourselves towards the thought that we cannot continuously trust our politicians. Scrutinizing them or even replacing them seeks to ensure that the issues faced are relatively positive at placing confidence in the governments we elect that so often, provides so little return from the benefits we expect from them after we elect them. This then points us towards the obvious question of simply asking ourselves. 'who is to blame?'
As ordinary citizens and watch dogs we blame our government every time, yet as citizens we never stop to ask who made the right choice electing the right people into parliament? And if so, did you and me, us, both elect them for money or in the best interests of our nations dying needs? These simple questions can never be truly understood without actually suffering the continual effects of corruption and having a complete understanding of what it means to choose for the future as opposed to choosing for the 'now' and regretting it later. For whatever finer reason you and I may have about the decisions we make on who we elect, the simple truth remains; corruption and continuous management of funds is eating up the relationships of our family, our society, our village and the lives of our fellow country men and women whether you and I like it or not! Corruption weighs up first on both our consciences before we even start thinking about progress, change and elections. Corruption has destroyed the fabric of our system and trust in public and prominent individuals and you and me, are part of that system where we are constantly pushed to the edges of our paradigm just to see money come in and go out, with the least you can save for one more basic family meal later on.
Although we suffer consciously about the bribery of individual public officials for hastened document processing, to systematic schemes of pay offs and kickbacks involving large resource extraction projects that never pay off, we remain ignorant still and continue to abuse the privilege and wisdom God gave us to elect people of integrity into our political system.
Recently we just observed through the media that 10 million dollars was distributed 24 hours before parliament was dissolved. I for one personally suggest that if the media and Transparency Solomon Islands is correct, then distribution of this 10 million dollars just before such an event is totally an absurd behaviour un-fit for tolerance and by all means a serious issue for us the people of Solomon Islands to stop, think and vote wisely in the next up coming election. As serious and hopeless this situation may look like, we are obligated to question, remove and replace those who are held responsible, from society and politics if we decide to put our country's interest before hand.
If explanations are not provided enough to justify such an action then we must be clear and not be mistaken that what our government just did is saying that they can take whatever they can whether it affects us or not. If that is the case they themselves reflect bad stewards, lose respect from us, are less likely to inspire us on the work of performance and are detrimental to the communities public trust for their respective duties. They may have displayed corruption again, but this time, it is much stronger in nature and free willed, with you and me watching with our eyes wide open, watching them do it while we continue to suffer and they do nothing.
Observing critically we ask ourselves the question, is this the kind of government we want again people? Do we need another happy selfish money spending moron in parliament? They are just people like you and me and we can help or remove them, from being corrupt by demanding their loyalty to principles of accountability, independent judgement, respectability, maintaining of public interests and trusts, and hold them reliable to our honourable motto; 'To lead is to Serve.'
I cannot over stress this enough but we have an obligation to choose. Our future is in our hands and we (the most valuable resource that Solomon Island has) the people of Solomon Islands, we can make a difference. Its time we do something, take yourself on a journey of great discovery. Alter your lives through altering your minds and think like Martin Luther King jnr, 'The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.' And lets face our weaknesses head on by becoming people known for value rather than driven by success. May God bless Solomon Islands.
Corruption at its worst!
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter are those of Keynes Teama Ronia and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.
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