Dear Editor,

Please allow me space to share my views on the Solomon Islands Cattle Rehabilitation Project. This project has for far too long been dragged on by the previous Sogovare Government and further into Sikua's reign until today.

Whilst a lot of readers may consider the topic or this discussion a dead issue; I on the other strongly believe it again needs our attention and perhaps this piece of writing may draw the attention of the care-taker Government or any future intending Government for the matter.

What has happened to the planned import of impregnated cows (1400 various breeds) and a batch of bulls (60 pure bred of various breeds) ? that were promised as a rehabilitation package to rural cattle farmers of Solomon Islands?

There was even 10 Million dollars allocated by the ROC (Taiwan) in 2007 for this project, a big hand over ceremony for done and our Government promised to chip in the remaining 8 and a half million ollars to complete the project as fully funded.

Until today nothing has eventuated; except that the department of livestock has purchased three brand new vehicles (Land Cruiser and Hilux) from the funds, all based in Honiara; what sort of cows are they looking after and checking on in Honiara? There are no major cattle or piggery projects on Guadalcanal? Even small holders farms don't even warrant purchase of such numbers of vehicles, who was the stupid donor or Government boss that authorized this exercise. This is absurd. Trucks to drive around Honiara town nomoa!!

The various overseas trips of Government officials' including MPs wife and what not's; up until now have totaled vast amounts of funds, estimates and available figure on travel, accommodation and allowances show that had a fraction of these funds been given to cattle rehabilitation we would be in the okay by now.

Whist it is unfair to politicize the cattle situation including the high imports of beef against our import bill, what fairness have our members of Parliament shown to rural development? All the media releases and information I can gather from Government Ministries and their relevant departments have shown that very little development in terms of sustainable rural entitles has occurred through efforts of members of parliaments or Government machinery; shockingly through-out the whole country.

This scenario clearly doesn't mke you wonder too much why people want to take MPs to court to prove and show accountability for various funds spent.

Any tangible or profitable rural development enterprise across Solomon Islands, weather large or small scale; have all been individually driven, nothing has come from Provincial or National Government, its departments or its MPs allocations.

Additionally Donor and NGOs programmes that come under the scope of sustainable rural development are all capacity building workshops. There is no funding or supplying of equipment, crop and/or livestock. The donor and NGO inputs, outputs and outcomes or implemented projects if measured against the impact and positive changes in lives of people is very minimal. There is hardly any evidence of real measurable changes. All the monitoring and evaluation results are floored; all the positives outcomes captured in the reports are not realistically measurable or can be verified for long term sustainability.

This scenario is by all means worst for Solomon Islands Government departments through-out the various Ministries.

I am really surprised with the lack of commitment for the cattle rehabilitation project or any real sustainable rural development in our country. Where are all the millions of dollars?

I also believe that current political parties are only using the rural development agenda as a campaign strategy and there is no real substance. My evidence is that most if not all current parliament members (dissolved) are behind these same parties, why hadn't they applied these policies and strategies whilst in parliament for the last four years, some have even had longer spells in parliament or held key Government positions prior to joining parliament. We are listening to the same old tone again; talk about history repeating it's self!

I think it is now time that all members in the current parliament (dissolved) should be voted out and I hope that more women as compassionate, caring and accountable individuals should walk the floors of our parliament. Whilst this may be a shallow remark, what have our men folk proven? Even I as a man am embarrassed.

Bebeta Saparis