Transparency Solomon Islands (TSI) held their sixth Annual General Meeting at the Quality Inn conference room last night.Reflecting on the previous year TSI Chairman, Mr. Bob Pollard, said that TSI, despite many challenges, continued with the task of strengthening TSI as an organization and reducing corruption in Solomon Islands.
Mr. Pollard stated that the strengthening of TSI as an organization "has been a success, and credit goes to the board members for their service and dedication throughout the year."
In particular, Mr. Pollard expressed his deep gratitude to TSI treasurer, Mr. Lester Soaika, for his commitment, "as it is at times a mammoth task."
On the issue of corruption in the country, the Chairman said that, at the beginning of last year they set themselves three priorities for action - electoral reform, IPAM anti-corruption training and establishing an anti-corruption alliance. "To be truthful, we have not made significant progress on any of these three objectives," Mr. Pollard said.
"Despite that, TSI have engaged in many positive and worthwhile programs, events and projects in 2008 particularly on its ongoing fight against corruption."
Mr. Pollard said that some of the main activities include the determining of log prices, United Nations convention Against Corruption, Walk Anti-Corruption Day (Walk against Corruption), Pacific Women's Perspective on Corruption and many other activities.
Mr. Pollard said that for 2009 the board has identified three major objectives - strengthening of TSI internal capacity, improve the public understanding of corruption and reduce the incidence of corruption.
Meanwhile, Mr. Pollard expressed his appreciation of the announcements by the CNURA government and the good intentions they have in reducing corruption. "These initiatives are widely supported as the impact of corruption on the Solomon Islands society as a whole is very negative; it is no longer a matter of debate."
He said that corruption is now a familiar word across the nation and even throughout the villages, "not all are clear of the meaning but they understand that it is a serious problem," added Mr. Pollard. "The Sikua government has announced bold initiatives to combat corruption... these initiatives need our full engagement and support," he added.
Mr. Pollard says that TSI recognizes that the implementing the anti-corruption measures that the CNURA government has announce will not be easy. "However, everyone must be noted that TSI does not take side in politics. We support all efforts to reduce corruption and we will continue to provide constructive critics of anti-corruption measures," said Mr. Pollard.
"Slowly but surely we will continue to work towards a more transparent and accountable Solomon Islands. It is through the tenacity, passion and dedication of our members, staff and office bearers that we are able to make a difference and for that, I am grateful and hopeful of a bright and prosperous future for Solomon Islands," said the TSI Chairman.