NATIONAL PARLIAMENT OF
EIGHTH PARLIAMENT - SECOND MEETING
The Hon Speaker, Sir Peter Kenilorea took the Chair at .
At prayers, all were present with the exception of the Deputy Prime Minister & Minister for Forest, Environment & Conservation and Ministers for Fisheries & Marine Resources, Agriculture & Livestock, Foreign Affairs, Culture & Tourism, Finance & Treasury, Communication, Aviation & Meteorology, Provincial Government and the Members for Fataleka, West New Georgia/Vona Vona, West Guadalcanal, East Honiara, Rennell & Bellona, Small Malaita, Ranogga/Simbo, East Are Are, Savo/Russell, Ngella, Maringe/Kokota, Central Honiara, Marovo, Hograno/Kia/Havulei, North Guadalcanal, West Kwaio and North West Guadalcanal.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Mr Speaker: Since today is taken up by official Government business, I with the honorable Prime Minister do not object by starting off with questions and to continue our debate and conclusion of the sine die motion.
Question No. 30 withdrawn
KWANAIRARA to the Minister for
National Reconciliation & Peace: Can
the Minister inform this Parliament of his Ministry’s plans for national reconciliation
between Malaita and
Hon IDURI: Mr Speaker, reconciliations are meant to be meaningful in order to build and rebuild broken and shattered human relations. Reconciliation process therefore could take a long time before it can be fully realized. Further, it cannot be imposed that is a very critical strategy to achieving positive outcomes of feelings.
Mr Speaker, the government recognizes that the peace process would be incomplete without reconciliation between the two provinces directly involved in this conflict. Based on important consultations through national summits made by the Department in 2005, and ongoing consultations, it is encouraging to note that both provinces see the importance of provincial reconciliation. While this is so, however, at this stage, there are a number of critical issues, some outstanding that needs to be addressed before a meaningful reconciliation can take place between the two provinces.
Consequently, the Ministry of National Unity, Reconciliation & Peace’s plan is to encourage continued dialogue and talking through issues between both provinces through the Premiers and Executives in firstly establishing divergent issues and looking at ways of addressing these issues. This will form the basis for a detailed work program and plan that would map the way forward towards a national reconciliation.
Mr Taneko: In the previous government, I was the Minister for Peace and Reconciliation. Much consultation has been done through the Peace Council and the office itself. I know that much has been allocated. I just want to ask the Minister, what are the measures taken now after the report has been submitted to the Ministry? It is very important, and the reality is to bring these two provinces for reconciliation?
Hon Iduri: What report is the honorable Member referring to?
Mr Speaker: Could you explain what report you are referring to?
Mr Taneko: The National Peace Council Body was appointed by the Cabinet to support the Ministry. You can see two animals working together to bring about the reality of reconciliation. Much has been spent.
During my time in the previous government, consultations were made and I know there is a report made by your office for the two to come together to make a national reconciliation of these two provinces. What are the measures now and where are we now?
Hon Sogavare: Sir, reconciliation is a very important program that this Government would like to take on. In fact we made it very clear in the policy that it is a strategy to achieve long term peace.
We would like to avoid a situation where we pluck out reconciliation from the comprehensive approach to address peace. As experienced way back in 1997 when reconciliation was done without addressing the issues that will ensure that reconciliation is sustained, we found out at that time that it did not hold.
We would like to address it holistically, thus as
outlined by his Excellency in the Speech from Throne, we would like to address
the whole issue of peace holistically. This
would involve three Commissions - the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the
Commission of Inquiry into the 18th April Riot and of course the Inquiry
on the land issue in
While we appreciate that reconciliations is a very important program, we find that it is an end result of a series of actions - it is an end product of a process. We feel that those three Commissions would be able to bring out the issues that we need to address and once we appreciated the issues that we need to address then reconciliation will have a meaning.
That does not mean, Mr Speaker, that if there is need to pull out the reconciliation program ahead, we must make sure that it fits into the whole program so that once reconciliation is addressed in isolation, it must fit in eventually to the whole peace process. We are taking this issue very sensitively. We do not want to address it only to find out that it does not hold.
I would like to know whether the government has
received a copy of the reconciliation book I referred to as the Province would
like to see community to community and ward to ward, Marau to Guadalcanal
people and so as Malaita and Guadalcanal reconciliations. This is a concern to the
Hon Iduri: I did not quite catch the question.
Mr Speaker: What particular book are you referring to honorable Member?
Mr Koli: I am
referring to a report formulated by a committee from within
Hon Iduri: The report of the summit at Balasuna was forwarded to Cabinet already, and this is what would happen. A Government committee will be formed to look at the recommendations as there is need for government input into the report. The government will maintain open dialogue and consultation with the province, and this applies to both provinces.
Mr Kwanairara: Before I thank the Minister, reconciliation is an important step to be taken, and I am happy to say that the government is still processing the reconciliation between our two big provinces. I thank the Minister for his answers.
Motion of sine die
Mr Speaker: Before allowing the debate to continue, I wish to apologize to the Clerk and the honorable Prime Minister for confusing them yesterday. I think they were trying to do the right thing under Standing Orders to ask for an additional day today, but my mind was still in our discussions on the 11th and so it was after the Parliament meeting that I sort of recollect something must have gone amiss, and so I apologize for having to go a long way to arrive at what we are doing today when in fact the Prime Minister and the Clerk were trying to simply use the Standing Orders to move an amendment.
Mr TANEKO: Thank you, Mr Speaker, for allowing me the floor of Parliament to contribute to this very important sine die motion. Sir, I would like to thank you too for wonderfully and professionally manning of the administration and also the Clerk and Staff of Parliament Meeting.
Mr Speaker, I too would like to join
other colleague Members who have spoken already, first by thanking His
Excellency the Governor General for his speech from the Throne on
· the ‘new political directions’, to take the nation forward;
· The ‘pressing issues’, facing our people and the nation;
· The ‘identified prospects’ that would help our people and the nation to achieve national prosperity.
Mr Speaker, truly a new political direction with a strong mission and vision will fulfill the mechanisms with the government policy change, and that is the new mindset, may I add.
Sir, since the independence of our country,
Mr Speaker, the bottom up approach or the new revelation of doing things is not a magic system of government policy. Indirectly what it is saying is let us be partners in development to produce more of our own resources. Such policy will discourage urban drift which the nation is currently experiencing now.
You can see, Mr Speaker, our youths, the drop-outs in Form 5 and Form 6, is a problem we have. If the mission is right let us complete the mission so that we can change the nation from where it is now by creating job opportunities in their own constituencies. That will be good.
Sir, our people are living on subsistence farming everyday of their lives, therefore, an increase in rural development program, hence people in the village participate more in economic growth and for sure their standard of living will improve. Much has been said but I believe less had been done, and this is the problem we have in the country. The Bible says that ‘faith without action is death’.
We can talk about the bottom up approach as doing this
and that but if we do not give them money or create job opportunities, to buy
trochus, bech-de-mer and timber, the bottom up approach will be just another
name. The Bible tells us to put things
into action. It is a vision for someone
to implement that vision. I am glad the
government is bringing new solid revelations for the nation of
Mr Speaker, I was one of the Members of the last government who recommended the bottom up approach for our people. The current Minister for Finance was our chairman then. So let us do it my government and people. I thank you for putting that policy in place and I look forward to the reality and the implementation or the action of that policy. We will be happy. I am happy and I support you. But let us put it into action and reality, and give us the commodity named ‘money’ so that we can implement that policy. (Everyone is smiling at me).
Our people in the constituencies are looking to you to deliver the wonderful blessing - the bottom up approach in reality and practicality.
One issue at this point in time is that my people in the Shortlands Constituency are making complaints about the sea cucumber. Is the Minister for Fisheries here? I hope he is listening to me and I hope he opens his ears.
sea cucumber (beche-de-mer), Mr Speaker, is one of the marine products that
generates money to this nation,
Mr Speaker, I want my good friend, the Minister for Fisheries to lift the ban on the sea cucumber because it is now high time for our rural dwellers to harvest this marine product. It is almost Christmas time and so the ban must be lifted and you will see us bring tons and tons of marine products next month. This is reality, my good friend, the Minister for Fisheries. Let us make this a Christmas gift to our people. They will be waiting for honorable Taneko to bring them a bag of money. No, let them do the work of diving this marine product and give to you.
Why not buying all those marine products and have a special warehouse for them and the Solomon Islands Government, this government can export them? We are complaining about development in our country. I do not want to mention this as you can read between the lines.
I want to ask the Minister for Fisheries to open up a big warehouse and we will bring all the marine resources to you and you do the export, provide Customs clearance. All your people are just there to promote this wonderful investment.
I am ready, Mr Speaker, I am ready and my people are also ready. They are waiting for tones and tones of bechedemer to bring to you. Do you know the problem, Mr Speaker, of this bechedemer? The more they grow bigger they will die and when they die they can kill other fishes. I am not a scientist but we can see it happen. You are talking about a science lab here
Let us be happy and harvest this marine product, a God given product. This is a finished product. You do not have to look after them as they naturally grow and bred by the Almighty supreme power of God. Yet you are still in doubt and say this nation is poor. The answer is that this nation is not poor. I am a believer in God.
I want to put Hansard records right today that some speakers did not agree to the Scripture mentioned in here. Mr Speaker, there are no other words that are better than the Scriptures. God is the supreme Almighty power. Those people who are against the Scriptures are against the Almighty God, and they will never come back into this House.
I am happy that the vote of no confidence has been won by my good Prime Minister, my wantok. Even though I voted against him I still love him.
Mr Speaker, did you know when the election time was near I met you and we discussed things on what leadership is all about. I told the Prime Minister that I am not going to support him because of so and so. Is that right, Mr Prime Minister? It is good that we are open to each other. I am being honest with him by telling him the truth. I told my wantok that I would like to give him power but it is not yet time.
Hey, it seems that every Member is sad but we are just one in here and we are the ones who are supposed to build this legislature into a professional, reality and practical body in order for our nation to change.
Mr Speaker, I am not supposed to debate this motion, but I thank the Prime Minister for extending the sine die for today because when I went back home last night I could not go to sleep. I said Lord give me all the revelations so that I will make these people happy before they go back today because they are Members of Parliament. We are the vessels and instruments to be used in this House of Parliament. Empty your pockets and you will be blessed. Hey oloketa!
I am glad and I am happy. We have to have joy in us because the nation is listening. We are not bad Members of Parliament. We have been mandated by our people because they see the glory in us. What sort of glory can be sad? Be happy! Bring more money to our people because the rural people empowered and mandated us to change this nation. They are our laborers. But we are not. We are top up, air-conditioned offices, we eat chicken, we party and we do all sorts of things and forget the people who gave us the power. We do not own the power, it was given to us and we are for the people.
Mr Speaker, I am asking the Minister for Fisheries to please uplift the ban on bechedemer and we will bring in of bechedemer. You will see us bringing in tons and tons of this commodity within a month if it is lifted. Please, Minister for Fisheries, I am asking and appealing to you, on behalf of my people of Shortlands and the nation as a whole to lift this ban.
There is also one thing on the harvesting part of it. We in Shortlands do not use scuba diving equipments and nets that other outlying islands used for harvesting. You have to analyze how we harvest. We just harvest enough so that there is sustainability and harvesting continues. Do not penalize us with the other islands. Thank you Minister for Fisheries who is listening and I know he is going to lift the ban so that we can generate income for this nation and our people as a whole.
Mr Speaker, it has been banned for more than a year and so with the support of this Parliament Meeting, I want my good friend, the Minister for Fisheries and his officers to seriously look into this issue to lift the ban as a Christmas present to my people and the nation as a whole. This is the applicable time as Christmas is at your door step. Is this true? We do not want our people to expect too much from their MPs or expect their MPs to bring them handfuls of money. No, let them work to find their own money so that they are happy.
Mr Speaker, another issue I want to raise is the tertiary scholarship program submitted through a report. I am sure some of you have read it. I glanced through it and according to the special Audit Report on the affairs of the Ministry of Education & Human Resources Development, and the Ministry has no approved guidelines for the selection, approval and ongoing monitoring of tertiary scholarships which leads to subjective and inappropriate practices.
Sir, also according to the report, in 1994 the criteria and conditions for awarding scholarships to pre-service and in-service training were developed by the Ministry, however, have never been formalized and are not currently used according to the NTC Director’. That is what the report is saying. Sir, no wonder the students are not selected according to merit.
Mr Speaker, I ask the Minister concern to seriously look into this issue otherwise some of the fellow students will be left out because of unethical practices in the Ministry. I would like to give you an example. My own son has a pilot license (PPF) and so puts his submission to the Ministry seeking support for any scholarship to complete his commercial license study (CPL). There was no acknowledgement at all from the Ministry to my son’s application.
My son is your pilot, Mr Speaker. They are the young generations of tomorrow
and so help them. If there is money
available help them. We have to go
through proper channels but if we do not get it then we cannot say anything. With this report, I want to see some positive
action taken. Thank you Minister, you
are listening and I am sure you will take note of this matter so that someone
can become a future
Mr Speaker, another issue being raised during this meeting
is ‘ethical leadership’. This is a
message to all of us in this Chamber. My
people in my constituency have not received their RCDF because of the unethical
practice by the MP of
Sir, under section 90(1) of the Solomon Islands Constitution, my good friend is not showing quality leadership. He is personalizing the issue on the government accommodation which I am living in at the moment. Sir, his actions shown in this chamber by throwing all his papers on the floor is evidence of his unethical leadership behavior when talking on the issue in this Chamber. But I have good news for him. I forgave him for what he has done on behalf of my people. I forgave him for what he did and we reconciled yesterday. The MP for Rendova/Tetepari was there to witness the reconciliation and I thank him for making us to reconcile yesterday. This is what leadership is all about. Every word we say in here remains in here because when we get out we are friends and brothers again. We must be enemies to none and friends to all. Thank you, Mr Prime Minister.
The Leader of the Opposition moved the motion of no confidence for a good purpose. He was just checking up the boat otherwise your crews jump out before the boat berths at the wharf. So thank you for checking the crews and this is making sure that you have the right tools otherwise this side of the House is ready to be your crews. We are getting closer to the Christmas season and so be happy. We support you and we will help you in prayer and I am sure the nation is also praying for you. That is what unity in leadership is all about.
tell the Prime Minister that what we are showing to the world as our leadership
style is more. We are special. I say this because we argue in here, we
exchange heated words in here but when we get out we embrace each other. That is what makes us special compared to
other nations of the world. Let us show
the world that we are number one parliamentarians in
Thank you, thank you everyone.
Mr Speaker, when I came in we have the Parliamentary Entitlement Regulation 2000 and now we have a new one, which is the PER 2006. Section 32(1)&(2) of the PER is no longer in use. Why? This is because there is no rest house. But it is sad to see this very important House not budgeted for in the 2006 Appropriation Bill. I hope this will be included in next year’s budget so that the Parliament Rest House is repaired so that some of us who do not own a house in town could be accommodate in the Rest House.
I am sure the government of the day will take note of this seriously to make sure allocation of funds for Rest House in the next budget. I am sure the government of the day, the Prime Minister is listening as well as the Clerk of the National Parliament to please look after us. We are Members of the National Parliament. I am a Member being mandated to represent my people to be their leader. I believe I am the government, I am the president or whatever you may want to call it for Shortlands, and that is why my people voted me to be their leader – a leader whom they trust will lead them in right ways.
Mr Speaker, who is responsible for this issue? But I would like to assure my Minister of Provincial Government that in two weeks time he can come in to occupy the house because we have reconciled according to custom. He must come in because I am going to move out of the house.
Sir, I did appreciate our discussions yesterday and understood each other on how best to address the issue. As I have said earlier, I thank the Member of Rendova/Tetepare and others who organized us to reconcile. The Minister is not here but I am sure he is listening on his radio so that he releases the RCDF because people are waiting for their RCDF.
Sir, I also thank him for the wise actions shown to me
yesterday. It is a miracle. But I for one as a parliamentarian do not
personalize things and so it is good to see leaders practicing ethical
leadership although it is hard. Let us
put aside our differences and let us rule and reign our people for the
betterment of this nation,
Mr Speaker, before I resume my seat I would like to congratulate the Prime Minister, the Ministers and backbenchers for their victory in winning the vote of no confidence on the Prime Minister. We are here to support you and will also criticize you but criticisms give you strength so that you know exactly what you are doing. It is good according to our custom.
Sir, lastly I would like to send my special Christmas greetings on behalf of my people of Shortlands to his Excellency, the Governor General and his good wife and their children, yourself, Sir, and your wife and children, the Clerk of National Parliament and her family, a merry Christmas and a happy prosperous New Year. It is day that will bring us blessings.
Sir, special Christmas greetings as well goes to my Prime Minister who must celebrate the victory of winning the vote of no confidence on him by the Leader of Opposition. We greet you and bless you. You are the Prime Minister of this side of the House as well. Sometimes we argue and say whatever we want to say in here but it does not mean we do not like you. We are true leaders because after all that is said in here we continue to support you. This is a test and trying times for all of us in this world. As 1 John 2:16,17 says, ‘If the love of the world is in us, the love of the Father is not in us’. So let the love of the Father inside us and shine out so that we can continue our good leadership because we are being mandated by our people to be models and to be lighthouses as Psalm 119 says. This is a big challenge to us.
To my fellow Ministers of the Crown, Members of Parliament and your families, a merry Christmas to you all and may this Christmas season bring joyful celebrations to us all as we celebrate the birth of Jesus in our constituencies.
To my fellow people of Shortlands,
the Shortlands good governance, rehabilitation peace and unity that is the
government of the day of
Not forgetting my Commissioner of
Police, the Commissioner of Prison Service of the Royal SI Police Force, your executive
and Staffs, wishing you a happy celebration this Christmas and a prosperous New
Year. Keep up the good morale of your
good work in rebuilding the Solomon Islands Police Force in our country. Our nation needs you as its security. This is a very important message to the
Commissioners and our Police Officers of the nation. When we see you in the streets and anywhere
I do not forget the Church Leaders, the Private Sectors, the RAMSI Coordinator and Chiefs. Continue on with your good work in your contribution towards rebuilding of our nation.
Mr Speaker, this are my very brief remarks
to this sine die motion. May God bless
Mr FONO: Thank you, Mr Speaker, for allowing the floor to the Leader of Opposition and MP for Central Kwara’ae to contribute to this motion of sine die moved by the honorable Prime Minister.
At the outset, I would like to thank the Prime Minister too his understanding for making further amendment to the motion so that it gives enough time to all Members of Parliament to say something relating to the meeting as well as express their Christmas greetings as we understand this is the only meeting before the end of this year. I thank the Prime Minister for that understanding.
Sir, for a start, I would like to thank the God Almighty who is the sovereign God that we worship and we thank Him for sustaining our lives regardless of our weaknesses and shortcomings. We do accept that God is still on the Throne and He remembers His very own. And we Solomon Islanders are His people because we claim this is a Christian country and so we thank God for that sustainability of giving life to us so that continue to live and serve His people in our role as leaders of this nation.
Sir, this morning I am going to be brief because I have given yesterday to others especially the new Members of Parliament to contribute, and therefore I leave it to the last day. Unfortunately there was not enough time last night and so it is good that today is given for us to continue debate this motion.
I will be brief raising only observations of this Parliament Meeting, the Second Meeting of the first Session on matters of importance that we have discussed and finally to give vote of thanks to those I can think of.
Sir, as we all know this Meeting is very short (only two weeks) with only two bills and of course the Speech from the Throne. Sir, my disappointment is that a number of important reports which Parliament should have debated to fulfill its oversight role of looking at reports or the performances of statutory bodies or important Government departments as to how they implement government policies were not considered. Parliament did not have time to exercise its parliamentary oversight role, and so I was disappointed about that.
I strongly urge the government to look at these very important reports in the next meeting of Parliament. I for one would really want us to debate the National Provident Fund. Being a member of that Fund, Parliament should scrutinize the operations of the Fund on whether or not it is serving its members.
Mr Speaker, I moved three private motions in 2001 upon which I conveyed to the Management of the Fund to look at amending the NPF legislation to serve the interest of its members. I really want the Minister of Finance to bring in those amendments in the next meeting because I understand there is a review currently done on the NPF Act. I really want Parliament to debate the NPF especially the housing loan component which members are now seeing as not serving their interest. Over the past years, Mr Speaker, we are seeing a lot of members’ houses being sold in the market because of non affordable of meeting the very high cost of loan repayment.
Sir, I as a member of the NPF asked for a reprint of my housing loan and I was really surprised to see how the interest rate was calculated. For example, my loan totals up to $110,000, and over a period of 12 years I repaid $208,000 and yet the principal balance still stands at $94,000. Why? I am surprised and I am not really happy about this. This is one of the reasons why a lot of members’ investments have now forfeited their.
I am saddened about this because these people are
Solomon Islanders who have put in a lot of effort constructing their houses in
urban centres like
I am asking the government through the Minister of Finance to re-look at the way interest is calculated on the NPF housing loan component so that members (Solomon Islanders) benefit from this social security service that NPF is giving. This is an example where I see the oversight role of Parliament as very important.
Furthermore, Mr Speaker, the various reports that were already tabled in Parliament by your good-self should have been looked at. The Parliament should have time during this meeting to scrutinize and look at the operations of the government. Further delays will only make those reports untimely because in any management timely reporting is very important to look at and recommend ways to improve government performances.
Sir, also at this Meeting we have the privilege and honor to have His Excellency the Governor General address Parliament and the nation through the speech of the Throne that is provided for under the Standing Orders. I wish to thank His Excellency the Governor General for making that address. In fact during my term in Parliament this is the only second address from the Governor General that Parliament is debating. One was during the reign of the SIAC Government. I congratulate the Prime Minister for seeing it fit in asking His Excellency the Governor General to come and make that address. Mr Speaker, I did not have the opportunity to debate that speech because I know a lot of issues in the Speech have been raised by colleague Members of Parliament.
Mr Speaker, also during this Meeting
of Parliament the Moti Saga became a reality this week when we heard him being
Sir, I have had several phone calls from certain statesmen in our nation questioning the actions that are taking place now and why the government is very protective of this appointment. There must be something behind it. Some of these statesmen who phoned me up are asking that if investigations are to be carried out, the Prime Minister and his Minister of Foreign Affairs should step aside so that proper investigation is carried out. We might belittle this incident but it is very serious as it reflects badly on the sovereignty that we talked so much about. This is having no care attitude to the laws of this land.
Mr Speaker, this is a very serious offence that
investigations must be carried out both here and in
Mr Speaker, the third observation at
this current meeting is the Prime Minister’s outburst when introducing this
motion of sine die against
Mr Speaker, whilst I accept that
call, I see it as very unnecessary. I just
cannot see the issue of sovereignty in this.
It is not only
Sir, I used to be Minister of National Planning and Aid Coordination under two governments and I have also had similar calls, not only here in Parliament but in international meetings, for donors to readjust their aid programs. Much of aid donors as we all know, only technical assistance has a big component.
Mr Speaker, but that is a global trend not only for
My belief is that as long as aid programs target our infrastructures because as a developing country we lack infrastructure, we will still rely on aid assistance. If we put an end to aid assistance, government revenue just cannot warrant the building of infrastructures.
Sir, try and stop aid assistance and we will see the
I was even campaigned against this issue of aid dependency in my constituency in the recent election. My explanation, which I want this Chamber and the nation to know is that our economic base is narrow, we only have a few industries or businesses that contribute local revenue to the government and so government revenue is not in a position to meet social services, the recurrent budget and the development budget. We need some more Gold Ridge projects and we need some more GPPOL. We need more of those kinds of industries. We need to open up more of our resources so that government revenue increases so that it can meet the development budget that we wanted for the infrastructures.
As we always say, being an island
country with major groups of islands, building of infrastructures is a very big
challenge for the government to address.
Mr Speaker, unless we broaden our economic base we will not get out of this aid dependency. Otherwise it is a global trend because a number of developing countries are still dependent on aid assistance.
Mr Speaker, aid is not given to us so that we are going to spend in on our personal family. No, it comes for infrastructure projects. It is for development projects that helps our people’s livelihood.
My people of Central Kwara’ae have seen that without the support of development partners there would not have been double storey classroom buildings in our constituency. The Minister for Education is aware that out of 12 schools, nine schools were built with the support of donors plus my RCDF which caters for double storey classrooms for the education of children in my constituency.
Sir, I therefore see the outburst or sentiments expressed by the Prime Minister as not warranted. We need to do it on a diplomatic level so that we continue to gage the support and cooperation of our development partners.
Mr Speaker, the other issue that was much talked about during this meeting of Parliament is the bottom-up approach as rural development strategy focus. As I have said, this is not new. Even during your time, Sir, we were fortunate to have roads built on Malaita and even right after independence. The roads are there. Isn’t that rural focused? That is rural focused!
Infrastructures were built, however, it was only after independence and upwards that these infrastructures were not properly maintained. We can only maintained these infrastructures with assistance from donors. This should give us a lesson for the government to include funds in its recurrent budget to maintain rural infrastructures.
Mr Speaker, the thing that does not really come out from the bottom up approach advocated by the government now is whether it would be aid driven or private sector driven. We know that aid driven rural focus might not be sustainable. I can see private sector driven as sustainable in the long run. Therefore, the government needs to encourage the private sector to play a much bigger role in its rural development strategy. I see this as very important.
Sir, I said this is not a new concept to me because since entering Parliament in 1997, I am now implementing a third constituency development plan of 2006 to 2010. I based my plan on four years just similar to national planning that you used to do in the past under your leadership as well as other leaders in the past.
Constituency plans are very important. I want to challenge all of us to come up with constituency plans and use the assistances that we have to focus on social services that would improve our people’s livelihood. For example, in my Constituency plan under the education sector, I have 12 schools earmarked to be built. Six of them are now community high schools. My aim is to get all the 12 schools to community high school level so that they cater for the growing population in the constituency.
Also under the education sector, there are villages or communities that are quite big and their distances are far and so there is need to create a kindergarten or satellite schools. That is what I have been implementing.
Under the agriculture sector, we encourage cash crops like cocoa because cocoa is of competitive advantage on Malaita. Malaita is producing quite a lot of cocoa for export. Why? It is because it empowers our people to get cash at their road side by doing trading. Cocoa buyers come and they do trading with them and they give money to the rural people. That is rural development focus.
Mr Speaker, during the last term of Parliament,
more than two hundred farmers in my electorate prepared an average of 50
hectares of pastoral land for cattle.
Why are we importing cattle (beef) from
Being a Minister of the last government I know that $10 million was allocated under this year’s budget from the Republic of China. Where is that money, Minister of Planning? Have you used it in different projects? We are importing a lot of beef products from overseas. Why can’t we look at import substitution so as to save our foreign exchange? This is supposed to be the target of the government. The Minister for Commerce should be here to listen to what I am saying.
At the moment, Mr Speaker, my constituency is
supplying beef and pork to
We also have a credit union that was set up by people of
Sir, I am happy with this bottom up approach and rural development strategy but it has to be driven by the private sector. The government needs to create conducive environments for the private sector to grow. We have quite a number of exporters in the cocoa business, and I would like congratulate and thank all cocoa exporters and producers for the World Cocoa Day that was celebrated yesterday. CEMA reports revealed that cocoa and copra has brought to the economy more than $60 or $70 million last year. Mr Speaker, I would like to thank and congratulate all producers for achieving that result.
The rural development approach we are talking so much about has to be in two forms, which are empowering our people for income generating and social services targeting the livelihoods of our people. We need improved infrastructures, we need improved social housing, we need improved water supply and sanitation for our people in the rural areas. Therefore, I was looking very much forward to any guideline policies on the Millennium Development Fund. Parliament meeting will end today but I have yet to see any guidelines in the pigeonholes.
Mr Speaker, is the Minister for Finance or Planning going to give us any guidelines on the Millennium Fund so that we know how to use this money?
Whilst on that note, Mr Speaker, I would like the government to review the policy to look at the criteria of population. Mr Speaker, the population of Central Kwara’ae is more than 20,000 people. What is the justification when I receive the same amount as other constituencies that have only about 2,000, 3,000 or 4,000 people? There is no justification. I humbly call on my good government to re-look at the criteria that allocation of rural development funds are based on so that there is equity given to our people.
Mr Speaker, my fifth observation is that the vote of no confidence that was defeated is not personal. I at this juncture would like to say that if the Prime Minister or Ministers have any bad feelings against me on the speech introducing the motion, please accept my sincere apologies. As leaders, Mr Speaker, we should be mature enough in our leadership. We talk on issues, issues of importance to the nation, and should not take is as personal.
Because my good friend, the Prime Minister takes up that post, I use the decisions he made on issues as a prime minister that I was trying to highlight to the nation, and by doing that we have achieved our aim. Although the motion was defeated we achieved our aim in trying to tell the government to take stock of decisions it has made in the past and for the nation to know that some of the decisions the government has taken has embarrassed us and therefore there is need for the government to re-look at some of these decisions.
Mr Speaker, I wish to also thank the nation and those who have supported that motion for their understanding. I rule out the notion that the motion does not have public support. I deny it because there are quite a lot of statesmen ringing me up expressing their support, although the government or Ministers do not realize the direction we are going.
Mr Speaker, I thank the supporters who expressed their support of the motion. Thank you for your understanding. Thank you for not resorting to violence. Thank you for your tolerance. The motion of no confidence is a democrat process that Parliament is mandated to do.
Mr Speaker, it is now up to the Prime Minister and his good government to readjust and work together. In fact Mr Speaker, the MOU that was referred to by the Prime Minister was drawn up by none other than certain party executives in the Coalition because they know that something is wrong within the government. Certain Ministers were ready to resign but then withdrew their decisions. This clearly shows there is something wrong within the government.
I call on the Ministers who have had that intention to
now concentrate on their ministries and departments and work with the
government and the Prime Minister to iron out things that are still
outstanding. One is, of course, the
diplomatic standoff between
We are now addressing these very things that have come on and are now losing sight of the focus on rural focused policies.
Mr Speaker, I see it as very important for the government to now work together to address outstanding issues that are now making people to look at our nation and question the direction we are going. These are some of my observations on this short meeting that we have had in the last two weeks.
In closing, I would like to express on behalf of my family and people in my constituency, thanks to His Excellency the Governor General and Lady Waena and his family Christmas and wish them a prosperous New Year. We thank him for his leadership in that high office and wish him good health.
Also yourself honourable Speaker and your family, on behalf of my self and my electorate, we wish you all the best and thank you for your able leadership in controlling our meetings for the last two weeks. Mr Speaker I wish you all God’s blessing and a Merry Christmas and prosperous 2007.
To the staff of Parliament and the Clerk, thank you very much for the way you have been able to assist MPs with logistic support during this meeting. Mr Speaker, I would also like to thank the Honorable Prime Minister and his family. As I have said, Mr Prime Minister, if we make statements or comments that may have offended you, please accept our apologies as nothing raised in this Chamber is personal. Mature leadership is needed from all of us, Mr Speaker, that whatever we throw at each other here in Parliament has nothing to do with our personal differences. We are all Solomon Islanders, we are all friends and we continue to serve our people.
Mr Prime Minister, on behalf of myself, my family and my people of Central Kwara’ae, we wish you all God’s blessing in your leadership. We will continue to support and the government in prayer and we wish you a merry Christmas and a prosperous 2007.
Mr Speaker, to Cabinet Ministers and your good families, from myself and my family and people of Central Kwara’ae, we wish you all the blessings that Christmas will bring. We also wish you a prosperous 2007 as well. To all Members of Parliament, and those on this side of the House, I too as your leader wish you all God’s blessing in the remaining months until Christmas. I wish you all God’s blessing during the Christmas seasons and a prosperous 2007.
To the Public Service, those employed to work in the government service, it is my belief that you will continue to render your support to the government to implement government policies to serve our people. I wish you all God’s blessing, a Merry Christmas and a prosperous new year 2007.
To the Coordinator of RAMSI and staff, the Police Force, the Commissioner of Police, the Commissioner of Prisons, I also sincerely thank you for the support and work you are currently doing in maintaining law and order in our country. Without law and order, Mr Speaker, there will be no peace and progress in terms of nation building and economic recovery we are now pursuing. We thank you for your loyalty and support to the government. Continue to enjoy God’s blessing as you serve our people in this nation. On behalf of myself, my family and people of my constituency, we wish you all a merry Christmas and a prosperous 2007.
Mr Speaker, I would also to thank
our development partners, all resident commissioners here in
Sir, I also would like to give a vote of thanks to the private sector, business houses, copra producers, fishermen and all others that continue to drive our economy forward. As we know the private sector is the engine of growth and so the government should continue to support the private sectors so that it continues to flourish and continues to create employment for our people. We thank the private sector and the business houses for your contribution at these trying times n our economic reform and rebuilding of this nation. I wish you all a merry Christmas and a prosperous 2007.
I also do not forget the provincial premiers and
provincial assemblies - agents of the national government. At times, Mr Speaker, I used to think about
the government’s programs in that we would like to strengthen our
constituencies, but what about provincial assemblies. In fact they are legal instruments and the government
must play its role to assist them because they are closer to our people in the
rural areas than the national government.
I would like to thank them for their untiring efforts in providing
services to our people in the rural areas, the nine provinces including the
Honiara City Council - the Mayor and his councilors. We thank you and congratulate you the Mayor
for winning your seat in looking after the
Mr Speaker, to all
Sir, I also acknowledge our traditional leaders, our chiefs who have a silent role to play that although they are not provided for in the budget they continue to perform their role. I would like to encourage the government to look at providing assistance to our chiefs through the Department responsible for culture in next year’s budget in order to empower the chiefs to do the work they are mandated to do, especially in terms of land dispute settlements.
We talk so much about rural development and so land issues need to be settled because development will certainly not take place in the air. That is all the reason why every year I provide, under my RCDF, $20,000 to my House of Chiefs to settle land matters in my constituency. I want to encourage the Government to re-look at this, whoever Minister is responsible for chiefs and traditional leaders.
There is also a concept paper I am working on to look at something like the great Council of Chiefs, and this is in recognition of the important role chiefs are playing. There is selected number of people from the ethnic groups of Malaita and some from other provinces coming together to look at issues of importance in relation to our traditions or cultural norms, and of course settling land disputes in our nation. This concept paper is a very good one that should be distributed to all Members of Parliament to look through, and even look at how relevant it is to our own local areas. Because according to certain sociologists there are 62 social groups within the country. We will look at harmonizing these groups so that their role is recognized by the government.
Mr Speaker, I thank them for their tireless efforts. Some of them are now very old and time is not on their side, and if we do not grasp their wisdom they would be lost and the younger generation would not be in the position to take the wisdom and knowledge that these elderly people have.
Mr Speaker, I also do not forget our non-government organization group, the civil societies, the women’s groups such as the National Council of Women, the various youth groups and sporting organizations throughout the country. I would like to thank you all for your contribution to nation building. Whatever you all are doing all goes towards sustaining of peace in our country. I thank you for your contribution whether small or great. I do recognize and respect the various roles you are performing in helping our people under the various organizations you are working for.
Finally, Mr Speaker, I would like to thank my people of Central Kwara’ae. Sir, as I have said under my structure there are representatives in the congress, which I am hoping to meet after this Parliament to look at how we will budget for the millennium development fund. That is why I am still repeating, where are the guidelines, my good Minister of Planning and Finance? I am asking for guidelines on how we are going to use this Fund. Are will going to use it just like the RCDF or we look at other sectors? How are we going to account for this fund? These are very important considerations so that my Constituency Congress can meet and work out a budget as to how best we will use this fund.
In terms of accountability, Mr Speaker, it is very, very important because I might be the only Member during the last House who has produced a four year report. Sir, I gave you one copy which I think you have looked through. It is very important to be accountable and transparent for whatever government funds that comes into our hands. I therefore would want to call on my people of Central Kwara’ae to be patient. There is a saying that only a shrimp or ‘ura’ when put in the fire immediately turns red.
The government system normally takes time and so despite our great expectations, I call on your patience and tolerance, my good people of Central Kwara’ae. With the big population we have, we cannot satisfy everybody, but at least funds would be available to empower you to involve in income generating projects and look at improving our social services in the constituency. So I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2007 where we will have another three more years of working together to look at enhancing and improving your life in the rural areas.
With these comments and remarks, Mr Speaker, I beg to support the motion.
HON SIKUA: Mr Speaker thank you indeed for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the traditional motion of sine die moved by the Honorable Prime Minister.
At the outset, I would like to thank the Prime Minister for moving the motion of Adjournment yesterday for the House to adjourn sine die today, which gives me this opportunity to take the floor of Parliament or I would have missed the boat altogether.
On behalf of my people of North East Guadalcanal Constituency, I thank you also Mr Speaker, for the very able manner in which you have guided the proceedings in Parliament during this Meeting. Given your vast experience in parliamentary leadership as a former Member of Parliament, a former Prime Minister and indeed the founding father of this nation, I for one have come to expect nothing less of you. On the same vein, Mr Speaker I also wish to convey my sincere gratitude to the Deputy Speaker, the Honorable Member for Savo/Russell.
Of course, Mr Speaker, this success has come about due to the valuable support and assistance of the National Parliament office staff. I also acknowledge and recognize the hard work of the Clerk to Parliament and her staff as well as those from your office.
Mr Speaker, a majority of my honorable colleagues on both sides of the House have already contributed to the motion and I thank them all and those who will be contributing later for their interventions to this motion.
Mr Speaker, belated as it may seem, as I did not have the opportunity to thank His Excellency the Governor General for the Speech from the Throne during the motion moved by the Deputy Prime Minister, I would also like to thank His Excellency the Governor General for delivering a splendid Speech.
Mr Speaker, despite of the fact I was not present personally to savor the delicacies of His Excellency’s actual presentation of the Speech, suffice to say that, my reading of it is sufficient for me to know that it is an apt, appropriate, pertinent and important Speech. By expanding on the fundamental development considerations which aims to improve the lives of all our citizens, the Speech has indeed done justice to the task of conveying to the nation the government’s new policy directions, the pressing issues facing our country and people, and the identified prospects we need to engage ourselves in to achieve national prosperity and healing.
Mr Speaker, I join other colleagues in thanking our Permanent Secretaries and all public officers rank and file for their daily efforts in attending to the business of ensuring that the government’s plans and work programs are implemented accordingly. Those in the private sector - employers and employees alike also deserve our thanks for their valuable and continuing contributions to the economy and nation building, and so I acknowledge and recognize their good efforts.
Mr Speaker, the Churches continue to think and pray for us daily. I thank them very much for their strong support and vigilance. I also recognize and acknowledge the support of Churches to education as they are also education authorities in their own right.
I also wish to thank my constituents of North East Guadalcanal for their understanding and patience so far. I hope to meet all our Executive Committee Members on the 23rd and 24th of October 2006 to discuss our budget and plans for the rest of this year, like the Member for Central Kwara’ae.
Mr Speaker, my people of North East Guadalcanal Constituency fully endorse the policies of the Grand Coalition for Change Government and at the same time feel very encouraged by the aggressive move towards improvement of the rural economy through the bottom up approach. On their behalf I subscribe to the belief that sustainable and equitable development can only be achieved through a bottom up and holistic approach which involves and gives power to village people in the rural areas through suitable rural development strategies.
Mr Speaker, before giving some reasons as to why I support the bottom up approach as a development strategy, perhaps it would be useful to reflect and offer a definition of the term ‘bottom up approach’. I define the ‘bottom up approach’ as a process in which subordinate levels of a hierarchy are authorized by a higher body to take decisions about the use of the organization’s resources, which is not only just money but resources that go with development in rural areas.
In contrast Mr Speaker, those of us who champion grassroots democracy view the ‘top down approach’ as an evil which is a threat to the human spirit everywhere and is a concern to all who love freedom. Mr Speaker, being a land of villages, the destiny of our people and country depends on rural development, for rural development and national development are but two sides of the same coin.
Mr Speaker, some of the popular justifications for the bottom up approach were to attain popular participation as a uniting force as a development tool for efficient decision making and as a form of decolonization. Due to time constraints, Mr Speaker I will only elaborate briefly on the ‘bottom up approach’ as a strategy for rural economic development.
Mr Speaker, I believe that rural economic development goals and objectives would be better achieved by way of the bottom up approach. Development plans and programs are more meaningful when drawn up under this approach rather than the top down approach or those drawn up in the headquarters, which is too often the case in many developing countries like our own. Through the bottom up approach, functions can be decentralized to the rural communities, which allow planners to identify different groups and conditions in these areas and accommodate these differences in their plans and programs. In this sense, proper planning down through the bottom up approach and carried out effectively is expected to boost economic development in the rural areas. Nevertheless, Mr Speaker, this should not obscure the fact that proper economic and development planning for rural development also depends on how well the centre or the central level directs and coordinates local level planning, and therefore, we come back to the guidelines that the Leader of Opposition is always talking about.
Mr Speaker, the majority of our people living in the rural areas remain poor despite the fact that they mostly live with the nation’s riches natural resource - the land. Furthermore, their contribution to development is often limited because they do not possess productive assets. They have very little or no control over the natural resources and limited access to basic economic and social services.
Mr Speaker, to facilitate their involvement in development efforts and to help improve their living standards, the role of the bureaucracies has to change from that of domination to that of supporting the centralized operations via the bottom up approach.
I would go even further to suggest that the political and administrative relations of the central and provincial governments may remain, but the provincial governments and its constituencies should run their own development. This means that the provincial governments and indeed constituencies should be free to find ways of raising their financial capabilities. This should enable them to overcome some of their own development and financial constraints related to establishing and maintaining social infrastructures such as schools, which they cannot afford. Hence, Mr Speaker, the bottom up approach in the sense of more autonomy is thus regarded as a better alternative in rural and national development.
Mr Speaker, it is also believed that this will result in more efficiency, cost effectiveness, reduce operating costs, targets resources better, reduce traveling expenses and time and raises new resources or additional revenue, and in some cases it could result in increased total spending in social services such as education.
Mr Speaker, having spoken about the bottom up approach as the most favored rural development strategy, North East Guadalcanal Constituency has large areas of arable or agricultural opportunity areas that can easily be developed into viable agricultural projects provided adequate financial assistance is provided.
Mr Speaker, on cocoa and copra, there is ample land for new plantations or expansion of existing plantations and that all existing plantations whether private or communally owned in the constituency need replanting and maintenance. Government assistance must go towards rehabilitating these plantations as well as the materials needed for the construction of copra and cocoa driers.
Mr Speaker, oil palm development has been proven to be viable in my constituency as there are two former SIPL plantations in my constituency. Hence this initiative must be encouraged and supported especially in the planned out-growers’ scheme.
Mr Speaker, there is vast potential for eco-tourism in my constituency particularly in the highland area of Paripao Ward where its cool climate and pristine rain forest environment is something that can be admired.
Mr Speaker, we cannot talk about development without the necessary physical infrastructure that must go with it. It is therefore necessary to rehabilitate or put in place new infrastructures such as roads, bridges and communications systems as these will encourage sustainable economic development and will make economic development enhanced.
Mr Speaker, large scale extraction of resources must be approached cautiously especially logging, as a good part of my constituency is flat land of less than 20 feet above sea level.
Mr Speaker, on constitutional reform, the North East Guadalcanal Constituency continues to fully support the move to federal system of governance especially in relation to community or village governance, which means the recognition of the role of chiefs and community leaders. The government in the villages is the chiefs so they must be properly equipped through funding support. Mr Speaker, such governance must also include the preservation of customs and cultures. Educational awareness for the community to assist in the appreciation of their own customs and cultures should be encouraged.
On RAMSI, Mr Speaker, the people of North East Guadalcanal Constituency still strongly support the continuing presence of RAMSI for the foreseeable future to continue to uphold the law and order situation.
Mr Speaker, at this point in time
the rehabilitation of former
Mr Speaker, on the three commissions of inquiry that are yet to be established by the Government, it is in the interest of North East Guadalcanal Constituency, Guadalcanal Province and the country as a whole that the Commission of Inquiry into the April Riots, the Commission of Inquiry into land dealings on Guadalcanal and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission be appointed and allowed to complete their job as soon as possible. These three commissions will indeed go along way towards the enhancement of our national unity and healing.
Mr Speaker, the
Mr Speaker, for the
On the issue of squatters on customary
land outside the
Mr Speaker, as Minister responsible for education and human
resources development, I shall now turn to education at the national
level. Sir, it is important to note that
the future of our country depends on the education of our greatest resource -
our people. Three years ago, a previous
government formally adopted the Education Strategic Plan 2004 – 2006 with the combined
assistance and financial support from our development partners including the
European Union, the New Zealand Government through the auspices of its Agency
for International Development, the Republic of China -
Mr Speaker, the Education Strategic Plan 2004 – 2006 inter-alia maps out the strategies for equitable access to quality basic education for all children in Solomon Islands. It also sought to provide for access for all eligible citizens, community technical vocational and tertiary education that will meet the individual, provincial and national needs for a knowledgeable, skilled, competent and complete work force. The plan also aims at ensuring resources are managed in an efficient, effective and transparent manner.
Mr Speaker, one of the key objectives of the Education Strategic Plan 2004 – 2006 was the development of Provincial Education Action Plans. There have been a number of provincial workshops held during 2005 and 2006 that have been coordinated by my Ministry to elicit feedback on the direction of our education system. Ten provincial education action plans were developed.
Mr Speaker, the ten provincial education action plans outlined the specific actions that need to be taken in each province to meet the broad goals outlined in the Education Strategic Plan 2004 – 2006. These plans identify the key priorities of action in each province in order to improve access to education for all, but especially for the young people of school age and to improve the quality of education that they receive.
I want all colleague Members of Parliament to realize that if you are talking about any education development in your constituencies, you do not go on your own way and forget about the fact that there is already an education action plan for that province. You should consult with your provincial education officers to see what education development has already been earmarked and approved for your particular constituency. Because if you go out of that education action plan from the province then the Ministry of Education will find it very difficult to support that particular education development whether it be primary, early childhood, community high school, senior high school, rural training centre that you are talking about in your constituency. There has to be coordination.
I would like all my colleague Members of Parliament to take cognizance of the fact that there exists a provincial education action plan that articulates all the educational needs for a particular province and indeed for each constituency.
Mr Speaker, on behalf of my officials, I wish to thank all those people, individuals, organizations and stake holders who have contributed to the development of these provincial education action plans.
Mr Speaker, the draft National Education Action Plan 2007
– 2009 is the next step in establishing a firm initial foundation to work
towards the goal of access to universal basic education for all. This national plan is a synthesis of the
provincial plans developed for each of the provinces in
Mr Speaker, the challenges of
ensuring every child in
Mr Speaker, we are particularly
grateful to the European Union, the Government of New Zealand, the Government
of the Republic China -
Mr Speaker, the two key challenges are ensuring there are enough well-trained teachers to deliver quality education and the other one is ensuring adequate facilities to provide education for all young people in the age range from standard one to Form 3. Those are the two key challenges in education at the moment - that of having well-trained qualified teachers and that of providing adequate facilities to provide education for all our children from standard 1 to Form 3. These challenges are compounded when the population growth rate of our young people of school age is accelerating.
Sir, there is much to be done to
improve access and to lift the quality of achievement in our schools and in
post school education provision. All
those involved in education are students, parents, teachers, administrators and
other stakeholders have an important part to play. The extent of improvements needed in education
Mr Speaker, this Government is very
serious in the establishment of the University of the South Pacific Campus in
Mr Speaker, phase two of the USP Campus development will include possible plans for incorporating the Solomon Islands College of Higher Education as a university college in line with the Government’s policies and programs in the education sector. Mr Speaker, our future depends upon the education of our young. We must accept this challenge and meet it.
Mr Speaker, at this juncture I would like to thank all my education officials, rank and file, at the Ministry of Education Headquarters and all the Provincial Education Officers, Technical Advisors and good hardworking and dedicated school teachers for rising to the challenge. I also wish to convey my sincere thanks to all teachers and instructors in all our rural training centres as well as the Director, senior management and all academic and non-academic staff of the Solomon Islands College of Higher Education for their untiring efforts and dedication to deliver life skill training to our people amidst numerous difficulties.
Mr Speaker, I must stress here that the government alone cannot afford to fulfill all education training desires and needs of all Solomon Islanders. In this regard, Mr Speaker I wish to express my profound gratitude to all our parents, guardians, chiefs, women, youth, community and Church leaders, school committees and school boards of management for their continuing participation and partnership with the government to support our schools and the overall development of our education system for the betterment of all our children and nation now and in the future.
To all our children in schools throughout the country and students in various tertiary institutions in country and overseas, Mr Speaker, as we are coming to the end of the academic year, I hope this year has been a meaningful year of worthwhile learning for all of you.
Mr Speaker, may I also take this opportunity to wish all Form 3 students throughout the country who are sitting their final paper, the Social Science paper in their Form 3 National Examination this morning, all the best of luck. I am sure those who have studied hard for all the four papers in this week’s Solomon Islands National Form 3 Examinations would do well in the final results.
Finally, Mr Speaker, on behalf of my
people of North East Guadalcanal Constituency and my family, I wish everyone a
very merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year 2007. May God bless
With these few remarks, I support the motion.
Mr TOZAKA: Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me the floor to join my honourable colleagues to contribute to the amended motion by the honourable Prime Minister.
Sir, I thought last night that I would not have time
to contribute to this motion. But time
has taken its natural course hence my good people of
Sir, I would also like to join my honourble colleagues to observe the courtesies accorded to the respective offices taking part in this Meeting of Parliament. Firstly, I would like to sincerely thank his Excellency the Governor General for delivering the Speech from the Throne. Sir, the advice and encouragement of His Excellency the Governor General to us have been noted with thanks and appreciation.
To you, Sir, I would also like to thank you most sincerely for your excellent, professional and skilful manner upon which you have presided over this meeting. I would like to thank you very much for that. I also thank the Deputy Speaker, the Member for Russell and Savo for his contribution in presiding over the meeting as well. To the Clerk and her administrative team, I also would like to thank you very much for your skilful manner as well in which you facilitate administrative support during this meeting.
To the media group, the SIBC and the Solomon Star and also the overseas media, I thank them for their efficient work in keeping the public well informed of events and proceedings taking place during the meeting.
Sir, I would also like to recognize with thanks and appreciation the Commissioner of Police and the Special Coordinator of RAMSI for security coverage provided to us during this meeting.
Having said this, I would be brief and on the spot with a few comments I would like to make on certain things that I do not cover in my contribution to other motions in this House. But before I do so, Sir, I would also like to once again acknowledge the Honourable Leader of the Opposition for taking upon himself the responsibility of moving the motion of no confidence, which has indeed achieved one of its vital objectives as a watchman in the activities and operation of the government since taking office. Although the second objective was not achieved, the fact that the message has gone across and received by the other side of the House is quite an achievement. And so I would like to congratulate him in that context. I also would like to take this opportunity to thank the Honorable Prime Minister for his descriptive response and reply to the points raised by the honourable Leader of Opposition, which have also been noted with appreciation.
Having said this, I would like to make certain basic comments. As someone from this side of the House assigned to work along my colleague and my very good friend, the Minister of Public Service, I have been commenting on the Public Service in terms of work ethics and cultural aspects for improvement of the Public Service. Let me say from the outset that the regulations and legislations of the Public Service do not worth the ink and paper they are written on, Mr Speaker, if those responsible for their enforcement failed to enforce them. Sir, if public officers break the rules of the government then they must be disciplined appropriately. There is no other way of doing it in the improvement of the Public Service.
Mr Speaker, having said that, I note that officers who have been alleged in the latest abuse of funds of small businesses, and allegations on public officers for some past actions, appropriate disciplinary actions are yet to be taken against them.
Sir, I am interested on the question as to why the Public Service is not functioning effectively and efficiently in implementing government policies. There must be something wrong and that is why they are doing this. Is it a question of salary? Is it a question of culture or is it a question of something else? We have to find out because the answer might not be in the reform program of the public service that is being undertaken.
Sir, in saying this, let me remind the government that there are two distinct forms of conflict in an organization. One is the conflict that takes alert in position and the other is a manifest of position. Workers express the former in an open behaviour such as going on strike showing their opposition to something to the government in implementing government policies? The latter form, which I see as quite dangerous is one that is expressing a behaviour that is not noticeable. For example, workers work slowly or coming to work late or slow attitude.
Sir, this second form of conflict is very clear in its nature by public servants. It would be optimistic to believe that all conflicts can be eliminated but the very effect of their being exposed and discussed adds greatly to the chance of them being successfully resolved. The public service must be flexible and provide adequate communication and coordination mechanism to address these hidden conflicts in the service.
Sir, on the same token I would like to raise the question of improvement in certain key departments as far as job motivation is concerned. These are in small departments such as the Ministry of Finance, Customs, Inland Revenue, Commerce in the Ministry of Commerce, Immigration, Labour, Forestry, Extension Services and middle management and a few levels in these respective departments. Because of their smallness they do not attract much attention in their call for improvement in their conditions of service but they are very important as far as revenue collection is concerned. Therefore, if these small departments suppose if they call for may be an increase of establishment or attention to provide improved training or other welfare services for their staff, they must be given the same treatment just like the big departments. That is the point I want to put across.
Mr Speaker, still on government
organization, when Margaret Thatcher led the Conservative Government in
Sir, we all know that this
particular prime minister was given the name, the ‘Iron Lady’. This reform of Margaret Thatcher in
Sir, my point in making this point
about this particular reform in
Mr Speaker, it is very important that the public service must continue to be neutral and impartial in carrying out the policies of the government. Therefore, the only way I see that government reform can be carried out effectively and efficiently is for the Prime Minister and the Cabinet to give or to accord the full support, unwavering support to a particular person or group to command the reform program of the government. The Cabinet should only be responsible in charting the way or direction. It should just give the policy direction and leave the operational matters to the expertise, to the technocrats, which you have in your discretion.
Sir, on youth and women, I would like to say that the government must consider its position because of the importance attached to these two very important groups of people for the creation of a department directly responsible for these two key organizations. As chairman of the Constitutional Committee of this House, my Committee will be looking at the question of women representation issue in this honorable House.
To the Police, (I can see the
Minister for Police looking at me – I will say good things about him) I must
congratulate the Minister of Police & National Security that having taken
up his office he has seen it fit to attend to the very important welfare needs
of our Police Force. This outstanding
need is police housing. I can understand
from the Speech of the Throne that this staff housing project is going to be
taken care of in the coming development budget of the government. I am looking forward to seeing that and to
support you that. I hope that this
project will not only be for
Sir, still on public service, and perhaps this will be the last one for my friend who is not here with us so that he hears what I have to say on this, but it is on the relationship between Ministers and Permanent Secretaries. Ministers and Permanent should be aware of their collective traditional responsibilities in implementing policies, of which one is to come up with policies and the other one is to implement policies.
There is a common behavior or attitude, which I would like to raise here and this is the remote controllings of ministries and departments by responsible ministers. This attitude or behavior, I think should be stopped. There is no such thing in management terms that someone who is responsible in running the ministries instead of attending work to support his ministry or to support his permanent secretary, the minister is absent. If the minister is not present, how would you expect the permanent secretary, the department or the ministry to operate? How would you expect government policies to be implemented at the time the government wants it if this is happening?
Most of the blame are often put on permanent secretaries and heads of departments but if you were to look at it carefully the attitude of ministers not present in the departments or ministries contribute directly to the weakness in the implementation of government policies.
Sir, responsible ministers are expected to be with their departments at all times unless otherwise to give daily support and to attend the responsibilities in the respective departments for the effective and efficient operation of departments in the implementation of government policies and programs.
On provincial government (my honorable Minister and
good friend is not here) but I would like to bring to the attention of my very
good friend, the Minister that there is complete breakdown in the middle
mechanism of extension services representing all ministries such as
agriculture, fisheries, business and even administration. These services are almost non existent. There is a huge gap between the provinces and
the villages. Those fundamental basic
services that are supposed to be provided through quarterly grants or monthly
grants given from
Sir, why I am spending some time in my speech on the public service is basically because without an efficient, effective and productive public service to implement all the best policies of the government of the day, they would merely be a dream making all of us living in this country in a fool’s paradise.
Sir, that is why it is very important for the media to
come into play here. Our media in this
country is a small dynamic emerging industry, which should be encouraged by the
government. Despite of its smallness and
meager resources they have given the country pride in the establishment and
professional performances in representing
Sir, I encourage the government that it should encourage to keep the public consumption well informative events and where any conflict arises with the government there should be nothing else but open dialogue, open communication to resolve differences. At the end of the day our objective is rebuilding this nation for our people.
Sir, the strength in rebuilding this nation lies squarely in nothing else than in our collective and honest efforts to create a state of interdependency. That is all what it is. It is our unity that is at stake here and therefore we have to rebuild this unity back in almost all levels.
Sir, if we have repeatedly confess ourselves as one people and one country then let us match our words with our actions by doing the most logical thing of helping each other, and that is to share our resources. Be it land, be it manpower and other assistance in the rebuilding of our country, let us do it.
Sir, I have a point here too on national
disaster. Whilst I applaud the good work
of the National Disaster Council here in
Cases of natural disasters have been reported to provincial national disaster councils but they have not been attended to. There seems to be another blockage here with this very important function of the government – an independent statutory organization of the government that also attracts a lot of money from donors to assist our people. This is one area that we have to look at in addressing the needs of our people
Sir, on the same token there is a saying that in every
obstacle there is an opportunity.
Certain inhabitants of the sea have taken advantage of our situation in
starting to disturb to the extreme in actually attacking people in the village. I may sound a little bit of alarm here. In Isabel, as the honorable Member for
Maringe/Kokota said yesterday, birds have taken the opportunity in his
constituency to create problems for them.
Sir, like other speakers have said
about their constituencies, my constituency of
I am also making this point for the
purpose that when ministers ever sight a request in the ministry for project
development submitted on behalf of the North Vella by the Parliament Member
which happens to be me at the moment, may I ask that appropriate attention is
given to the request. I shall be
encouraging visitation to my constituency for honorable ministers, colleague
Members of Parliament, even the Prime Minister to visit
Finally, accordingly my chiefs,
elders and people of
With these comments, Sir, I support the motion.
Sitting suspended for lunch
Sitting resumes and debate on the Sine Motion continues
Mr PACHA: Mr
Speaker, thank you for allowing the MP for
Mr Speaker, first I would like to thank his Excellency for the Speech from the Throne. Amongst the many important things debated during this Meeting, I chose to briefly elaborate on the followings. From the Speech, there was a call to diligently lead our people and nation forward to the harbors of peace, tranquility and prosperity with vision and wisdom.
Sir, Doctor and Father Anthony
Sir, some have been here in this honorable House for more than 20 years. Some 12 years, some 8 years and these are people who have been leading us. I mean these have been our leaders who have led us this far. Therefore, whatever happens to this nation only reflects the way they have been leading us.
Sir, leaders have led us to and
through the so called ‘ethnic tension’ period, for which we say was started by
the people of
Sir, I am a bit concerned about the appointment of the Commissioner of Lands. Why I say this is because the Bible says, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”. I humbly ask the government to take note of this.
Mr Speaker, I am currently doing
some ground work on a reconciliation program for
Sir, another thing I would like to touch on is this ‘direct financial grant to churches based on the one tenth rule. Mr Speaker, the one tenth is already in God’s law. What I mean here is that one tenth already belongs to God. What I am asking here is if a bill is brought up, an additional percentage be made for direct financial grant to churches.
On this note, I would also like to thank churches and church organizations for their contribution in this country. I would like to make special thanks to the following Christian Organizations, and if I can mention them by names like the Bible Society, the Campus Crusade for Christ, the Child Evangelism Fellowship, the Solomon Islands Translation Advisory Group, Scripture Union, Language Recording, SWIM, Derrick Prince and other Christian Organizations that have given help to this country as well.
Mr Speaker, the other thing that I
would like to touch on briefly is when I see an allocation of more than half a
million dollars for the Ontong Java Disaster Appeal, it raises a question as to
why only Ontong Java. Why not
Sir, I also would like to ask the government to quickly
sort out the situation between
Mr Speaker, even though I heard that
this situation will not affect
Sir, therefore, the kind of response we are getting on
this situation is difficult for me to believe. I ask the government to quickly
sort out this problem between
Mr Speaker, as there are other speakers who would like to contribute to this motion of sine die, I do not want to take too much of your time, but in conclusion I must not forget to thank the quality of leadership you displayed in this House, Mr Speaker. I would like to extend my thanks to the Clerk and the staff of the Parliament Office for their hard work.
Mr Speaker, may I on behalf of the
Mr KOLI: Mr Speaker, I rise to contribute to this traditional motion that not only confines MPs to one particular or specific topic but has given us the chance to openly express ourselves.
Sir, I would like to thank the Prime Minister for moving the motion of sine die. Mr Speaker, I too on behalf of the people of East Guadalcanal Constituency would like to thank His Excellency the Governor General for the speech from the Throne, in his opening remarks for this meeting. Mr Speaker, a lot of things have been said and expressed in his opening remarks, but I would like to sum it up this way. ‘Pulling apart we get nowhere and let us not tug of war for political gain. Together we work better in spirit and vision achieving our goals with high productivity.
Sir, I would also like to thank you for the manner in which you have chaired the daily sittings of parliament proceedings.
Mr Speaker, illegal squattering on
customary land on the outskirts of
Mr Speaker, so much has been said in regards to the bottom up approach and development. We are creating high expectations for our people just for the sake of saying it. Are we saying really means creating genuine development for our people to appreciate?
Mr Speaker, I can see the bottom up approach as the right approach. The economic base should be well funded with people owning the resources. We want to see and implement programs that are tangible and programs that people could feel and touch and have an end result of that kind of achievement.
Mr Speaker, I would like to thank
AusAID for the survey of the road from Marau Sound to Kuma. I would like to reiterate what my colleague
Mr Speaker, very often
Mr Speaker, although I thank the AUSAID for survey and funding of the road, I will continue to express my concern that it will not be forthcoming of the situation we have at the moment.
Mr Speaker, I would like to also thank the Soroptimist (International) for seeing it fit to fund and build one development centre for women in each of the nine provinces throughout this country. This funding will bring all women together in respective provinces. This will harmonize their relationship with provinces under the National Council of Women working together with the Ministry concerned.
Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the Development Services Exchange, the umbrella body of all NGOs in this country. Sir, a recent meeting was held by the Development Services Exchange with all affiliated NGOs to reach out to our people in the rural areas. The NGOs fill in gaps of development where the Central Government cannot provide resources like money and technical expertise to our people. We are looking forward to seeing your field officers to conduct awareness talks in the rural areas. Sir, it is good that the NGOs do work hand in hand with the government. We thank you for implementing your tangible work programs for the rural dwellers.
Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the Ministry of Health & Medical Services for seeing it fit in employing community based rehabilitation officers to work alongside disabled people in the rural areas who are often forgotten members of our communities. The Disable People’s Association of Solomon Islands, the umbrella body of disabled, cannot be isolated without any government support. Thank you for recruiting one community based rehabilitation officer for my constituency. I have a permanent Disable Training Centre which can be used for training of disables in my constituency. Do use the centre to advance your work program.
Mr Speaker, I would like to also thank the Republic of China for its continued support to our constituencies in providing funding such as the RCDF, Micro Project Funding and the Millennium Funding.
Sir, we at the receiving end of these
financial assistances must ensure that funding is injected into projects
beneficial to us. This is not free money
but it is the sweat of tax payers and people of the Republic of China -
Mr Speaker, I am always looking
forward to the time when the
Mr Speaker, before I sit down, I would like to thank you all and a Merry Christmas Greetings to the Governor General and family, yourself, Mr Speaker and your family, the Clerk of Parliament and your staff, all Ministers and your good families, all Members of Parliament, public servants and your families, Church Leaders, Chiefs and all rural dwellers. Sir, I also extend my greetings to all Premiers and their executive members and families. I also wish our people in the nine provinces a Merry Christmas and do enjoy your festive season.
To you my good people of East Guadalcanal Constituency, life is not meant to be easy for all of us. Let us always work hard and aim high in order to achieve our targeted goals. Finally, have a Merry Christmas and enjoy this season’s festivities.
With these few remarks, I support the motion.
Mr NUAIASI: Thank you, Mr Speaker, for allowing me to talk on this important motion. I would be very brief since most of the speakers have touched on a lot of important issues that I would like to speak on.
Mr Speaker, I would like to extend my gratitude and thanks to the Governor General and yourself, Mr Speaker, for your staying with us and being patient with us. I also thank the Clerk to Parliament and her staff for their hard work. I thank the Prime Minister and his Cabinet Ministers, the Leader of Opposition, the Leader of the Independent Group, Members of Parliament and Government Backbenchers. I would also like to thank the Commissioner of Police, RAMSI Personnel, the Royal Solomon Islands Police for looking after us during this meeting ensuring security is provided at all times during this Parliament Meeting.
Mr Speaker, I would also like to further extend my
word of thanks to the community of
Mr Speaker, I would also like to extend my thanks to
all Premiers, their Executives, the Chiefs of all Provinces and the grassroots
Mr Speaker, I will concentrate more now on what I
think is supposed to be for my constituency of West Are Are. My people of West Are Are, as part of the
In saying so, I would like to ask
the Minister for Commerce to take note of the Wairokai Industrial Centre, which
has been an issue of the last governments but has since been kept silent. I need to take this up in Parliament so that
Ministers can look into this, and if possible include this industrial
development in his program of action.
Likewise the southern region is quite far from Auki and
I want the Minister of Health to take note that we must have a hospital in the southern region so that we can receive best medical treatment or medical advice at less cost affordable to people in the southern region or West Are Are for that matter.
Mr Speaker, it is interesting indeed to be in this
Parliament House mandated by my people of West Are Are to represent them for
the next four years until 2010. Sir, it
is very interesting in that policies, laws and regulations that we pass here
would be the instruments to which
Sir, I think let us give it a try so that we see where we will be going or we will see where we need to make changes or we will see where the ineffectiveness is and then go from there to ensure that developments of that nature is happening in Solomon Islands.
There has been a lot of talk about this stand-off in
our foreign relations with
Sir, as I have already said the Speech from the Throne presented by the Governor General is a brief report about government policies and developments. I think it is only reasonable that you give us time to implement the programs outlined in the Speech so that all of us work together to achieve the policies and interest in which we are talking about in this parliament. I for one believe in working together seen in the culture of my constituency that working together makes things easy for us to achieve.
Sir, I would also like to thank the Leader of the Opposition for moving the motion of no confidence. This is a sign of maturity in politics. As a government it should not see this as a negative approach but should learn from it and take into account the good things that it needs to know as stated in the motion of no confidence. Therefore, the motion of no confidence is a wake up call to the government and should not be ignored. However, one would see it at his/her own view and on his/her explanation and on his/her judgment and would then present it otherwise to what he sees the motion is based on. However, to me it is a good sign for the government to learn from there and grow from there in implementing its policies.
Sir, I would now like to extend my well wishes and
Christmas greetings to the Governor General and his family, the Prime Minister
and his family, yourself Mr Speaker and your family, the Leader of the
Opposition and his family, the Leader of Independent and his family, Cabinet
Ministers and their families, Members of Parliament and their families, the
Clerk to Parliament and staff and their families, the chiefs and all people of
Solomon. May this Christmas not only be
a time of celebration for us but the Christmas of the birth of our Lord Jesus
Christ who come to this world in order for us to become one with Christ. Therefore, we must ensure that the
celebrations will help us have a good thinking to be ready for 2007. I wish my people of West Are Are a merry
Christmas and good celebrations during Christmas time. I am going to be with you during the
Christmas festivities and we will be celebrating together. God bless
At the outset, Sir, I first of all would like to thank the Governor General His Excellency for the speech from the throne. That Speech’ clearly highlighted the Grand Coalition of Government of Change wants to and achieve. It is a very ambitious program that is in front of it, and being part of the government I will be with them to the end to ensure the ambitious programs are implemented.
I also would like to take this opportunity to thank your good self, Mr Speaker, for being in that chair all the time. You really won, Sir, because for the last three days parliament meetings were very lengthy, and this is where I say that you really beat a lot of us the younger ones for sitting in that chair for such long hours. But for that, I really thank you and your family. I would also want to thank the Clerk and staff of Parliament for looking after Members of Parliament and their welfare.
Mr Speaker, there are certain issues I would like to raise, but being a government backbencher I do not want to bore you and would only raise them in bullet points. Mr Speaker, the issues I would like to raise is that Parliament and the government has seen it fit to strengthen parliamentary democracy through its various organs and for seeing it fit to strengthen the standing committees. The only downside I see here is that whilst we would like to strengthen these Parliamentary Standing Committees, there is no office accommodation for these committees. I think Members have already raised this concern.
This is a genuine concern that must be taken seriously because unless there are proper office facilities for these standing committees, they will not function properly. Mr Speaker, may be in the near future or maybe in the 2007 budget there is provision to cater for this issue.
Also on the other hand and which has also been raised by other Members of Parliament, the Parliament Rest House needs to be quickly looked into. Whilst it is good for the private sector to provide accommodation to Members of Parliament, I think this important facility for Members must be quickly looked into.
Mr Speaker, there are certain bills
that must be presented to Parliament. The
first one, in my view that needs to be presented is the political parties’
integrity bill. This would, in my view,
Mr Speaker, an organ through which political parties and the political system
The MP for East Are Are, Mr Speaker, as Chairman of the Bills Committee has raised some very valid issues on various reports presented to Parliament. Sir, I fully support him that these reports need to be properly scrutinized by Parliament and be debated. I would definitely make sure that that is the case.
Finally, Mr Speaker, this is just a traditional motion giving opportunity to Members of Parliament to thank you, Mr Speaker, and everybody else who have made this meeting possible. In terms of government moving forward with its bottom up approach policy, there is some confusion and there are some very clear visions by the government.
Mr Speaker, the bottom up approach policy is a new framework in the making. Whilst we have been adopting the conventional approach of presenting budgets to government in terms of policy formulation for the last 27 years, this is going to be a real challenge for the government in terms of really getting the policies to suit the bottom up concept.
Most Members have attended the presentation by the Guadalcanal Plains Oil Limited last night. Mr Speaker, I honestly would like to see another presentation by this Palm Oil Company because the presentation last night whilst short was very interesting. It is interesting in the sense that it embraces the whole concept of the bottom up approach.
Mr Speaker, I honestly would want to see another presentation next year because when we talk about bottom up approach we are talking about ownership, we are talking about participation, we are talking about empowerment, we are talking about creating opportunities, we are talking about families and we are talking about the individual units of families.
Mr Speaker, this is a new concept in corporate
Our focus in terms of introducing the bottom up
approach concept is looking outwards; looking towards development in the
provinces. We are really looking down at
people who own resources. At the moment
the focus is inward where people are coming into
But that said, this issue will be raised with the government
and I am sure there are a lot of good leaders in the government and the
Opposition. This is for this country
Finally, Mr Speaker, I am sorry that we are not able to debate the 2007 budget this year. But I think it is giving the government the opportunity to properly look at the framework of the budget especially with this new thinking that is coming up. Because of that the government is given extension of time and it must not be complacent. The Ministers and officials must pull their resources together so that hopefully by the end of November or early December we should have something in place, and have it presented to Parliament probably in January 2007 because if this is going to be dragged on until April/May it is going to be another unfortunate scenario. As a government backbench I will make sure the budget is not dragged into the first quarter of 2007.
Sir, in closing, I would like to once again thank you
for your leadership in Parliament, the Clerk and staff. To all Members of Parliament who have
contributed to this motion, I would like to thank all of you on behalf of my
family who are in
I would also in closing want to thank all chiefs in my constituency, those who are living on Tetepari, the Chiefs and people of Saikile, all people living in Kalikogu, I take this opportunity to thank you all. I thank you all for your support that you have put on me. Finally to the people of Ugele Moka, Lokuru and Baniata, I take this opportunity to thank you and your families. I wish you all the best in this coming Christmas when I will be with you.
With those remarks, Mr Speaker, I support the motion.
Hon TOSIKA: Mr Speaker, I believe I am going to be the last one to speak. I will be very brief only raising two points because most of the things have been said by Members of Parliament and so I need not repeat the same issues. One of the issues I would like to highlight now is the plea of the displaced people to be revisited and resolved.
Mr Speaker, as you are aware the
ethnic tension stemmed out from the fact that most Malaitans living on
As you can see, Mr Speaker, Malaitan people are
victimized only because of their hard work.
They have been working during the colonial days in
Sir, when the ethnic tension erupted most of these people came back into the city causing them to squatter round the city boundary, which I have heard has become a great concern to Guadalcanal MPs, the Guadalcanal Province and its leaders.
Mr Speaker, when compensation
payment was paid to people who lost their properties during the tension, it was
not fairly paid to people who worked very hard work and have lost their long
time savings. Some of them did not even
receive any compensation payment and these are the very people who are still
living in squatters around
On Saturday last week I spoke with settlers in Burnscreek and I was told that because of the desperate situation they are in at this time the youths engaged in criminal activities such as robbery, rape, theft and so forth as we have read in the newspapers and heard on the radio. I spoke with them and some of them emotionally responded that they were victims of the tension and have never been given any opportunity or a share of the cake when the compensation payment was made. The compensation payment was only paid to leaders and those working in the offices and did not own any property at all but took a bigger part of the payment.
Mr Speaker, this is a security issue and that is why I am raising it in this House. If we do not look into this matter and address it now, there will be much bigger problems in future in terms of lawlessness and insecurity of this nation. This is because these people have been without employment for a long time.
Sir, I am surprised with the policy of some companies
As I have said this is a security issue and it must be
discussed amicably with responsible authorities such as the
I am quite concerned when there was talk of removing
these people from land whom they rightfully obtained through payment of money done
in the traditional custom way. What
about those married to
We are interrelated. We have intermarried and we have blood related
families here in
I am raising this issue because if it is not amicably addressed, it can destroy the fabrics of our society and our nation, and the bottom up approach we are talking about will not be fulfilled because there is enmity among ourselves. I urge the good leaders of this Province to look critically into these issues.
Why not give opportunity to these people to acquire the land and lease the land to these people. Lease the land to these people because it is enough that you have chased them out from your area and now they are living near the town boundary. Give them opportunity to live their lives we are all images of our Creator. Why not give them an opportunity?
My colleague of Small Malaita said that we are not supposed to preach, but I would like to say something. We are only custodians of the land, the forests and the resources that we have. We will all be judged accordingly when we leave this place.
Mr Speaker, the other issue, which I have touched on earlier,
is squatting on town boundaries. If you
look critically and carefully and if there is statistics available, we would
know that only people from Malaita are squatting on town boundaries. About but 60 to 70% of people squatting on
town boundaries are from Malaita and maybe just 2 or 3 percent from other
provinces. Even people who are chased
What I am trying to say here is that this is a security issue and security issue is not only for my Ministry to look into but it is the responsibility of every citizen of this nation. Security begins from oneself and security begins from the household’s point of view. When you sleep you have to close the doors of your house, you do not leave your things outside. That is being security conscious. Security is the concern of everybody and not only for the Police and that is why Police has community policing in place so that we can we all be partakers of security.
With those comments, Mr Speaker, I do not bore but I
would like to finally congratulate His Excellency for delivering the Speech
from the Throne on the 8th Parliament First, Session Second Meeting
I thank your Clerk and her staff for being effective and efficient in the preparation of papers and coordinating the sittings of Parliament. More so I would like to thank the Police Commissioner, my Commissioner for organizing security when Parliament is in session. I also thank RAMSI personnel, Police officers and the Prison Service Superintendent. Mr Speaker I would like to give my sincere greetings to the prisoners and those who are in remand in the prison. As I earlier said in one of my speeches, I am not only looking after the Police Force and the Prison Services, but I am also looking after the prisoners.
I would also like to thank the public servants who have been tirelessly working throughout the years. I ask them to be loyal and honest in their duties so that we can move this nation forward in the years to come. I also thank the Churches for their prayers. I also think of those who are sick in the hospitals.
Finally, I would like to thank the Prime Minister and my colleague Cabinet Ministers for our understanding in defeating the motion of no confidence. We believe with this solidarity we will get this nation forward according to the policies, guidelines and framework that we have put in place.
With these few remarks, Mr Speaker, I support the motion.
Mr TOM: Mr Speaker, thank you for allowing me to contribute to this motion of sine die.
Firstly, Mr Speaker, I would like to return all glory, honor and thanks to God for His divine call for me to represent my own people in this House and every one of us in this Chamber who are called by Him to represent His people in their respective constituencies to be stewards of His properties.
Mr Speaker, I wish to thank the Governor General for presenting the Speech from the Throne which directs and mandates the present government and people of this country to take responsibility over the affairs of our people and nation.
Mr Speaker, I wish to extend my sincere thanks to your, Mr Speaker for your able and admirable style of leadership in controlling and conducting the affairs of the Parliament and ensuring that all of us adhere to the set of rules and procedures governing the affairs of parliamentary proceedings.
Mr Speaker, I wish to thank the Opposition Leader for moving the motion of no confidence. I cite the motion as a fundamental element to shake, test and wake the present government to seriously carry out its responsibility to fulfill and implement the policies it had launched on June this year 2006. It is just like living creation has to go through such shaking and testing in order to grow stronger towards the majority.
Mr Speaker, once again I would like to thank my people of West Kwaio Constituency for their strong support in mandating me to represent them in this Chamber. I also thank them for their welcome and participation during my visitation to the constituency.
Sir, in any particular society what form of government rules there are in place, I believe they are of God’s institution. As one of the founding fathers of politics Mr John Locke puts it, “When men think of themselves as organized with each other they must remember who they are. They do not make themselves. They do not own themselves. They do not dispose of themselves. They are workmanship of God”.
Lest we forget we must know who we are in this House, why we are here in this House and the reasons we are here that we do not put ourselves to become leaders in this House. We do not own ourselves in this House so that we can start dictating whatever rules, policies that looks pleasing in our humanely thinking. As a leader by God’s grace we will be held accountable and responsible before God for the words we speak, the decisions we make and the course of actions we execute. We must remember that we are the workmanship of God and God has put us in charge of his properties, thus the people we represent in our constituencies and the resources attached to them.
Mr Speaker, I would like to stress an important reminder to this House regarding the words we speak. The Government is just like a church and a family. I believe every one of us belongs to a particular church. No one here would say to me he does not have a family. We can build and destroy our family or church with words we speak. Likewise we can build or destroy each other, each one of us or this nation with words.
Sometimes we can say that it is inside Parliament that we can argue and when we go outside it is over. This House is not a place to mess. This is an honourable place. Just think about this institution as similar to a church and a family. In our family, if we throw negative words at each other we can feel the family as not having a good environment and the children too will be affected. It is the same in a church. What about the government? The Government too is an institution established by God. If we read Romans 13:1 we can see what the Bible describes us leaders as like: we are the servants of God. We must know that the discussions and debating that is happening in this Chamber are heard by our people throughout the whole country. Likewise we can build or destroy each one of us or this nation with words we speak. Genesis 1and 2 talks about the creation and the cause of man came into effect through the words of God. Therefore, we are made in the image of God and we are also leaders authorized by God and so our words are very powerful.
Sir, as a leader who carries the responsibility of making, creating and undoing laws and policies of this nation, we need to be cautious of the words we speak in this House because at the end of the day our words will bring the results of what we have spoken. Whether for good or bad, this nation will shape according to the words we speak in this House and what we say in this House is final. This is very important leaders.
Sir, it is only us being listening and taking part in debates, but we have our people whom we represent who also listen and watching every word we speak. For this reason, may I remind my colleagues to be mindful of the words they use on each other and on the nation.
Sir, may I again remind us of the Speech from the Throne by His Excellency, the Governor General, Sir Nathaniel Waena where he stated to “lead is to serve”. May we as leaders of this nation diligently lead our people and nation forward to the harbors of peace, tranquility and prosperity with vision and wisdom?
I would like to pose to the government this important and fundamental institution – the church – that has been left alone to struggle on its own. The church has been an important contributor to our nation’s building. Our churches today do not only teach spiritual values but they have contributed a lot in the areas of education, leadership shaping, instituting moral values and creating harmonious and coexistence with other fellow citizens. The church has been able to resolve many conflicts that exist in our societies, in our communities and our family lives have been built and shaped by the doctrines taught by our churches. Most of us or every one of us in this House today is a product of our churches.
Sir, many areas of government
services such as police stations, clinics, schools, roads and others do not
reach where the churches were able to penetrate. It is common to find in every community in
Yesterday one colleague quoted the Scripture, one side of the coin which says many windows will be opened. But the other side of the coin is that if we do not do it, God says we are robbing him. To rob and to steal are two different things. Stealing happens when no one is there and you run away with somebody else’s money or anything. But robbing is different. The owner is still watching you but you just go ahead and run away with his things. We must know that we cannot hide from God.
Mr Speaker, before I take my seat may I conclude with these words by the wisest man who has ever lived and the professor of life, and a most influential leader in his time. In Proverbs3:5 – 7 it says “Trust in the Lord your God and never lean on your own understanding”. Therefore, may we seek God in the decisions and actions we will execute. Let us not lean on our own understanding but rely on God to help us direct this nation forward. God can help us to become better leaders for this nation when we rely, seek and lean on Him.
Mr Speaker, with those remarks, since this is the last meeting of Parliament this year, may I wish all Members of the Parliament and your families a merry Christmas and an enjoyable New Year.
I also take this opportunity to wish church leaders, chiefs, women and youth leaders and people of my constituency, a merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year 2007.
With these brief remarks, I support the motion.
Winding up of the Sine Die Motion
Hon Sogavare: Mr Speaker, I stand to windup debate on the motion of sine die I moved three days ago. I actually underestimated the number of people who would like to speak on the motion and so it was extended until today to finish the debate.
Sir, I think much have been said by leaders in this honorable House. We are all leaders in our own rights, elected by our people and in that regard we deserve the respect of everyone in this Honorable House. No one is greater and regardless of our ranks in this House, we are elected by our people. Members have spoken and said their bit on the motion, both this side and that side of the House. There were quite a number of good advices given, Mr Speaker, but unfortunately, the system to take account of the things said by the other side of the House is not really there. I guess we need to work out something so that some of the good things said by those on the other side of the House are taken seriously by the government. Of course, we have shadow ministers who are assigned responsibilities by the Leader of Opposition and so I guess the way to go is if the shadow ministers have issues they want the government to take up seriously, please feel free to discuss with substantive ministers.
Sir, I promise not to take three hours again and I will keep my voice very low as well. I think all the hot airs and all the reasons to shout have gone and this is only winding up the motion and so I guess I will keep with the trend. But when it is necessary to make some points I will probably raise my voice.
Sir, I will just acknowledge the words of thanks of expressed to the various organizations and institutions by Members of Parliament, and I do not need to go through them. I think all Members of Parliament have thanked especially everybody in the country, and I would like to join the Members of Parliament by endorsing that. As the leader of this government, I would like to endorse all the words of thanks expressed by Members of Parliament to the various institutions and individuals throughout this country.
Personally, I want to acknowledge and join the others who have acknowledged some people. First of all this country as expressed in this House by many Members of Parliament, is a Christian country. I strongly believe this country is what it is today and continues to be what it is today because of the fact that we are Christians. I make no apologies for making this statement.
Every Sundays and Saturdays Christians we go to church. I know and have actually received letters and phone calls by leaders of churches throughout the country saying that they are on their knees praying for the government. That is a biblical mandatory, a mandate to Christians throughout the country to pray for the God. We have several pastors and I still want to call them pastors and bishops here in Parliament who share that view reminding us in this Parliament that this country is a Christian country and we should act like Christians.
I would also like to acknowledge, Sir, the 27 Members of Parliament who allowed God to work through their hearts and have given me another fresh mandate, another lot of 28. I was talking to the Minister of Peace and Reconciliation and this number is divinely ordained. When he shared his vision with me, I was really touched. This figure 28 was already shown to the Minister of Reconciliation and Peace in the first round. God is still alive, which I believe He is, we still maintain the 28 although with different faces. I think the vote of no confidence also tells me who my real friends are. I do not believe this thinking that that politics is about friends today and enemies tomorrow. I would like to believe that if you are a friend, you are a friend for ever because this is a Christian country.
Sir, the debates become very repetitious. About 95 percent of issues raised in the debates basically are just moaning and groaning about issues the government has already explained on the floor of this Parliament either during question time or during debate proper on the substantive business of the House. But I guess the fact they continue to come demonstrates that Members of Parliament feel probably very strong about those issues, and so I think another round of explanation is in order. So much so that we pick words out of its context and make issue out of them.
Words like ‘alien’, ‘sovereignty’, ‘puppet’ are used. I guess this is because we really have nothing to contribute to the House and so we take them out of context and make issues out of them. And this is by very, very senior politicians of this House. Even when I moved the motion of Sine Die I made the point that politicians have a duty of care to new Members of Parliament in the way we debate and the way we conduct ourselves in this House.
Mr Speaker, Parliament is effectively the highest court of the land whereby Members of Parliament as representatives of their people make submissions on issues they consider important for their people. That is basically what it is. You are the judge, Mr Speaker, sitting there listening to points raised here by Members of Parliament.
I am raising this because there are concerns over us becoming very aggressive in this House. What appears to be a serious break down, for example, in relationship in the House, is normal. In fact this House is very civilized. If you go to some parliaments in other countries, Mr Speaker, question time is basically a mad house affair. They do not answer questions, they just shout at each other. We do not throw shoes at each other in this Parliament. We do not remove our shoes and shoot each other. We do not walk across and fight the other side. We do not, and so this is a very civilized House. We treat each other with respect. In fact we give your Chair, Mr Speaker, the respect it deserves.
What I am saying here is that what appears to others as serious breakdown of manner when shouting at each other in here is just a normal thing, as long as we do not remove our shoes and throw at each other.
I was listening with interest to the point raised by the MP for Shortlands. It is very interesting to see the spirit of cooperation and unity in the way Members of Parliament treat each other as brothers outside of this House.
This is the same in Cabinet. The Cabinet is where members of Cabinet argue, throw books at each other and once a decision is arrived at, that is the decision of Cabinet. Even though one or two might not be in favor of a decision, it becomes the decision of Cabinet and Cabinet stands by it. And when they come to the floor of Parliament, Members of the Cabinet, even if they are not in favor of a decision, they defend it with their life. That is what it is. It is the same in here.
I admire the way we behave here. We argue here, we point fingers at each
other, and we use very strong languages but when we go out, we sit around the
same table. You do not see that
happening in other Parliaments. The
Opposition Members, when they come out of the Chamber, they go to a different
room, they have their own kitchen, their own restaurant and they eat there. The Government side goes to a different place
and they eat there too. I think this
spirit is unique in
Sir, I will say the soft things first. The Government fully appreciates the concerns
raised by Members on the need to quickly normalize our relationship with
As far as the Government is concerned, Mr Speaker, our minds are clear and we have taken positive initiatives to sort out this impasse. I guess it boils down to something and this side of the House will continue to maintain that we demand nothing less than the respect that is rightfully due to this country. I think once we appreciate this, we should not have any problem with how we should be able to deal with each other. As we are talking, we are waiting for reports on the initiatives taken from the MSG officials to take further moves from that report.
Sir, the vote of no confidence, with due respect, regardless how many times this side or that side of the House or the Australian media or anybody in this country might want to argue, and articles that keep coming out of the media continue to disturb me, I still strongly believe and strongly hold the opinion that Canberra has direct interest in the outcome of the motion of no confidence. This is very clearly expressed in articles that have come out. That is very serious, Mr Speaker, and makes this government not very comfortable.
I have, as I said, overwhelming proof that on Wednesday in response to the Leader of Opposition’s motion, I am getting feedbacks that is very disturbing from the streets of Honiara that we had some very, very uneasy soldiers, police officers and expatriate residents. They got very uneasy when they learn of the defeat of the motion of no confidence. That is sending a very wrong signal. Why?
The question, I guess, is do we have vested interest
on the outcome of this motion, Mr Speaker?
Soldiers and Police officers who are here at the request of this
Parliament are supposed not to take sides.
This matter, this diplomatic issue is between
Thank God, the country still goes ahead. As I said this is because of the many prayers that Christians throughout the country have been putting to God so that He continues to give wisdom to this House.
There is also a manifestation of inconsistency in the
way a lot of political leaders in this House relate to serious national issues.
This came out very clearly as well in
the way we conduct ourselves in the various debates. For example, our relationship with
I had been dealing with this country, Mr Speaker,
since 2000 when I was the Prime Minister of this country, and after this year
when I took over the responsibility to lead our government, I find it very
difficult to believe that. In fact, Mr
Speaker, the articles that came out of the Australian media have stated very
clearly saying that it was
From my personal conversation and consultation with
the Embassy in here, nothing like that has happened. I find that as not right. We make very, very sweeping statements in
Parliament that we cannot even prove.
The same was coming out from newspapers in
Statements such as: “These came in the wake of claims that funds sourced from the Taiwanese Government, which is being strongly supported by Sogavare in the campaign for membership of the United Nations has been used to help defeat the motion”. This is a very irresponsible statement, and is not right. I must basically condemn right here in this House that this is tarnishing the image of one very reliable donor of this country when every one of us are receiving its money.
Sir, in fact these people are not alone, as I said
already and I have read their statements, in
Yes, Mr Speaker, we have indeed defeated
the motion of no confidence, and we want to assure the country and the people
Mr Speaker, despite the fact that I have already explained on this floor of Parliament the case of the new Attorney General, questions are still raised in this Parliament about this person. And we even make very, very sweeping statements without really thinking about statements we make. Statements like “this foreigner”.
I tried to clear this when I moved this motion of sine die, Mr Speaker. If “foreigner” is what we are concerned about then let me inform you of the number of foreigners that are already engaged by the SIG and the Public Service. There are 8 foreigners at the Australian High Commission, Forestry has 5 foreigners, Planning Office has 19 foreigners, the Lands Department has 6 foreigners, the Community Sector Program has 6 foreigners, the National Disaster Management Office has 1 foreigner, PAC/TEF has 2 foreigners, Red Cross has 2 foreigners, the Australian Youth and Ambassadors for Development has 1 foreigner, the Business Volunteers has 1 foreigner, Tourism has 1 foreigner, the Customs Department has 1 foreigner, the GRM (Brisbane Office) has 6 foreigners, GRM (Honiara Office) has 8 foreigners, the Justice Agencies in the Tongs Building (fourth floor in Point Cruz) has 5 foreigners, the Ministry of Police & Justice (Anthony Saru building) has 2 foreigners, Police Prosecution (third floor - Place Makers) has 4 foreigners, Case Support Unit has 4 foreigners, Infrastructure – NPF building has 5 foreigners, Justice Agencies at the High Court has 6 foreigners, the Central Magistrates Court has 2 foreigners, the Public Solicitor’s Office (2nd floor, Place Makers building) has 3 foreigners, DPP (3rd floor, Place Makers) has 5 foreigners, Attorney General’s Office has 1 foreigner, Prison Service has 41 foreigners - advisors, the Financial Strengthening and Management Program has 17 foreigners, Economic Reform has 5 foreigners, Others – 6 foreigners, Machinery of Government Program Unit has 4 foreigners, Accountability has 9 foreigners, Government Processes has 7 foreigners, Electoral Support Civic Education has 7 foreigners, Media and Public Affairs has 4 foreigners, Media Outlet - Solomon Star has 1 foreigner, SIBC has 2 foreigners, Government IT has 1 foreigner, Provincial Government has 1 foreigner, Honiara City Council has 1 foreigner, GRM/RAMSI Government Facility Honiara Base (Level 4 -Tongs Building ) has 2 foreigners.
Mr Speaker, when we talk about “foreigner” I do not know what we are talking about here when this country and the Public Service is inundated by foreigners. Either we are blind and therefore not aware of what is happening in the country or we are so carried away with may be our hatred for the government, I do not know that we are willing to sacrifice the principles that we have.
This individual since we talked too much about him is
an official of the government, which is why the Government of Solomon Islands
has the responsibility to ensure that his dignity and presumption of innocence
is provided for under law. His travel to
This individual had a successful career and is a respected member of the legal community who comes with references from a number of very senior officials around the world, Mr Speaker, including a Governor General, State and Appeal Court Presidents - current and former, former Chief Justice of an Australian Supreme Court, a former Solicitor General of Australia, Heads of Tertiary Education Institutions and respected judges from the region, and a Chief Secretary to the United Nations, to name a few.
Sir, what I am trying to say here is that it was not necessary for him to accept this appointment to further his career or to achieve any more credibility, apart from the recognition he has already maintained with such affluent individuals. I would like to add here as well, Mr Speaker, nor did he do it for financial gain as to accept the conditions provided under our regulation for someone of such standing, is in reality a pay cut based on his qualification and experience.
The question I want to put out here is how then can we, as a nation be expected to literally abandon such an individual who has committed himself in such a way to serve in our best interest for the purpose of carrying forward our nation to a progressive and more prosperous future based on our limited knowledge of the rule of law.
Sir, if this case is to be tried in
“Only on the
condition that he undertakes to appear in Australia as requested to be charged
or at any committal or other proceedings for the prosecution of the Vanuatu
offences as a regular domestic prosecution, Moti will accept service by
delivery or an email as goods service of any document including warrant for
charges. Australia’s continuous current and
any further extradition request for proceedings without going into validity of
the purported cancellation and confiscation of current Australian passport,
Moti to be issued forthwith a substitute passport. The Prosecution to consent to normal bail
without reporting obligations throughout the criminal process and not to oppose
bail application on grounds of risk of absconding or any other grounds. Press release is confined to bare facts of his
agreement to resolve the extradition request controversy. No further releases on alleged facts of other
issues pertaining to the alleged offences or the prior prosecution in
Sir, this request was made to those who arrested him in Papua New Guinea, and they are even going to pursue it further with this group as well, is flatly rejected. Instead they just want to dump him and put him in jail.
Sir, the issue of the AG is no
Without any respect for the laws of PNG, for example,
the Transnational Crime Squad illegally arrested him. It is still an issue. The Prime Minister of PNG came out very clear
and said that all the correct processes are not there, but it is addressed through
junior officers. As it stands at this
point in time, that arrest in PNG is illegal and did not follow the laws of
PNG. In fact, it was claimed the
The question that came out very clear here, Mr Speaker is, does it make sense to us Solomon Islanders that the alleged crime was committed in Vanuatu, and not only committed in Vanuatu but also cleared in the Vanuatu Court. The case was already cleared. That person was acquitted, and if you had listened to the news today the Magistrate who dealt with that case was insulted by the allegations. He came out and said that there was no proof and there was not enough evidence. And if the court system is something that we should go by and something we should respect, and if law and order and respect for institutions is what RAMSI is here in this country to advance, then let us have some. This is what this issue is turning up to now.
What I am sad about is that a lot of Members of this Parliament have simply brushed aside these issues. We look at it prima facie and we judge it by its cover. We do not see the issues the Government is trying to grapple with here. That shows our immaturity. We just take things as they, if they are good for us and support our argument, we go ahead and use it without really thinking about them. That is really irresponsible.
As I said earlier, the detention of the AG in Rove as
well is also questionable. Our laws are
clear, the laws of this country are clear as to how such cases are to be dealt
with. This is a simple immigration
case. This country is not answerable to
the warrant of arrest issued in
This particular person is a public officer appointed by none other than the Judicial and Legal Services Commission of Solomon Islands, a constitutionally established institution. He came here to take up this office and how dare foreign forces because of their own interest apply their laws in this country.
This government, I can tell you, is not going to tolerate the Australian Government on any request of extradition of this officer who is appointed to take up a very important responsibility in our judicial system. The way they are dealing with this person is a clear disregard of the laws and systems of this country. And no right minded Solomon Islander must tolerate this. It is not right.
As I have said, it no longer becomes the Moti issue. This is some serious fundamental principles and legal issues, protection of the laws of this country, legally constitutionally established institutions that we must respect, and it is for the very reason why RAMSI is here in this country to protect. Why then are we undermining it?
Sir, this is driving us too far, it is driving this
country too far. And I must warn
I do not want foreigners to continue to push this
government to a position where we will make a decision that will not be in the
best of our strategic interest. Respect
our laws and we will respect you.
Although we are a small country we have one vote in the United
Sir, the other point I want to raise here, which
Solomon Islands is prepared to take this issue to the limit is that Australia is
a signatory to the United Nations Convention on Protected Persons, and it
actually enacted a legislation to support that Convention. This law protects from arrest the officials
of a state or another country in
Sir, I am also surprised to hear
leaders complaining that some MPs are making references to the Bible in this
House, and some are saying go to the Church, this is not a Church and so do not
use the Bible in here. I think the
At the outset, I made it very plain and clear that we are claiming ourselves Christians. This country professes to be 90% plus Christians and so God is the Supreme Ruler of this country. Is that rue? Since God is the Supreme Ruler it is just appropriate we remind ourselves that we are God’s children. We are mandated to be here in Parliament because of His intervention. Do not think that you are here by accident. No! You are here by design. There is time for everything. We are in government now because probably this is our time. I believe it is time for us to be in government, and we defeated the motion yesterday.
Like I pointed out, there are many stories I heard from people that the motion was meant to go through. I heard it. Do you know what I did and as always I have been doing? I was on my knees praying to God. I have been on an hourly watch. I learned this from the Chairman of the Government Caucus, a very godly Chairman of Government Caucus. Every since we took up office, this man has been going down to the Cabinet and the Prime Minister’s Office dedicating, praying and petitioning God to protect us. He prays around the Ministers’ chairs, touching the chairs as he prays every morning. Is that not a Christian practice, an example that every one of us should follow?
I learn from him and so I am on an hourly watch. I set the clock, the clock rings every hour, and I wake up throughout the night. When the clock rings it plays a music and so I woke up and pray to God saying, ‘please you put me here, you carry me here, and so are you going to just drop me here in this blue ocean to drown’. I do not think God will do that. If you are there by design, He puts you there, He is going to carry you through. I believe in that.
As I said this side of the House does not need to bribe people to win the motion of no confidence. I left it entirely to God. Who am I, a mortal human being to stand up and say ‘God I do not want to lose’. That is not what I said. I said, ‘Please, help me to be humble. Help me to accept whatever comes’. ‘If you say that I go down, help me to bear it’. That is the kind of prayer I was offering to God. ‘If you say I continue to stay and defend the cause of this country, you make me win, you help us, give us wisdom’.
We heard stories like He opened the
Have you heard of any army dropping a city just by walking around? God used what they were good at - walking. They have been walking for 40 years and so God told them to walk around the city and the city fell down. If that God is still alive today, who am I to doubt Him? That is the strength on which this Prime Minister took his stand. When we are reminded of God in this Honorable House, I think it is just appropriate.
In fact, many more Members of Parliament are now joining the Chairman of the Government Caucus. He has a team now that goes down to Cabinet every morning to petition God and pray in that building. I just want to declare to the nation that this Government is serious about the leadership of God in this Government.
I just want to explain a few things and then I will finish. On the Millennium Development Fund Bill, I just want to acknowledge that the Bill does not satisfy the normal processes and so it needs to go back to Cabinet for endorsement and careful scrutiny. But there are existing rules and laws that can cater for the administering of the millennium development fund. In fact, the guidelines will be issued by the Minister of Development Planning very shortly.
The Ministries are working on their work programs. In fact they are about to finish the programs. As soon as that is completed we should be able to see our work programs. Most of the work programs the government intends to do will be reflected in the government’s budget.
There are other issues as well which I need to explain. National unity was also raised on the floor of Parliament. National unity can only be achieved and sustained through policies that will foster ethnic tolerance, understanding, respect for culture and traditional practices of ethnic groups throughout the country. That is why the Government is concerned about the way the current peace process is pursued. We are trying to redirect the way this country’s peace process is being addressed because we believe there is need to really address the underlying issues.
The Member for
The Government is engaging a professional accounting
firm to put up an application for
The NPF loans and how interest is calculated was raised in Parliament. We will look into that. But the normal way banks charge their interest is through compound interest. I assume here that the NPF might have followed the same interest charging structure like the banks and is charging interest through a compound formula. But we will look into that.
On Public Service reform, which the Member for
I had a good working relationship with the Leader of Opposition. He has written me several letters on what he thinks about certain issues, which we have taken up. There is no fear in doing that. We do not want to close the door. We are not saying that we have everything and we know everything. Never have we said that. We are fallible human beings and we need advice from everyone so that we can come up with programs to benefit our people.
In saying these, Mr Speaker, I just want to assure
this nation and the people of
We are also committed, Mr Speaker, to ensure that the
peace we now enjoy is sustained and will be continued to enjoy. We are also committed to ensure that the
investment environment in
We are also committed to working very closely with the
important sectors in the economy to advance our corporate aspirations, which is
to see a peaceful and prosperous
We are also committed to ensure that
Please if you have issues you think the Government needs to look at, the easy way to bring it up to the ministers to bring up a concept paper. And the way that can be channeled through, as you all know, is to channel new ideas through the Caucus. The Caucus Chairman will look into them and if he thinks it is a good idea, we may need to redirect government policy. The Chairman brings it up to Caucus, the Caucus debates it and if Caucus adopts it, the appropriate Minister in Cabinet takes it on and it is taken on as Government policy and it then becomes something we can act on rather than moving motions in here, because of all the motions moved in this House, I think only Anthony Saru’s motion was taken up with the establishment of the National Provident Fund. All other motions, which are good ones, have never been acted upon because we are just politicizing them in the House. If people are serious about issues that they want the government to take up, feel free, push it through the Caucus Office, the Caucus Office will put a paper up, the Caucus discusses it and channels it through the proper way to the Cabinet and then we can adopt them as government policy.
Mr Speaker, I think with that, I beg
to move that at the adjournment of Parliament on
The House adjourned Sine Die