The Prime Minister Hon. Manasseh Sogavare’s
on the Motion of No Confidence,
Hon Sogavare: At the outset I would like to thank the Leader of Opposition for moving the motion and for all that he has said about the Prime Minister. I know where he is coming from and what is driving him to move the motion.
I hope he will be able to sleep tonight after he will come to his senses that he has acted irrationally and allowed his vanity to take the best of him on the floor of the people’s parliament today. But before I delve into the substance of his motion, I would like to express my observations on what we consider as driving this motion.
The motion is moved under the authority of Section 34 (2) of the National Constitution and therefore in terms of law it is in order.
A motion of this nature is very serious and I hope the mover had given serious thought to it because what he is basically saying is that the very parliament that voted unanimously for a Prime Minister and his Government that had the support of the people in May of this year (i.e in just a matter of 5 months), is requested to vote that it had no confidence in that person. That is problematic.
other countries where government is effectively voted into power by the people
on election day, the situation in
I want to drive the point that this
is the very power that Solomon Islanders resented giving to the legislators as clearly
The picture changed on
I am seeing the repeat of what
happened in June 2000, when the present incumbent was also elected by
parliament to take over the leadership of Solomon Islands Government during one
of the most trying time in the history of
I guess what I am trying to get at
there, is, that the people of this country have demonstrated on two separate
occasions that the Parliament’s choice of the member for
That, is a very important message to this
parliament, which we must not carelessly disregard. The significance of this scenario is that in
personally attacking the Prime Minister inn the person of the member for
Apart from all the garbage that we
see in the Solomon Star and foreign papers, which wee purposely designed to be
biased against the government, there was no open revolt against the government
by the grassroots in
That proved beyond all shadow of doubt that the people of this country have no problem with the leadership of this government.
I listened with amusement the call by the leader of the opposition to the people of Malaita to refrain from expressing their disapproval of any outcome that would not be acceptable to them. That call is totally unnecessary and sends a wrong signal to the people as to the real motives of the motion.
If you are doing the right thing, why
calling on the people of
I am not surprised because the
personal nature of this motion augurs well with the treat issued by Prime
Minister Howard of
In fact, the involvement of
I quote as follows, “Whatever the
outcome of this week’s parliament session in the
He went on to say, “The Australian
government has stepped up its campaign to unseat the
The report also place beyond all shadow
of doubt that the political crisis that
I quote, “The political crisis has been engineered by the Australian Prime Minister and his government, which targeted the Solomons’ government after the Australian High Commissioner Patrick Cole was expelled earlier this year for meddling in the country’s internal affairs”. End of quote.
This is a very serious situation and
it calls for a concerted effort by all Solomon Islanders to protect our country
from the grips of re-colonization. We
must not allow this Parliament to be used as a tool to undermine the democratically
elected government of the people of
In case we forget, this parliament
belongs to the people of
I felt sorry for the Leader of the Opposition because use he is being misled by a very superficial and carefully designed public opinion that is hyped up by an aggressive media propaganda campaign both by the local and Australian media following the removal of the Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands.
It is grossly careless act that is motivated by pride and vanity, and the Leader of the Opposition is too blind to see that he is being used by the Australian Government t o get at the Solomon Islands Government. Where is your sense of national pride?
In line with the concerns raised thee
and after listening to the Opposition Leader’s reasons, the motion should
really be worded as, “That the national parliament of Solomon Islands resolves
that Canberra does not have confidence in the Prime Minister”, or
alternatively, it should be worded.
“That this Parliament resolves that the Leader of the Opposition,
Of course, these people never had any confidence in the Prime Minister from the very beginning and therefore it is not surprising that they now make this position clear in the public, and for personal selfish and stupid reasons, beg parliament to share their point of view.
This is akin to banging one’s head against a brick wall because this side of the House is not convinced that the issues that the leader of opposition is accusing the Prime Minister about, having anything to do with his ability or commitment and zeal to get the GCCG to deliver on its program of action.
That would have been an issue worthy
of consideration, not personal attacks.
What this motion is really concern about is the feelings of
In fact, the actions and decisions he is complaining about were taken in the interest of getting government to deliver on its promises, and therefore are crucial decisions as far as the government is concern. Of course they hurt some people, even within our group.
Unlike the leader of the opposition who is capitalizing on these decisions and actions to make his point, we took them professionally. They are normal day to day matters. I am surprised that the leader of opposition is making a fuss out of them.
Going back to my earlier point, it is
a fact that this Prime Minister is not popular with
As a matter of fact,
This is one of the inferences of Prime
Minster Howard’s advise that thee will be serious consequences
for me personally, and my government due to government’s action to remove the
head of the Australian Mission to
So I guess what I am saying here, is, as leaders where do we stand? Do we just allow foreign government s to do whatever they like in this country and get away with it? You make your choices, but as for this Prime minister he will not allow these bully tactics to go unchallenged. There is so much at stake here and we cannot afford to be careless in the name of peace and stability.
In fact it is already a talk around
That being the case, in consenting to
be the agent of
They would rather be comfortable with a puppet that they can control. That is understandable because that was their attitude of the government then ruling from 2001 – 2005, which the Leader of the Opposition was part of. The reversal of that status quo is considered threatening, again for narrow, selfish strategic reasons.
For the disgruntled few, it is just personal vendetta, which is very sad. It demonstrates that we are yet to grow up in politics.
For the Leader of Opposition
personally, I am surprised at the very quick pace in which he changed his
position on the matter of confidence in the leadership of the member for
When I heard about his intention to move this motion, I was wondering what had happen to the expression of confidence just weeks ago.
I realized after giving it some thought that the expression of support was made to me when the government was going through some difficult times due to the disciplinary action I took on one of my Ministers.
I also had a visit by the member for Renell/Bellona expressing the same kind of support. I now learn that these so-called supports are not genuine.
I am making this revelation, because at that time if I had offered some ministerial portfolio to them they would have jumped for it and would have no concern whatsoever for any Ministers that would have become victims of such an arrangement. So much for team work?
But I am not stupid. I owed what I am today initially to the loyal
27 members of parliament who took that vital decision on
This scenario exposed a serious weakness of the opposition leader and his supporters. That is, they would be prepared t o sacrifice any body for their personal gain. Therefore, the proposition advanced by the Leader of the opposition of “outem leader nomoa and iufala goet” is a manifestation of glaring hypocrisy.
They never had any principles. This clearly demonstrated in the new position
they are now taking. The sad truth is,
they have sold themselves to the cunning device of
Indeed, this is proven by the very personal nature of this motion and the fact that the issues that the leader of opposition is now advancing as the basis of his motion re the very garbages that we had been hearing in the Australian and local media outlets.
It proved beyond all shadow of doubt,
that, the Leader of the Opposition and his supporters have
consented to be agents of foreign interests to undermine the political
I am seeing here an attempt to repeat
what happened to
It is only the quick intervention of the United Nations that is now returning some hope in that country a position that Solomon Islands may need to look carefully at.
In that respect, the motion before us borders on treason and shows the real colors of the kind of leaders we have in this country who would stop at nothing to satisfy their own personal egos at the expense of peace and national unity.
I am therefore not surprised that the motion is not about the program of the government but a personal attack against the leadership of this government. In fact the Leader of the Opposition made that position very clear when he moved the motion based on the reasons that I will discuss in the course of this debate.
Again, it demonstrates how selfish, narrow minded, anti-development and power hunger a person can become that they are even prepared to go to the extent of sacrificing sanity and common sense. It is amazing what the desire to serve one’s own selfish interests could do to a nation.
Just look at us, this parliament is
being held up by people who could not tell the difference between narrow
selfish interest and national interest, or tell the difference between serving
I am saying this because the issues that the leader of the opposition is going on about are the very same issues that Canberra is concerned about and capitalised on by the few disgruntled supporters of this motion.
It is conveniently constructed to isolate the Prime minister form the members of the Grand Coalition. This is not a new trick, as I will expound on in the course of this defence. My question to those who are intending to support this motion, is, how can we leaders be that cheap.
I want to inform this House that I am
not cheap, I have never been and will never be. When it comes to a point where I need to make
a decision between serving the long term interest of my country or the interest
of foreign governments, I have decided to stand with the people of
I want to make it very clear to this parliament that, that has been the premise upon which I carried the decisions of this government to the letter.
I make no apologies whatsoever for all the decisions and actions I took on behalf and at the advise of Her Majesty’s Cabinet in the interest of protecting our sovereignty and to uphold the principles of Cabinet government system. This is clearly contrary to the unfounded allegations by the leader of the opposition that the Prime minister failed to consult with the members of the coalition, which I must I must refute outright.
In this connection, I am also amazed at the amount of interest shown by non-Solomon Islanders in this motion. We are hearing comments like, “If we do not win this motion now, we will have to wait for another year”, by foreigners.
You do not need to have a Masters
Degree in Business Administration or a qualified political scientist to
conclude that this motion is all a bout protecting the interests of foreigners
in the running of the affairs of
I want to make it abundantly clear that this Prime Minister will not allow that to happen, and I do not care what foreign governments are saying and they can say whatever they would like to say about this Prime Minister but it will not change my resolve to ensure that Solomon Islands remains a sovereign nation and be respected by our guests in this country.
Talking about treason, Mr Speaker, I am seeing its manifestation in this motion. If we do not see that, then something is really wrong with us. I am not surprised, because when people are blinded by false sense of nationalism and concern for good governance they will do anything, including undermining what we represent as a nation.
The reference to false sense of
nationalism is to counter the extremists who are advancing the concept of ‘
This motion is a perfect example. It is nothing more than a desperate attempt and indeed part of an evil strategy, to protect the strategic interests of foreign forces under the garb of nationalism.
I am also concerned, in this regard, that the universal principles of good governance have been severely prostituted that they become justification for suppressive actions by foreign interests in this country.
For example RAMSI was allowed into this country by parliament in the name of good governance and yet when the government pursues programs in pursuant of these very principles we are criticized and abused in the media. What is wrong with us?
It becomes a situation where if the exercise of good governance would expose foreign interests’ weaknesses in this country it is considered an unfriendly act and therefore must be discontinued immediately. One begins to question the real motives behind the maneuvers by foreign interests in this country.
It also clears that this country is reeling in confusion between the demands of two regimes and we are approaching a point in time where if we continue to be careless, the fine line between the two would become extinct.
The first regime is the
What is shocking is the visible
attempt by the foreign backed regime to systematically nurture Solomon
Islanders into disliking their own elected government, through a well planned
strategy that ranged from discrediting leadership to branding the government as
incapable of delivering to the people because it is eye-deep in
corruption. To guarantee a foot-hold,
the country is conveniently branded as a ‘
sad thing is that the local sponsors of this motion are not aware that they are
being led into it by people who do not give a damn about good governance,
transparency and accountability in this country as is clearly demonstrated in
is clear that there is a network both locally and abroad that is masterminding
this motion however the opposition may want to deny it. For example, the Australian Broadcasting
Corporation (ABC) did not hide the fact that the Leader of the Opposition and
his group is supporting
partnership is bent on achieving its objectives through an aggressive media
campaign conveniently targeting the ignorant population of
is very clear in the number of deliberate misreporting that is going on in the
media, both locally and in
is sad to see that a once reputable paper Solomon Stars Newspaper has allowed
itself to be an agent in this process, and directly working against the people
If anybody knows about how newspapers are arranged, matters that appear in the first pages are considered important. By putting government’s responses to public queries in the middle pages, the Publisher is actively taking sides with those who are anti-government in the media debate. As the Minister responsible for media in the country, I am watching this development with great concern.
The pertinent question is, why would foreigners who are nothing more than guests in this country take interest in this motion and are actively involved in getting support for it.
There could only be one reason. There are people who stand to lose if the GCCG under the strong leadership of this Prime Minister continues in office so they are throwing their support behind the Leader of the Opposition and his very small group and see this motion and the leader of the opposition as their savior. The sad thing is that the leader of the opposition and his group are too blind to see.
I am surprised that the opposition group in parliament can be so naïve to agree to be their agents. Where is your sense of national pride?
This country is sick and tired of puppet governments that have allowed themselves to be pulled by the nose and are willing to sacrifice our sovereignty. That is indeed the
Alternative government that the leader of opposition is impliedly proposing in this motiom. One cannot be any more careless than that.
We are behaving as if this country has not suffered enough yet. It is about time that some body stands up and say, enough is enough, and return the ownership and control of this country of Solomon Islanders.
Indeed, the actions and decisions that I will be obliged to explain in the course of my response and which the leader of the opposition is now questioning on the floor of this Parliament were taken and made in the interest of returning that control and ownership to Solomon Islanders, and I make no apologies whatsoever for making them.
It begs the question whether the leader of the opposition and his group still consider themselves Solomon Islanders and have the concern of Solomon Islands and its people at heart because the way they have been behaving themselves suggests that they should immediately stop calling themselves Solomon Islanders, I must again ask this question. Where is our sense of nationalism and pride as Solomon Islanders? What the leader of opposition was moaning and groaning about and wasting Parliament time has nothing to do with the ability of the Prime Minister to lead as I mentioned earlier. He is confusing strong leadership with dictatorship.
I am also flabbergasted by the thought that leader of the opposition has allowed his vanity to take the best of him. It is a well-timed motion, capitalizing on the public reaction to the series of tough decisions that were taken by the Prime Minister on behalf of Cabinet.
That brings me to a very interesting point and that is, while the focus of this motion is usually on the Prime Minister, very little attention is normally given to the mover. I consider this to be a very important point.
I am saying this because in moving the motion the Hon Leader of Opposition and his group are effectively saying that a better option is found in their group. This is a challenge that I dare not allow passing without sharing my thoughts.
All this nonsense about “outem Prime Minister no moa and iufalla goet” is just a smoke screen. How can a person who contested the prime minister’s post and even went to the extent of resorting to acts that border on undue influence to win the race will just give away this office if this motion were to be successful. It is nonsense.
I would have no problem accepting his proposition, if I can be convinced that I am an hypocrite, dishonest, weak, indecisive, lacking in vision, a puppet of foreign governments and influences, having no concern for the people of this country especially those in the rural area, undermining the country’s sovereignty, and a threat to peace and national unity.
I challenge the opposition to prove that I am found wanting on these scores. I believe that these are issues that really matter.
I am seriously concerned about being accused of the foregoing which what this motion is really saying. But I would like to challenge the leader of opposition and his supporters to be honest about themselves regarding these qualities and issues.
Since he is personally attacking the Prime Minister’s quality based on the principle of confidence, and has been heavily involved in questioning the moral life of the new Attorney General he must be prepared to hear and face up with his own political and moral standing.
The wording of the motion itself is interesting, “That the National Parliament resolves that it has no confidence on the Prime Minister” The key word here is “confidence”, which literally means “trust in a person or thing”, or “trust or a trustful relationship”, and therefore carries with it a range of personal qualities and leadership issues, including leadership style.
In other words, the leader of opposition is literally begging Parliament to doubt and question the Prime Minister’s worth; reliability; honesty, steadfastness; commitment to principles; respect for the rule of law; honesty, respect for the country’s sovereignty, and the list goes on.
In other words, what the leader of the opposition is saying is that, the Prime Minister is a person that simply cannot be trusted because he lacks all the qualities of leadership as outlined earlier. By whom may I ask?
I sympathize with the supporters of this motion because they are caught in a situation where they need to be honest with the people of this country that they are indeed concern about them. The people of this country are not stupid, as we would like to think.
In fact the more we are acting like this it is us who must indeed be concern about our behaviour in this Honouble House. Our people are reading our actions and decisions like open book.
They know who is hypocrite, dishonest, weak, pretends to be concern about them when they are in fact advancing foreign interests, indecisive, lacking vision, and puppets of foreign governments and the list goes on. So I guess what I am saying is, let us not make a total fool of ourselves and pretend to be speaking on behalf of the people when we are not.
I am taking this line of debate because in preparing for this motion, the leader of the opposition and his supporters are even going to the extend of pursuing a tactic of blackmailing and lying.
The MP for Rendova
and Tetepari was approached by the Leader of
Opposition with a message that the Prime Minister was going to sack 5 Ministers
when he returned from
A prominent supporter of this motion
approached a supporter of the member for
They are even stupid enough to try to get the support of the Member for Temotu Nende a staunch supporter of this Prime Minister and the tough decisions we are taking on national issues.
I would be concerned about this motion if I am being accused for undermining our national interest, but I am not. My decisions, which were taken on the advice of Cabinet, painful though those decisions may have been to some people, were taken in the best interest of this country.
Especially those who have been so
attached to the foreign regime. To those people my advice to them is
Contrary to what I am hearing from the opposition, I am not a Prime Minister who takes pleasure in sacking Ministers for personal reasons, nor am I depending on outside advice and influences to take such actions.
Sacking is an action that is reserved only for cases where a Minister’s actions or inaction amounts to gross negligence or where by such actions, the Minister is implying that he or she can no longer be a faithful member of the Cabinet.
I have so far taken that action on the former Minister of Commerce, Industries and Employment, because his actions were clearly contrary to the joint position of the grand coalition and therefore a serious breach of the fundamental principles of Cabinet Government System.
I was surprised to hear that the
reason why I took the action against the former Minister was because I was
trying to protect the General Secretary of the SOCRED Party who it was claimed
is living illegally in
These allegations are groundless and we were legally advised that the restrictions contained in the work permit could be successfully challenged under the constitution and therefore constitutionally incorrect. The person concerned has a valid immigration document. In any case the court is open for any one who does not agree with our views to challenge it, instead of moaning and groaning about it.
This is a perfect example of people trying to justify their actions and are not willing to admit their weaknesses.
I am saying this because the recent behaviours and comments by the proponents of this motion clearly demonstrate that they have no concern for national issues. These people are only concern more about issues, which are personal to them and have nothing to do with advancing the welfare of Solomon Islanders.
It begs the question whether we deserve to call ourselves Solomon Islanders. I will explain what I am getting at in the course of my response to the allegations leveled at the Prime Minister by the Leader of Opposition. But allow me first of all to expound on what the leader of opposition is effectively saying in this motion based on the definition of the word “confidence”.
On the question of worthiness, this Prime Minister does not believe in boasting about himself and his achievements, although I can without reservation say that he has served his country well as a committed public servant and politician.
He was raised through the ranks of the public service from the humble beginning as toilet cleaner and tea boy to Commissioner of Inland Revenue, Permanent Secretary, Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition and Prime Minister of this country through nothing less than hard work and so he understands the hardship that many low paid workers in this country have to go through to make ends meet.
He initiated the first major tax reform in the country that saw a major shift of the burden of taxation from direct to indirect tax and the introduction of the goods tax, which he researched, and drafted the effecting legislation without the help of the Attorney General Chambers because they do not have the slightest clue of what to do.
He had guns pointed to his head many times during the ethnic tension when he was the Prime Minister during the 2000 – 2001 but did not ask to be decorated with medals and titles, and we can go on.
I guess what I am trying to say is, let others praise you if you are worthy to be praised. When somebody starts to talk about himself, he is having a serious problem. I am hurt when my personal worth as a Solomon Islander who served this country well and is serious about the long-term survival of this country as an independent sovereign state is called into question. I have not at any stage let this country down and I must refute any allegation to that effect.
Steadfastness is a serious matter. It carries with it the idea of a focused sense of direction; a steady leader that is not easily swayed by pressures or the desire to be somebody. This Prime Minister is committed to ensure that the development program of the GCCG is carried out fully by Ministers who have been assigned these responsibilities, nothing more and nothing less.
This is a serious collective responsibility, which we as a government have committed ourselves to and we would be simply irresponsible to treat it lightly.
Our goal is rural development and this government will not be swayed by any thing, or any body in our endeavor to attain that development goal. It is a goal that the GCCG is committed to achieve under the leadership of the present Prime Minister, and by moving this motion, the leader of the opposition is effectively rubbishing our joint commitment. Nothing more could have been very insulting arrogant and a slap on the face of every grassroots of this country as this motion.
Commitment to principles, which the motion also impliedly question touches at the very heart of what strong leadership is all about. I feel insulted when somebody just out of the blue alleged that my Ministers and I are not guided by any principles.
In this regard I am totally
disappointed at the continual allegation that
I made it very clear when we took office in May this year that this government is committed to deal with the issue of corruption head on. What I meant was that the government will be supporting and work very closely with the established system to hunt down those who are corrupt.
In fact we are surprised that we have been accused of not doing anything about it when the targets of the accusation of corruption are politicians. We are just as desperate to see the RAMSI anti-corruption unit do its work quickly and lock up corrupt leaders.
In respect of this matter we are also
concern that while
We are concerned about a possible
situation of cronyism where the agencies employed are reported to be close
associates of certain political Parties in
Respect for the rule of law that the government under my leader is impliedly accused in this motion is a serious allegation. In fact I must refute any slightest thought by any one both here and abroad that this government takes pleasure in deliberately trampling upon the laws of this country.
I am not surprised at the allegation of disrespect for law because the opposition has been going around saying that the Prime Minister a long with some of his Ministers would be arrested very soon for their involvement in inciting the April riot.
The opposition was quoted as saying that this information comes from a reliable source. I am surprised that we can be so blinded by our hunger for power that we are willing to sacrifice our nationalism and become helpless victims of foreign governments.
There is also this allegation that the government has misused $1.8 million. What $1.8 million may I ask? There have also been allegations that the Prime Minister operates on “schemes and cults”. I am shocked by such unfounded allegations that were based on nothing more than the motive of looking for reasons to tarnish the image of the Prime Minister.
I am also shocked to learn that the government is soliciting support from the logging companies to support its efforts to defeat this motion of no confidence. They are even talking about the government asking $400,000 from logging companies.
I am not surprised at such an
allegation because this is the kind of strategy they have been employing when
they were in Government. The Opposition Leader himself as proven by documents
that we have in our possession attempted to bribe the member for Lau/Mbaelelea,
I am raising this concern because I am sick to my stomach when I hear people advancing themselves as Mr. Clean when they know fully well that they have a lot cleaning up to do. This is hypocrisy in its blatant form and dishonesty. If the opposition and their foreign masters think that this side of the House is involved in soliciting the support of financiers to defeat this motion, you better think again.
I want to make it clear that as far as this Prime Minister is concerned, this government was established by divine intervention and we do not need to bribe members of Parliament to commit their loyalty to the government. That would be clearly contrary to the will of God and an insult to him who is our protector.
He opened the
The walls of
The out come of this motion is in the hands of God. The God that we Solomon Islanders professed to serve and under whose name oaths and pledges are taken by members of this Honorable House to be loyal to course of our people. How would I a mortal human being who has personally experienced his leading throughout my life-time to doubt him now.
So much for that. Allow Mr Speaker to continue to comment on the underlying issues of this motion.
Honesty is a serious matter. It is an embracing principle that extends to the way we conduct our selves inside and outside of our official duties. It extends to the way we relate to our families and our wives. This Prime Minister does not claim that he has no problem on this front, but the difference is, his affairs are transparent.
Can the Leader of the opposition look me in the eyes and say the same about himself? I mean we can go on and talk about issues of personal integrity because that is what people normally jump to in their assessment of leadership quality. What has been reported to me are serious Leadership Code issues, which we will be pursuing on behalf of the people. It is dangerous to throw stones when you are living in a glass house.
It was televised in the ABC that the
Solomon Islands Opposition is siding with
Having made those general comments, I am now obliged to make specific explanation on the allegations leveled at the Prime Minister by the Leader of Opposition and his supporters. The Opposition’s allegation can be neatly categorized into the following issues:
(1) That the Prime Minister abused the sovereignty of this nation in his handling of national issues;
(2) That the Prime Minister interfered in the work of the Judiciary in the setting of the Commission of Inquiry into the April Civil riot in Honiara and his public statements on the country’s Judicial system, and alleging foreign interference in the judiciary;
(3) That the Prime Minister used corrupt practices in governance e.g hand picking of public servants, employing own security service at the Prime Minister’s Office;
the Prime Minister has misplaced priorities.
Instead of Inquiry into the whole ethnic tension, he merely wanted to
look into the
(5) That the Prime Minister has failed to properly address corruption allegations waged by the Government and supporters on the opposition groups;
These are serious allegations and I would like this House to bare with me because I would like to explain some of them.
(i) Allegation of Abuse of Sovereignty
The opposition must be joking when they say that the actions of the Prime Minister amount to abuse of sovereignty. Are we alright, Mr Speaker? This is a perfect example of the confused state that the leader of the opposition and the supporters of this motion have allowed themselves to be in.
Are you telling me that
the action of declaring the former head of the Australian mission to
By the same token are you telling me that the action taken against the former AG who with malicious intentions exposed confidential information is abuse of sovereignty? We cannot be serious because these actions were taken in the very interest of protecting our sovereignty.
If the reference to abusing sovereignty is the way this Prime Minister used that argument to take the controversial actions and decisions than, I must express my deepest concern about his loyalty to this country. He apparently does not appreciate being a member of this Honourable Chambers.
(ii) Misplaced priorities: Inquiry not wide enough to address cause of Ethnic Crisis
On the allegation of
misplaced priorities and failure to address the cause of the ethnic crisis I
can only refer the Leader of Opposition to His Excellency’s Speech. The COI to the April riot is part of a
comprehensive strategy to address the cause of the crisis. The other two
Commissions are the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Inquiry on
(iii) Leadership Style
The Leader of the Opposition alleged that one of the grounds of the motion is that the Prime Minister is dictatorial but not really defining what he meant by the term. But reading from what he is on about, the opposition is claiming that my alleged interference with the work of the Judiciary, the Police and the legislature is being seen by them as dictatorship. It is very possible that one could confuse strong leadership with dictatorial.
In his latest media interview, the leader of opposition alleged that the Prime Minister is too proud and does not consult with his Cabinet and Caucus colleagues before taking controversial actions and decisions. I feel insulted by such a branding.
I do not blame the leader of opposition for being very narrow minded in this matter because he was part of a puppet government for most of the 7th Session that he is shocked when this Prime Minister took the stand to remind Australia that Solomon Islands is a sovereign state and cannot bow to the dictates of foreign governments.
I must also refute his allegation that I did not consult Cabinet in all the decisions I took. This is a perfect example of basing arguments on rumors. This is the highest decision making body of the land and we who find ourselves privileged to be its members are expected to act responsibly. You cannot just go around making unfounded allegations to support your course.
Contrary to the unfounded allegations of the leader of the opposition and his supporters, this Prime Minister is a staunch defender of cabinet government system, and the rule of law, and will not tolerate those who think they can undermine it and go unpunished. So I do not know where this allegation of the Prime Minister not consulting his colleagues comes from.
(iv) The Commission of Inquiry; the controversial Terms of Reference and Interference with the work of Judiciary.
Public debate on the COI was deliberately taken totally out of context and unfortunately driven by the determination of the Australian Government to see that the COI is frustrated to protect their narrow selfish interest.
This is very sad indeed, because RAMSI, which is dominated by the Australia Government was allowed into the country by none other than this very Parliament in the name of good governance, transparency, accountability, and responsibility. By actively undermining the COI, the Australian Government is basically saying that it does not believe in what it says. This is very confusing.
This brings up a whole of
lot question on the commitment of
The question of the COI interfering in the judicial process is a non issue as far as this side of the House is concerned because the court has ruled loud and clear. To question that process on the floor of Parliament would amount to contempt of court.
The Government however is seriously concerned that the discussions and argument on the COI has been unfairly narrowed down to the issues of the controversial TORs without appreciating that COI is parth of the country’s comprehensive peace process which included that Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and Commission of Inquiry on Land issues on Gudalcanal under the former TPA.
It is the conviction of
the government that lasting peace cannot come to
The purpose of establishing the three commissions is to approach the peace process through a comprehensive strategy to inquire into the causes of the problems that the country is now struggling to cope with.
The reason for this comprehensive approach is clearly demonstrated by the fact that the suppressive strategy entertained by the country thus far did not work.
I made the point in my address to the nation that one need not to have a formal degree on conflict resolution to know how to address our peace process. It must be fully understood by all Solomon Islanders that the issues that sparked the ethnic crisis are cultural and custom in nature, not legal.
For any foreigners to
think that they will address peace in
Law and order was in existence in the period leading to 2000 but it quickly collapsed when Solomon Islanders decided to take that very law and order into their own hands. Here is a perfect example of the fact that the issues that promote unity and understanding far outweigh the enforcing of the law itself and is more sustainable.
It is on this premise that the government is concerned about the heavy-handed, legalistic approach to addressing the problem of this country as manifested in the way, the country’s peace process had been handled. Unless this trend is reversed now we will be in danger of driving this country down the path of another conflict that could be more serious.
(v) The Engagement of Julian Moti as the New AG.
On the issue of the new Attorney General I can only comment on the question concerning the manner in which he is appointed because other issues are part of a defamation case filed by the Attorney General against a number of people.
The engagement of Julian Moti QC as the new Attorney General of Solomon Islands was done constitutionally and procedurally, contrary to all the nonsense I am hearing in the media.
It makes me sick to my stomach to hear Solomon Islanders pretending to be concern about procedures and the laws of this country when their very act in supporting the arguments to the contrary makes them total hypocrites.
The manner in which the new Attorney General was appointed to the post was consistent with they way all former Attorney Generals were appointed to the office. As a matter of fact, the office of the Attorney General is a public office established under the Constitutional and Section 42(2) of the Constitutional is very clear on how appointments are made to the office. The Judicial and Legal Services makes appointments Acting on the advice of the Prime Minister.
This manner of appointment to the office
of the Attorney General is consistent with the constitutional rationale that
the Constitutional office of the Attorney General is held at the pleasure of
the Government of the day, because he or she is the principal advisor to the
Government and Cabinet. Neither the
It is important therefore in that context that the holder of that office must be trusted by the government. The position of trustworthiness is so powerful that it ranks above any other arguments including localization because it is totally possible for a local incumbent to be untrustworthy. Therefore in addition to the incumbent being holder of relevant legal qualifications, he or she must be a person that the government can work with.
Concerns are expressed that a non-citizen would leak out state secrets because the Attorney General has access to Cabinet Meetings and confidential documents and therefore a local incumbent is advisable. Well I have this to say, the Government had just gone through hell with a local incumbent in that regard. He has no regard for state secrets. So where does that leave the Government?
I am therefore baffled at the
groundless concerns raised by a number of
The two former Attorney Generals did not make any fuss when they were asked to move out of the office and I cannot just see any justification in the very protective attitude of the immediate former Attorney General.
The fact that
The office of the Attorney General plays a crucial role in the implementation of government programs and therefore the incumbent must be tuned and amendable to the direction to which the Government of the day is taking the country.
This is where the Government is most concern when the former Solomon Islander incumbent was clearly working against the Government on the Commission of Inquiry and in doing so working against a very important peace strategy.
If a so-called indigenous Solomon
Islander who is supposed to be concerned about the long-term peace and stability
of this country is working with the Australian Government against the
Do you expect the Government to just fold its hands and give in to the dictates of foreign Governments and do whatever they like? Over my dead body, Mr Speaker. This is my country and I cannot just sit down and allow the Australian Government to continue to bully us over issues of national importance like the proposed Commission of Inquiry.
This is where I find the new Attorney General different. Although he is not an indigenous Solomon Islander, he has more heart for the peace of Solomon Islanders themselves.
In this respect, I am extremely disappointed at the attitude of so-called well to do Solomon Islanders, openly working against their Government, pretending to be concern about issues of good governance.
They ought to be ashamed of themselves. It is obvious that Many Solomon Islanders have yet to come to terms with the problems that this country has gone through and behaving as if things are just normal. This is shocking and I am asking leaders to start acting like real Solomon Islanders.
I guess you have to be in Government
or be even the leader of the Government like the member for
I am surprised and extremely
disappointed that some Solomon Islanders and surprisingly educated Solomon
Islanders cannot simply see the wisdom in what their Government is doing to
address lasting peace in this country but would rather work with the Australian
Government to undermine these very important programs. We should stop calling ourselves Solomon
Islanders and migrate to
My point here Mr
Speaker is, this Government of the people of
It is just common sense, if you cannot work with the Government than it would be simply inappropriate for the Government to continue to keep you in the service. This is common sense and you do not need any formal qualifications to understand.
This is where I find the Country’s new Attorney General different. He is determined like the government to go to the underlying issues that caused this country to collapse in year 2000, which to date have yet to be fully addressed by the Solomon Islands Government in partnership with RAMSI.
It is obviously that
The absurdity about this whole thing, is that Mr Moti has been going in and out of Australia for the last ten years after he was acquitted by the Vanuatu Magistrates Court and yet no attempt was made by the Australian Government to arrest him if indeed the alleged crime committed by Mr Moti was serious as it now appears to be.
The raw truth here, is,
They are prepared to even shoot down their own citizens and tarnish their image as they did with former justice Marcus Einfeld who has given 40 years of outstanding service to the Australian Judiciary, and it is only when he was appointed to head the Commission of Inquiry that he became a criminal.
The Government is aware of a number of high level corruption that were conveniently brushed under the carpet all these years by people who have direct interests in these issues. They are dead scared that if Mr Moti took up the office of the Attorney General, he will expose these corruption.
I must at this floor of the people’s
Parliament condemn in no uncertain terms the latest action of the Australian
Government to arrest
This is a grossly unfriendly act and
a direct attack on our sovereignty, and a disrespect of the constitutionally
established institutions in
It now brings into question the genuiness of Australia’s involvement in the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands and whether it is now time for Solomon Islands Parliament to exercise its powers under the Facilitating Act to review Australia’s participation in RAMSI and may be it is now time to involve other regions in the area of law and order and development of t he Judiciary.
I want to make it abundantly clear on the floor of this Parliament that the Solomon Islands Government will not take this unwarranted attack on our sovereignty lightly and will appropriately respond in due course. What goes around comes around.
The government is aware of a number of high level corruptions that have been suppressed by people who have direct interests on the matter. Until we bring some independence in some of our institutions including the office of the Attorney General these issues will remain shelved.
In fact the government is seriously concerned about what is clearly a strategy of selective justice entertained in this country and unless it is put on check now we will face up with the consequences in the not too distant future.
In this regard the government is seriously concerned about the un-Solomon attitude of some well to do Solomon Islanders and until these people come around to appreciate these problems and where this country is heading we will be forever controlled by foreign governments. A perfect ingredient for revolt and lawlessness.
It needs to be appreciated that what
We would do well to learn from the
lessons of the past. I am extremely
disappointed at the attitude of leaders regarding this matter and as long as I
am in position of responsibility I am determined to fight these injustices and
return the control and ownership of this country to the people of
(vi) The 100 Days Program (allegation of non delivery of Promises.)
The GCCG is for the long haul and does not entertain the childish attitude of political point scoring at the expense of our people. 100 days strategy is nothing more than a load of political garbage which add more to confusing implementers who would in all cases confused with what the government of the day is trying to say in its 100 days program.
We have as you would hear from the speech from the throne delivered by His Excellency that the government has moved forward from its joint policy statements to formulating a work program and a development plan that would address medium and long term strategy of the country.
I would like to take this opportunity to assure all Solomon Islanders that your Government is fully committed to deliver on its development strategies which has as its important focus rural development. We therefore have no time for this motion.
Reference is made by some member of Parliament that GCCG is talking too much about rural development and the bottom up approach to development and yet has delivered very little. This people are either deaf and blind or are simply stubborn and irrational.
This Government is just 5 months old. Rural development and the bottom-up approach to development are a major redirection in national development strategy and need a lot of preparation.
Moreover, it needs a budget to deliver. Most if not all member of the opposition bench and the president of the National Party of Solomon Islands who critized the government openly in the SIBC, are fully aware of the budgetary process. The 2006 budget does not belong to GCCG, and therefore our tired when it comes to the use of the allocations.
So it is simply stupidity for anyone in this Honorable House especially the opposition to insist that the GCCG must deliver on its election promises immediately. I am surprised that people can be so blinded by personal hatred of the Prime Minister that are even willing to throw away their sanity.
Of course the government is entitled to tell the nation what its national development plans and strategies are. Nothing is wrong with that. In fact what we are telling the people of this nation are what we are planning to deliver through the implementation of the 2007 national budget.
That does not need an expert in government finance to appreciate. I can understand if members of the opposition bench and their agents outside criticize the government during the implementation of the 2007 budget. You are barking too early.
(vii) The Australian High Commissioner
The issue of the expulsion of the
former head of the Australian Mission to
I am surprised that some people in
this House continue to discuss this matter and are over protective of the
former head of the Australian mission to
This person does not deserve one
ounce of sympathy. As a guest of this
country he has no right whatsoever to meddle in
As a former Solomon Islands High Commissioner to Australia the member for North Vela la Vella, should remember that Solomon Islands did not make any fuss over the children over board issue, the AWB scandal, the abuse of Aborigines in prison cells, the mishandling of the East Timor intervention, lawlessness in the streets of Sydney and the list goes on.
Just imagine how
(viii) Handpicking People for Appointment to Public Service Posts
I was also accused of handpicking people to fill important posts in the public service. I have this question to ask Mr Speaker. Do we have any good things to talk about? If the leader of the opposition is thinking that the Prime Minister will chicken off and make excuses on this allegation, well I am not.
I stood by the people I appoint to public office. If you can convince me that what I did was illegal I do not see why people are so concern about that style of appointing people to public office.
People who jump up and down on such an issue do so without giving the matter enough thought. There is a tendency to associate such appointments with nepotism, cronyism and corruption. I am fully mindful of that and if it can be of any comfort to anyone, this Prime Minister is not naïve and stupid to be easy prey of people who are so narrow-minded to only look at the negatives in life.
In case we forget, the GCCG is a political grouping that owes its existence to its ability to deliver on its promises. This is a reality that people who are quick to criticize government’s actions on this matter do not appreciate. In fact it is easy to criticize when one is not directly responsible for government’s inaction and failure to deliver.
Political Governments survive or fall on their ability or inability to match their election promises with positive actions.
It is important therefore that the people who are entrusted with the responsibility to assist the government to achieve its election promises are trustworthy and serve the political government with utmost commitment and loyalty.
A sensible way of getting the right people is by way of direct appointment to these important offices.
This is exactly what the government has done in the appointment of the Permanent Secretaries, Attorney General, and political posts in the Prime Minister’s office.
And for the record, I make no apologies whatsoever for taking that action because it is done in the best interest of the Government and its development program.
(ix) Relationship with Colleague Ministers
I was accused for entertaining a dictatorial style of leadership and therefore my relationship with my Ministers and colleagues have deteriorated.
Are we running out of any good reasons to justify the moving of t his motion? I am saying this because I fail to see how I exert my role as the coordinating Minister to amount of dictatorial.
There is a difference between strong leadership and dictatorial Strong leadership carries with it the notion of responsible leadership where error is called by its name and dealt with firmly.
Dictatorial is irresponsible leadership where the ultimate objective is absolute power. I do not see how this Prime Minister could even contemplate such a though when our system of government demands and operates on collective decision making process.
I must refute in the strongest possible terms that I ever exerted my authority over my Ministers to develop an inferior/superior relationship.
I am insulted by such inferences. If the opposition leader is concern about my handling of matters relating to the discipline of members of the group than he is overstepping his jurisdiction.
(x) Failing to address corruption
On the allegation of failing to address corruption, I am surprised that the Leader of the Opposition is accusing the government. We are also concern that the so-called ‘big-fish’ are still walking around. We made it very clear when we took up office that we will cooperate with the RAMSI anti-corruption squad to address corruption.
(xi) The Fear that we may lose (
There are people who are so
entrenched in aid dependency that to move way from it would mean the end of the
world for them. I want to make some very
important positions clear as far as
We are not that cheap. I am not saying that
Unfortunately, while so much is said
about aid assistance from
According to research conducted by Australian Aid Watch, “it is not directed to promoting sustainable development or at alleviating poverty but its primary role openly acknowledged by AusAID is to promote Australia’s National Interest”. End of quote.
The report went on to say that “what this equates to is a “boomerang effect” that sees the majority of aid money (80%) flow back to a small number of Australian Companies and the people of the developing world get left behind. In fact companies like ACIL, GRM, SMEC, and Sagric”. End of quote. I can go on and talk about this matter but I guess I made my point.
Just look at this country. We are victims of a aid management strategy by and donors since we became a nation. We are carried away with the huge amount mentioned that we forget to do something for ourselves.
This syndrome also creates a careless attitude in developing countries as manifested in the pathetic way we are managing our natural resources. Despite this, we continue to be parasites. I guest what I am saying here is if we are to take this country forward, we must learn to grow our of the aid dependency syndrome.
In fact aid is becoming an effective instrument of foreign control. You do as say or lose aid.
On the basis of the arguments I have presented before this House, the only sensible conclusion as to the real motive of this motion by the Opposition is to please the Australian Government.
I am saying this because the domestic and foreign media were littered with the same issues that the leader of the opposition was moaning and groaning about in the media in support of them.
He is now using the same issues in this honorable house to justify his argument to vote the duly elected Prime Minister of t his country out of office. I find his reasoning totally absurd to say the least because it directly contradicts his claim of caring about the future of this country.
I am total disappointed that the opposition group who present themselves as the alternative government or government in waiting as the Leader of Opposition puts I can be so selfish and arrogant so as to place the interest of foreign forces before the interest of this country. In taking that position the opposition group has declared itself before this House totally unfit to lead this country.
Their real agenda is to place this country further in the hands of foreigners. I am not surprised because that was exactly what they did during their term in office.
They were so careless to the extent of giving the full authority to run this country to foreign governments who hide behind the guise of having concern for the welfare of Solomon Islanders when in fact they were really concern about their own strategic interests. That is gross carelessness.
With all these no body in his right frame of mind would lend his support to this motion. As long as I am in this position I will continue to ensure that the country’s sovereignty is protected.
I have done nothing wrong, my actions and decisions are as open book for all to see. I have adhered to the principles of Cabinet Government system and put the interest of this country before my own. Accordingly, I oppose this motion.