NATIONAL PARLIAMENT OF SOLOMON ISLANDS

 

DAILY HANSARD

 

EIGHTH PARLIAMENT - SECOND MEETING

 

THURSDAY 12TH OCTOBER 2006

 

 


The Speaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter Kenilorea took the Chair at 9.30 a.m.

 

Prayers.

 

ATTENDANCE

 

At prayers all were present with the exception of the Ministers for Agriculture and Livestock, the Minister for Home Affairs, the Minister for Provincial Government and the Members for

 

 

 

PRESENTATION OF PAPERS

 

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

 

Mr Kwanairara:  Mr Speaker, first of all before I ask my question, I would like to raise the question of quorum.

 

Mr Speaker:  I would assume that that is an objection to proceed without a quorum, which means we will have to wait for 15 minutes.

 

The House waits 15 minutes for quorum

 

28.               Mr KWANAIRARA to the Minister for Commerce, Industries and Employment:  Can the Honourable Minister inform Parliament and the people of this nation as to how many foreigners are living illegally due to expired visas and work permits?

 

Hon AGOVAKA:  Mr Speaker, the number of people living illegally in Solomon Islands with expired work permits amounted to 26 people.

            With regards to expired visitors permit and expired permit to enter and reside in Solomon Islands, Mr Speaker, as of the 5th October 2006 the number of visitors permit who are now illegally living here is 12 and the number of foreigners living illegally with expired permits to enter and reside in Solomon Islands is 120. 

 

Mr Kwanairara:  Mr Speaker, is the Minister and his office taking any action against those who are living illegally in Solomon Islands in regards to the numbers he has revealed to us?

 

Hon Agovaka:  Mr Speaker, my Department is working on this at the moment.  Our enforcement unit is working now to finding the people and getting them to either renew their permits or to leave the country.

 

Mr Kwanairara:  Is it okay for these people to still live in our country now that we know they are living illegally in our country or are we going to do something about it immediately?  We have to treat this as urgent.

 

Hon Agovaka:  Mr Speaker, no it is not okay and not right that they should live illegally in our country, hence our enforcement unit is working in trying to either get them to renew their work permits or their residency permit or to deport or send them away.

 

Mr Kwanairara:  Mr Speaker, I wish to thank the Minister for his answers.  But before I sit down I would like to say that it is in the government’s court to do something immediately because we have seen these people breaking our laws by living illegally in our country, but why are we still entertaining them and allowing them to stay here.  There are laws that we must uphold in such a situation otherwise these people are going to play up with the immigrations laws of our country.  Thank you.

 

Question 29 deferred

 

36.               Mr RINI to the Honourable Prime Minister:  Can the Prime Minister inform Parliament of the following:

 

(a)                Number of political appointees in the Prime Minister’s political office?

(b)                What salary structure are they being paid under?

 

Hon SOGAVARE:  Mr Speaker, the answer is 16 political appointees, the same number as the last government, this government maintained the same number. 

The salary scales are: four political appointees are paid equivalent to Permanent Secretary Level.  The rest are political secretaries and are paid an undersecretary level.  Their salary scales are the same as the public service.

 

Mr Rini:  Mr Speaker, I thank the Prime Minister for answering the questions.

 

37.               Mr RINI to the Honourable Minister for Education and Human Resources Development:  Can the Minister inform Parliament whether grants to primary schools for the first, second and third quarters of this year have been paid?

 

Hon SIKUA:  Mr Speaker, I would like to thank my good friend, the Member for Marovo for the question.

            Mr Speaker, grants to primary schools for the first and second quarter have already been paid to all schools through their respective education authorities. 

Grants for the third quarter have been raised and are currently with the Ministry of Finance awaiting payment, and the payment is for a total of $5.4 million.  Thank you.

 

Mr FONO:  Supplementary question.  Mr Speaker, has the government put in place any mechanism in ensuring these grants are used properly by the primary schools?  Is there a mechanism in place by the government for auditing of school records in the usage of these grants?

I am asking this question because I have information that quite a lot of these grants have been misused by the headmasters of schools. 

I would like to know if the Minister or the Government has any mechanism or any arrangement that these grants are properly accounted for by our primary schools.

 

Hon Sikua:  Mr Speaker, during last year and the rest of this year, the Ministry of Education staff have been busy training school committees and school headmasters on how to manage these grants.  There has been a lot of effort by the Ministry to ensure these grants are spent properly. 

The training is also in line with our attempts at the secondary level through the assistance of the European Union.

 

Mr Rini:  Mr Speaker, a lot of schools have complained that these grants are paid to education authorities, and education authorities sometimes delay giving the grants to the schools. 

Is the Ministry in a position to change the system so that it pays the grants direct to the schools or is it still going to make payments through the various education authorities?

 

Hon Sikua:  Mr Speaker, ideally the Ministry would like to pay these grants directly to the school’s bank accounts as it is doing for all secondary schools.  But as you know, Mr Speaker, we are talking about 553 primary schools, most of which are out in the rural areas with no banking facilities.  So the way for us to go is to go through their education authorities.  But ideally we would want to pay these grants directly to school accounts.

 

Mr Rini:  Mr Speaker, I thank the Honourable Minister for his answers.

 

29.               Mr KWANAIRARA to the Honourable Minister of Education and Human Resources:  Can the Honourable Minister inform Parliament as to the progress and the status of its discussions with the University of the South Pacific regarding the establishment of a third campus in Solomon Islands?

 

Hon SIKUA:  Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the Member for North Malaita for his question.

            Firstly, as all of us are aware, we are not discussing a third campus but we are talking about a USP Campus in Solomon Islands.

            The Ministry has had discussions with the USP pro-Vice-Chancellor Regional regarding establishing a campus in Honiara.  As a result of this, the parties have agreed in principle, subject to Cabinet approval, to establish a campus on the SICHE Panatina Campus.

            The first phase of the new development will accommodate the expanded USP Study Centre as well as supporting a network of provincial study centres.  A draft memorandum of understanding between the Solomon Islands Government and the Ministry of Education is with the Ministry for comment, and this ensures a close cooperation with the College of Higher Education.

            Right now, Mr Speaker, we are waiting for a technical team to come and have a look at the Panatina site and come up with the physical drawings in order for us to come up with the costs to build into next year’s budget.         

 

Mr KENGAVA:  Mr Speaker, whilst the Government is now in the process of bringing in the USP to establish its campus in Solomon Islands, are there any plans or provision in the memorandum to indicate that one day the Solomon Islands Government takes over that campus?

 

Hon Sikua:  Mr Speaker, as a member country of the University of the South Pacific, the University belongs to Solomon Islands.  But in terms of transforming the College of Higher Education into a university college, the second phase of establishing the USP Campus will involve position papers and the plans to transform the College of Higher Education into a university college. 

 

Mr Kwanairara:  Mr Speaker, I wish to thank the Minister for his answers.

 

MOTIONS

 

(Debate on the Sine Die Motion as amended yesterday resumes)

 

Sir KEMAKEZA:  Thank you Mr Speaker, for allowing the Member of Parliament for Savo/Russells to take the floor first this morning to debate this very important and customary motion as amended.

            In doing so, Mr Speaker, let me pay courtesy to every one who participated in this very important Parliament Meeting.

            First of all, I would like to thank His Excellency the Governor General for delivering the Speech from the Throne.  This again, goes down in history.  

I would like to inform His Excellency, being a former politician, that Members who debated the Speech have every respect for His Excellency, especially myself.  In debating the speech I have every respect for His Excellency the Governor General.  Mr Speaker, he was my candidate for that important post and so he has my highest respect for being in that office, in the person himself, and also his good lady.

            Yourself, Mr Speaker, I must thank you for a great job done, especially in guiding the deliberations of this House during this very important meeting of Parliament.  Without your leadership in that chair, Mr Speaker, we Members of Parliament sometimes go astray or are naughty at times.  But I thank you for your quality leadership in that chair in keeping this meeting to run smoothly.

            Likewise I also thank the Clerk to National Parliament, Mr Speaker, for an excellent job she has been doing on behalf of our office in the preparation of papers and business of the House.  This is also extended to staff of the National Parliament.

            The Prime Minister must also be thanked for the government business, and for his acceptance of my comments and concerns raised. I thank my good friend, the Prime Minister for his able leadership and dispatching of parliament business in collaboration with your office, Mr Speaker, as well as the Clerk’s Office.

            Sir, I must also thank the Ministers for answering questions from the Member of Parliament for Savo/Russells.  Sometimes answers are not right but I accept that.  I ask them that next time they must give proper answers rather than give guess answers because the Parliament does not belong to the 50 Members but it belongs to more than half a million people of Solomon Islands, and they deserve the Parliament to inform them of true information, facts and figures.  So Ministers, you must do better next time.  But I thank them.

            My Leader of the Opposition must also be thanked even though there have been a lot of firing from the left, right and centre.  But I must congratulate him for the steps he has taken, and also for still keeping his solid 17 Members of the Opposition.  I thank the Leader of the Opposition as well as the Leader of the Independent Group.  I thank you for your support as well as for your Members.

            I must also thank the government backbenchers for the support you have given to the government to lead our nation forward, and in the right way and not the crooked way.

I must also thank Members of Parliament from both the Opposition and Independent Group for their support in giving a good opposition to the government, and not personalising things.  We are talking about national issues concerning our country and people.

Mr Speaker, I would also like to thank the Commissioner of Police and his officers of the Royal Solomon Islands Police for providing security and ensuring the enforcement of law and order and public order.  I thank the Commissioner and his staff for a great job they have done.

I also wish to thank the RAMSI National Coordinator Mr Speaker, and the Participating Police Force for providing security for this meeting of Parliament.  They have done a great job in the maintenance of law and order and ensuring our citizens follow the rule of law and also respect Parliament.  Likewise I also thank the army personnel for back up services.  I thank them for not giving threat to the nation but assure the nation and people of this country that law and order has to be respected.

I would also like to thank the media. Although my good friend, the Prime Minister has bombarded the media, Mr Speaker, I would like to thank them for a great job done in providing information to the general populace as well as to the outside world.  I thank both the local and overseas media for their participation in disseminating information about Parliament to the people.

The churches must also be thanked, Mr Speaker, for their continuous prayers and support to their government, and especially the Parliament, and the general populace of this country.  I thank them for their prayers.

Mr Speaker, I must not forget to thank our traditional leaders for their concern of this nation by continuing to keep together their people according to our customs, cultures, norms and values of our country, which is the origin of all of us on this floor of Parliament.  

The development partners cannot be left out to be acknowledged by the Member for Savo/Russells Mr Speaker.  I thank them for the great assistance they have given to us despite whatever we might call them.  They have done a great job before and after independence with the successive governments up to the present government, and so I wish to thank them for that.

I also have to acknowledge the Resident Embassies in the country for their understanding on whatever is taking place on this floor of Parliament.  Although they may have been bombarded in some of our debates, they continue to support us.  And so I thank them for their understanding.

An important sector – the private sector also deserve acknowledgement from the Member of Savo/Russells for their participation in the progress and development of this country.

I also wish to thank the market producers Mr Speaker, both the exporters and importers and our local producers for helping us to survive.

Mr Speaker, lastly but not the least I would like to thank my own people of Savo/Russells.  I would like to tell them that their Member is still well and alive, and representing them very well on this floor of Parliament despite whatever may come.

Mr Speaker, I must not forget my good families who have always been with me during very difficult times.  I must acknowledge them for their understanding.  Mr Speaker, I thank every one.

Mr Speaker, this Parliament Meeting is quite a short meeting compared to other meetings of Parliament.  I thank the Government for bringing to Parliament only two bills and a resolution that will allow the Government to continue spend money in the first quarter of next year.

The two bills are very important bills, one of which is the Supplementary Appropriation Bill which will continue to assist our people, especially the Poverty Alleviation Fund Bill that we have not discussed.  That is disappointing to me.

I am disappointed because that bill is a missing factor at this Meeting in that we do not recognise the Minister of Finance introducing this bill.  I guess without this bill being brought to Parliament, we would not be able to disburse this fund because there are no set rules or guidelines for us to follow in its disbursement.  But I was informed by the Minister of Mines, who was my former Secretary to Cabinet that there is a provision available that we can go by to disburse the funds.  If that is true then I thank him for that assurance.

Mr Speaker, the other disappointment, of course, during this Meeting is the 2007 budget, which should have been brought before this Parliament at this Meeting, which is the right time.  That is one of my disappointments during this meeting.

I say this because in the first quarter of next year we would want to spend as much as possible in relation to the very good bottom-up approach policy of the government, and we are losing very precious time in the first quarter of next year. 

Mr Speaker, as you know the first quarter will take us up to June.  And by the time the 2007 budget is passed, official arrangements will have to be made as well before the Minister of Finance signs the warrant, and it will be in June/July next year before we can realize it. 

Operational services will go ahead but development projects normally takes time, and that is why I endorsed the comments by the Member for Ranogga/Simbo yesterday that it is going to be questionable.  I am not saying the government does not have the political will to do it, Mr Speaker, but practically it is going to be quite impossible.  So that is my disappointment because we should have disposed the 2007 budget at this meeting, giving time to Ministers to make their preparations.

Another thing that is also missing is that Ministers have no work programs or the government overall.  They only have statements of policy. 

Why don’t you have something like this?

 

(shows them a book)

 

This is the work program of my ministry when I was a minister.  This is mine.  I am expecting something like this from the Ministers so that they know the time frame it will take them in working towards the program, they will know how much money it will cost, they will know what sort of amendment to any law is required, and they should know the location of all the developments.

By having a time frame, Ministers should be able to know whether the projects are going to be implemented from January up to February or whether it is going to be overlapped into 2008?  That is the sort of work program I am talking about.

Mr Speaker, a statement of policy is only a skeleton.  There is no meat inside it.  I expect the Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and the Prime Minister to do some work.  It seems like you do not have a compass to guide you in your journey.  It is like a ship without a compass.  That is what I meant.  I hope they are going to produce one next year after these estimates.

Mr Speaker, that is one of my disappointments.  Papers should have been tabled before Parliament as reports.  Where are the reports of the Department of Peace, Reconciliation, Department of Lands and Survey, Department of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Department of Education, Human Resources Development, Trade and Commerce, Mines and Energy, Works & Infrastructure?  I want to see your reports.  Put them on this floor of Parliament for the information of Members of Parliament.  That is what I was expecting from Ministers.  You have been in the office for nine months already but you have not delivered anything yet.

Mr Speaker, I am not talking about the natural delivery but delivering of services required of us and expected from my good government.

I must rebuff here, Mr Speaker, the statement by the Prime Minister yesterday that my administration has wasted four years.  Goodness me!  My Prime Minister you better withdraw that statement.

 

(laughter)

 

I have done a great job for this nation Mr Speaker, despite of my limitations.  Have a bit of courtesy, Mr Speaker, by just thanking the Member for Savo/Russells.

 

(hear, hear)

 

Mr Speaker, he did not acknowledge me yesterday.  I had flu and so I did not come to Parliament yesterday afternoon because sometimes the air conditioning is not good for my health.  I only heard him acknowledge me as his Deputy Prime Minister for achieving the Ceasefire Agreement and so on, but I did not hear him acknowledge me as a prime minister.

            I achieved the Townsville Peace Agreement for him and I also achieved the Marau Peace Agreement for his leadership, as I was duty bound to do so.  I took my oath of allegiance to serve nothing but the state.  And in this case why are doing that? 

I thank you for your appreciation of me as your deputy yesterday except that you never appreciated my four years of leadership as prime minister.

 

(hear, hear)

 

When you reply you must say something to that effect.  

 

(laughter)

 

I expect some acknowledgements from the Prime Minister because I did good things for him, and I also did something, which I do not want to be proud of myself because God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble, and so I will humble myself.

            Mr Speaker, I still continue with my disappointment on the business of this meeting.  We did not discuss the Millennium Bill although it went through its first reading.  I do not know why but was it because of the motion of no confidence?  But you should have confidence on yourself from day one, Mr Speaker, and so why worry?  What is the Government worrying about?  You have the number to run this country in the next four years.  

But mind you if you listen to the statement of the Prime Minister yesterday, and I was listening whilst lying down in my house, and I hear him said this.  He said and I quote: “I am only relieving the Member of Parliament for Ranogga/Simbo, but very soon I am going to take him back to Cabinet”.  Which one of you Ministers is going to be sacked tomorrow?  He is the boss.  What sort of department are you going to give to the Member for Ranogga/Simbo, Mr Speaker, if you say you are going to take him back?  This means one of you Ministers will be relieved from your responsibilities.  Mark my words!

            Are you just sitting down there not listening to the words of our boss?  Very soon some Ministers will be displaced.  No wonder, Mr Speaker, most Opposition Members who are now on the other side and become backbenchers are going to relieve some of the Ministers.  It will be a good change for the Prime Minister.  That is politics, Mr Speaker.  In politics you do not have permanent friend and you do not have permanent enemy.

 

(hear, hear)

 

Do you think the Prime Minister will tap your back?  No, if you do not do your work, and he said it yesterday, if you do not perform to the expectation of his leadership, and you breach some of these provisions, surely and definitely you will be relieved. You will be relieved and you will be an enemy to the Prime Minister. 

Whichever Minister is going to be sacked next time and become an enemy to the Prime Minister, just come over and sit at my back on this side.  This is your place.  Just like what I did to my very good brother and colleague, the Minister of Fisheries who was relieved but ran away to the Opposition side, and so he is going to come back to the Opposition again. 

That is an example.  I am not saying he is going to be sacked.  No, he is a hard working minister and we have confidence in him.  He is one of the hard working Members of Parliament.  He used to be my Minister for Foreign Affairs; my Minister for Provincial Government, Minister for Planning and so on.  I have very great respect for my colleague, the Minister and also my brother and wantok, the former Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources.  Not like my uncle the Minister for Education and Human Resources who was also my Permanent Secretary during that time.  But I have every trust and confidence in him, not like the Member for Ngella.

            Mr Speaker, those are my disappointments during this meeting because a few important businesses were not tabled in Parliament as expected, and this Meeting is a good time for the government to make preparations. 

Preparations must be done in good time, as you know it yourself, Mr Speaker.  Mr Speaker, you lead about two, three or four governments, and you are a great man.  You have been a Prime Minister for may be about three or four times, and so you deserve the way you are now today.

            Sir, but let me warn this government.  The first year is usually preparation time, and that is this year.  You should make preparations this year.  Next year you only need money, you need amendment to acts and whatever to implement your policies.  The third year is to see whether the policies work or not. 

But I warn this government that nothing is going to happen, it is not going to achieve anything until we go for the election in 2010.  That is why I am saying that you should prepare now.  You must put all the ground work in place now and put in the money.  But where is the money?  That is why I said yesterday, Mr Speaker, in my contribution to the motion of no confidence that your approach is to develop the 50 constituencies.  But where is the substation for Rennell and Bellona Constituency, Mr Speaker?  Where are houses for public officers going down there to live in to ensure that your structure works?  Where is the wharf, the road and bridge for Shortlands?  Where is the water supply and electricity for South Guadalcanal?

 

(hear, hear)

 

And where is the headquarters for Savo/Russells?

            Mr Speaker, that is the structure we have been talking about in here giving high expectations to our people.  That is just wishful thinking.  That is what I meant by preparation.  So that when this program is implemented, people in East Makira would already have an office, the staffs are there already, the road is already there to do the job and so forth. 

Because if these functions are still going to be centralized here in Honiara, meaning  you work from Honiara down to the constituencies to work then just forget about it.  Or if you think that it would be in the provincial headquarters that you will sit down to do it then also forget about it too. 

We must send it down now to the 50 constituencies.  In fact, 47 constituencies, forget about Honiara, it is adequately developed.  I ask the Prime Minister to make sure that it is only 47.

            I am only thinking about the 47 constituencies or if not reduce it by nine as well.  Forget about places like Kirakira, Tulagi, Gizo and Auki.  The Members of those places do not need it because they already have roads, headquarters and houses there.  We should give it to the very remote and isolated places where there are no communications such as telephones, radio etc.  That is where the Prime Minister should give assistance, Mr Speaker.

            No wonder the Prime Minister already has his program in place - the Rob Roy development.  He produced this during my time except that it did not get through because the investors who were supposed to come and assist at that time did not come.  I hope he will continue with it as it is a very good development Mr Speaker.  That is a very good plan.  That is what I mean, Mr Speaker.

            Where are the plans for West Kwara’ae, West Makira, Central Guadalcanal, North East Guadalcanal, Temotu Nende, West Are Are, Fataleka, Lau/Mbaelelea, and Temotu Vattu?  This is what I meant by work programs. 

There is a need for 50 substations.  And this is preparation time.  Anyway, forget about it.

            Sir, those are my disappointments during this meeting. I think you should give more to Parliament to chew and eat.

            On the motion of no confidence, Mr Speaker, I want to say as I have said yesterday that I have very high respect for the Prime Minister.  I can understand very well how the family thinks about this as experienced during the four motions of no confidence against my administration, and because of that Mr Prime Minister, be of comfort.  You have gone passed the bar, and so continue to do good work. 

If there is anything the Member for Savo/Russells may have said yesterday, it is not personal.  There is nothing personal about the motion on my good friend, the Prime Minister.  The same also goes to government Ministers that if there is anything I said that may have been a slip of the tongue then forgive me.  The same also goes to government backbenchers, its supporters and associates.  The Member for Savo/Russells apologies for anything he might have said during the motion of no confidence.

            Mr Speaker, we all have goals, aims and objectives for this nation.  That is the purpose for our being here on the floor of Parliament.  Our goal and responsibility on this floor of Parliament is to make sure Solomon Islands is a better place for all of us to live in.  Our goal is also to make sure this country is prosperous for people of Solomon Islands, and our friends who want to come and stay with us, our investors, and more especially our future generation.  No more, no less.  We do not want Solomon Islands to become a hostile country.

            Mr Speaker, we must not repeat the recent past because that would be a great mistake our children and grandchildren will never forget.  That is my warning.  We have to make Solomon Islands a better place where peace and harmony exist, a better place for us to live in, to be happy, a place where we make things grow and move so that we have prosperous future.

            Mr Speaker, it is yourself who accepted it on our behalf, and we continue to endorse what you have accepted for us on the 7th July 1978.  I congratulate you for that.  Sir, you accepted us to become one of the families of this world – a family of nations in this beautiful world given to us by God for better or for worse.

            Mr Speaker, since 7 July 1978 we accepted to be part of this world, which means we must abide to the conventions, protocols and treaties and to be part and parcel of organizations such as the United Nations, the World Trade Organisation, the World Health Organisation, the Commonwealth, the South Pacific, the Melanesian Spearhead, the South Pacific Commission and the list goes on.  This country is part and parcel of international and regional organisations.

We have accepted to be the independent sovereign nation of Solomon Islands.  And because we are part of this world, we just have to accept and abide by the conventions, the rules, the laws, regulations, memorandum of understandings, and communiqués.

            Mr Speaker, I still have with me a booklet you wrote after the declaration of declaration called “Interdependence”.  What wisdom that is from you, Sir.  However, some people just cannot learn.  They always forget history.  We rely on each other because one cannot go without the other.

            Mr Speaker, I hear an advertisement on the radio that says if anyone is found assaulting or bashing his wife would be arrested by the Police.  This is true.  This law is now being strongly enforced at this time.  Anyone who slaps, fights or butchers his good wife will be taken to court for criminal offence.  That is what I meant by saying that we cannot go without the other.  This is the family of nations - a family that all of us in one way or another came out from.  

I must thank and congratulate the Prime Minister for participating at the United Nations General Assembly.  I attended once or twice of such a meeting I think, but the Foreign Affairs Minister often attends that one.  That is what I meant by us being part and parcel of the family of nations.  Therefore, I want to ask the government to please honor, respect and obey our obligations, because you are sure to be disciplined.

            Mr Speaker, Leader of the Opposition mentioned in his speech yesterday that this country will repeat Zimbabwe.  I never criticize the government without giving any alternatives.  If you are unable to give any alternatives then that is how you think.  When I say that you do not do this and that, I always give a bit of advice on what to do.  But I will come back to that later.

            Mr Speaker, what I am saying here is that we must respect conventions and protocols.  Because when two things take us away we will forget about it.  And these two things are power and money.  Power and money!  Sometimes those two things misplace us including myself too. 

Usually when I have a lot of money in my pocket, and I think I am a Member of Parliament, I will go to places that I have never been to before.  That is a fact of life.  I can go to places that I have never been to before because I can pay my fare to go to Australia or New Zealand.  I can say I am going to New Zealand when in reality I slept in a hotel here.  Those are just examples.  Some of us who drink too much will spend our money drinking because there is a lot of money but very little is spent on food.

            Mr Speaker, but I can justify that one because you do not drink.  I can drink but I normally drink once a week or may be once in two weeks.   The money I spent on drinks is minimal than the money I spent on food for my family because I have to eat in the morning, at midday, and in the evenings and sometimes in the middle of the night when I am hungry I have to eat.  And so I spent more money on food.  And so if I drink once a week or once every two weeks then it is justified. We normally change color very quickly, Mr Speaker.  We think that we own the world much more than others.  We think we can go anywhere, Mr Speaker.  But that is a fallacy. 

            Mr Speaker, we start to forget the welfare of our people and country.  We forget about our people and the nation. We forget what we said to our people during campaign time that when we become their MP we will go back to them.  Some of us never visit our constituencies for the last nine months. 

You better go back, Mr Speaker.  You better go back because you will be judged after four years.   Mind you, our opponents are watching our performances and behaviors very carefully during these four years.  If we get back there we are going to be bulleted and there is no way but we sure will lose.  What sort of shop do you find this so that some of us will go and buy it?

We forget about our friends too, Mr Speaker.  We also forget about organizations and the future of this country.  Sometimes we even forget about our own families, and also forget about the recent past.  We have already forgotten the ethnic tension that has swept this country, and after which we have only taken back this country.  It is like someone who has just come out of the hospital, still unable to walk and run and we tell him to go back to the hospital.  No, Mr Speaker! 

We forget about our origin and we forget about our customs and cultures too.  Do you know why, Mr Speaker?  It is because of the two things I have mentioned making this world complicated and quite challenging. 

If somebody says this world is so big and wide and so contains more sweetness then he is not a human being.  He must be living in a different planet and not this world.  This world is quite challenging, Mr Speaker, and we cannot meet these challenges ourselves.  No, we need each other.  We need our people.  We need each other - the 50 Members of Parliament need each other. 

We need you too, Mr Speaker, for your wisdom for the great asset of this country.  We need our development partners.  We need our business friends.  We need our organisations to form part of us so that together we shall take this country forward.  Remember the motto?  You are also the architect of the constitution.  The motto is “United we stand divided we fall”.  What a great motto.

            Mr Speaker, sometimes we are carried away.  We sometimes forget God too.  We have been carried away.  We forget about the Ten Commandments too.  I said in my debate last time that it is ten, but the Minister of Finance said only one.  There are Ten Commandments but only two are very important. That is what I said at that time. 

He said I am the way, the truth and the life, and I said yes, it is alright but remember, love your neighbour as yourself.  Love your neighbor because he is just like you.  If you hate him it is not right.  Those of you who learn about this know this very well. 

            The second one is, do not take the name of God in vain.  Some of you seemed to preach in here yesterday.  You are lucky that I was not here yesterday otherwise I would have interjected telling you that if you want to preach go to the church and preach there. 

What I am saying is that we have forgotten what we said to our people during campaign time promising them we are going to deliver to them.

            Mr Speaker, it is important to know our identities, and I have already covered this today.  Our identity is our custom and culture, which we must respect at all costs. 

On sovereignty, I think this has been covered quite well by some speakers, and so I do not wish to touch on it.

            Our relationship is very important.  Some of you on this floor of Parliament have studied in Australia, New Zealand, England, America and other Pacific Island nations.  You yourself, Mr Speaker, also studied in New Zealand.  So do you went to study in those countries gaining good things and then you come back and call them rubbish people, Mr Speaker?  Is that human courtesy? 

Do unto others as you would like them do to you.   For good things given to you, reciprocate that good thing.  Do not turn around and slap them on the face because that would be inhuman.  That is not human courtesy.

            England ruled this country for 85 years after which we had our independence and now we are telling them to go back.  The United States and Japan came to fight each other over here and after the war ended we tell them that is rubbish. 

No Mr Speaker, we must maintain our relationship with them, as I have said.  We should work together with all the countries that we have diplomatic relations with. 

I do not know this government’s policy because I forgot to read it, but the policy of the Minister of Foreign Affairs is still to come out.  I think he still maintains that we are friends to all and enemy to none.  It must start from you, Mr Speaker.  We must be friends to all and enemy to none.  Sir, we must not create enmity, Mr Speaker with other countries.

            Coming back home, Mr Speaker, we are just one country and one people.  That is my last warning, and then I give it to others.  We are one country and one people.  We have one constitution, one national anthem and one national flag.  Mr Speaker, that symbolizes us as one country. 

Please, Mr Speaker, I call on you colleague brothers in the National Parliament, all provincial governments, our traditional leaders, the churches and all stakeholders, to keep this unity because that is surely going to be a bright future for Solomon Islands.

            Mr Speaker, the moment we are divided, the moment we direct our people in wrong directions, the moment we make decisions that causes confrontation we are going to create an atmosphere that will one day distort this nation. 

Please, Mr Speaker, as much as possible we must pray to God that this does not happen because I am starting to smell and to see smoke coming out of the thick bush.  Therefore, before the fire consumes the grass and then goes on to consume our houses and comes on to consume this floor of Parliament, let us do something to redirect and put this country into the right direction that will pull everybody together as one people, one nation, one constitution, one national flag, one national anthem, called the Solomon Islands.

            Remember, Mr Speaker, there are intermarriages already taking place in the country. People of Western Province are already in Savo, and people of Savo are already in East Are Are.  The people of Temotu are also in Russells already and people of Makira are also in Savo as well as people of Malaita. 

Then there are inter-lineages too.  Some people of Malaita own Isabel.  Some people of Guadalcanal also have land in Savo, and people of Savo too have land in Guadalcanal.  Some Malaitans own land in Ngella too.  It was how our people interacted and moved before us that makes up the beauty of Solomon Islands. 

No wonder, Mr Speaker, God created Solomon Islands although we have a lot of diversities, a country of scattered islands and yet God has united us to be one people and one country.  We also have a common language, which is pidgin.  Please, let us not destroy this nation. 

We have had enough.  We have suffered enough.  We have experiences enough, you and I.  A lot of our innocent people have already died. 

Finally Mr Speaker, from the Member of Parliament of Savo/Russells and from the people of Savo/Russells and my family, since this is the last meeting of Parliament before the Christmas and New Year, I would like to pass on my greetings on behalf of my people and family because we will not be here until 2007.

            To begin with, Mr Speaker, let me start off with His Excellency the Governor General and his good lady.  I wish His Excellency the Governor General and His good lady and children a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

            The same goes to you, Mr Speaker.  My well wishes and greetings and that of my family and people to you, your lady and your children.  We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year 2007.

            The same goes to the Clerk, your good husband and the children.  Please accept our wishes since we will not be on this floor until Christmas and the New Year.  And so you deserve my greetings.

            To the Prime Minister, your good wife and children, please accept greetings from your brother, the Member for Savo/Russells, my people and my family. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.  Take our country forward during these challenging and confusing times.  I believe and have confidence that the Prime Minister and his team can take this country forward. 

            To the Ministers and your good families, accept my greetings as well.  To the backbenchers of government and their good families, I also give you my greetings for this festive season.  Not forgetting, of course, the hardworking Leader of the Opposition, his good wife and children.  Also the Leader of the Independent too, who is not here but accept my greetings, as it will go down in the Hansard Report, my appreciation and courtesy to all of you.

            I cannot go pass the hard working members of the opposition side of the House.  My colleagues, keep the solidarity.  Keep watching our brothers on the other side but accept my Christmas greetings here.

            I am also a paramount chief, Mr Speaker, and that is why I have courtesy for all of you my colleagues from my people of Savo/Russells and that of my family.  I wish you all Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.

            Mr Speaker, I also wish to pass my greetings to Permanent Secretaries of all departments and staff under their command for keeping the operations of the country going on and working together with the government, including staff of the National Parliament.

To the Coordinator of RAMSI, the Participating Police Forces, the Commissioner of Police and the Royal Solomon Islands Police and their good families, Christmas greetings and a prosperous new year to all of you.  

The media, the churches, traditional leaders as well as the business sectors, my best wishes to all of them.  Without them, Mr Speaker, as I said, forget about this.

            Mr Speaker, I also give my greetings to the Resident High Commissioners, the manufacturers, and everybody in Solomon Islands, not forgetting of course, from me personally to my people of Savo/Russells, my Christmas greetings to all of you. 

I have been doing this every time, and this is the fifth time I won my seat in Parliament and I have been doing this all the time.

            Some of you on the government side have been saying that a few senior politicians on this side have been in Parliament for too long and yet they still do not know how to do things.  Mr Speaker, yesterday I told you that if you want me to tap your back it is only fitting that you do not come to Parliament.  This Parliament is a place for you and me to argue, it is a meeting place but when we go outside we are brothers again and everything we say inside in here is finished and forgotten.  That is why I said sorry earlier on that if I have done that then accept my apology.  This time I am giving every one of you greetings from the Master.

            Finally to my own family, who may be are listening or not as they might be right now in the bush at home, I give them my greetings.  I will also be going home after this meeting, may be tomorrow or if not on Saturday. 

Mr Speaker, those are my greetings to all of you.  We shall all go back to our respective constituencies to see our people and to come back again and see each other in 2007.

            Mr Speaker, God bless Solomon Islands and its people, those who come and help us and those who come and live with us.  Together we will take Solomon Islands forward, Mr Speaker.

            With these, I support the motion.

 

Hon KAUA:  Thank you Mr Speaker, for giving me the floor to contribute to this motion of sine die.

            At the outset, may I sincerely thank you for your able and admirable style of leadership in controlling and conducting the affairs of Parliament ensuring that all of us adhere to the sets of rules and procedures governing the affairs of parliamentary proceedings.

            Obviously, it is not an easy task but one that demands patience, tolerance, perseverance and dedication to be able to deal with 50 individuals who have different perceptions and interests based on ideologies often than not reflecting one’s interest.  Self promotion, political expediency, and what is constituted as a collective interest significant to the very essence expected of this highest decision making body of the land.

            I once again take this opportunity to congratulate His Excellency who graciously accorded his obligation in undertaking the responsibility of performing the task of delivering the Speech from the Throne in opening the newly elected Parliament of Solomon Islands after the general elections early this year.

            I wish also to extend my profound congratulations to your staff for their hard work and tireless efforts in having to tolerate the pressure of ensuring the business of Parliament were on schedule, particularly the Hansard staff for their long hours of work in producing the minutes of proceedings of Parliament.  Their spouses and children are to be acknowledged and thanked for bearing the responsibility at home and allowing the staff to attend to their official duties long hours during nights.

            I would like also, Mr Speaker, to thank the Permanent Secretaries for their efforts in preparing bills and other related documents pertaining to Parliament Business were done on time.  I wish to extend my profound congratulations to each and every individual Member of Parliament for their invaluable contributions, though little it may be, that makes the meeting lively, interesting and worthwhile.

            Mr Speaker, the present Parliament has just had two meetings since the general elections early this year.  We have had the hardest time in the history of politics in this nation.  Some of the subsequent events that occurred were unheard of and unbearable by certain fabrics of our society.  These events were perceived to be difficult by many critics both regionally and in the international arena.  Perhaps when one reflects back to history the legacy in colonised world worldwide is no way difference to what Solomon Islands experienced this year.

            Many of the countries that have once been colonized have gone through the same difficulties in the process of maturity and self fulfillment in discovering oneself and strive to have a better life in order to enjoy a bright future.

            Mr Speaker, to achieve those objectives successfully, subsequent governments have been struggling so hard to put in place sets of ideologies, processes and approaches considered to be ideal in their pursuance of contributing to seek a better way of how to arrive at our final destiny.  Hence successive governments have produced what they termed as programs of action or policies in determining the way forward. 

What is considered good for our people and country?  We have adopted the concept of a five year plan made in the recent past.  To date there was self emphasis in adopting what is known as programs of action.  If one examines these documents, Mr Speaker, one will discover the style and use of words are different, but the objectives and principles in advancing those noble intentions remain the same.

In other words, there is nothing to be alarmed of when some of the speakers have alluded to express their concerns over the bottom-up approach of the Grand Coalition for Change Government and the process in which such notable intentions are to be achieved. 

One must realize that there are different ways of skinning the cat that would not change or alter the whole body. 

Mr Speaker, we must acknowledge that since gaining independence governments after governments have explored a wide range of ideologies and processes in getting to our final destination.  The Good Book reminds us all of the same journey the Children of Israel took when they left Egypt for the Promised Land, which took them nearly 40 years before they arrived at the Promised Land, where not all leaders though were able to strive the terrain and the hardships encountered before arriving at the Promised Land.

Mr Speaker, one interesting observation when comparing the stories was the difference of leaders that were necessary to lead during their time of reign.  No wonder people criticise and challenge leaders of how they perform their role of leadership.  Remember there are different styles of leadership roles.  Similarly there are different ways and styles of providing leadership and this depends on time, situation and environment at the time when presented.

Perhaps we need someone who is aggressive, visionary and foresight to counter attack the past and build on the present for the future.  I believe we have a man who is currently the Prime Minister is capable and worthy of the ability required in bringing this country forward.  He needs our support and we must be seen to do that.  Do not be over powered by outside influences or someone else to decide what is good for you, your children and their children to come.

Incidentally, the process of attaining an eventual destination is not easy but it takes time, effort and political will to get there.  Hence the government should be given the opportunity to fulfill the aspirations crucial for a better Solomon Islands for people to enjoy life in its fullness.

What we have learned through discussions and presentation of speeches from the throne and the difficulties experienced should be our strength to build on the foundation for better things to come.  We must not be complacent or have the attitude of living the problem for someone to do it for you.  There is no someone, (you are the person), you cannot expect from those challenges. 

The challenges confronted are real and cannot be left for someone or other persons to shoulder.  It requires a collaborative effort by all Solomon Islanders in all spheres of life to work together in order to arrive at our final destiny.

Time is not on our side.  As Solomon Islanders we must strive with vigor, determination putting aside our differences and march towards the harbours of peace, tranquility and prosperity with vision, (if I may quote the words of His Excellency on the Speech from the Throne).

I therefore challenge every Member of Parliament whose interests do we entertain and attempt to protect.  Is it Solomon Islands?  Is it our people?  Is it the future of this nation and its future generations to come?  Are we genuine in what we say in this House?  Who are we representing?  Is it us or is it someone else interest? 

This Parliament is the Parliament of Solomon Islands which is expected to make laws and policies for its people and country and we cannot leave others to decide for us or decide what is good for our people and country.  The responsibility is squarely on every one of us in this House, and likewise all Solomon Islanders, regardless of creed, size or colour.

This country has gained independence since 1978, and it is now almost twenty nine years after attaining nationhood.  Are we going to be recolonised again?  Or not free from the bondage of past and strive for a better future?  This is the choice we have to make now and not tomorrow.  If we cannot do it now tomorrow will never come.  The choice is yours and let me reiterate that no one will do it for you.  The decision to do that depends very on you who knows your culture, people, environment and what is good for you cannot be determined by someone else who is foreign to these basic principles of knowing who you are, what you are and what you know to build on for what is good for you, your children and country.

Mr Speaker, this country is always claimed to be a Christian country and yet it is a common belief and knowledge that one of the hindrances which affected the progress is jealousy.  This has been experienced throughout the entire fabric of our society.  One cannot look through history to appreciate what many Solomon Islanders who have embarked in business developments have accelerated higher on the ladder but only to find that they have fallen and considered to be unsuccessful.

            Nearly most of their failures were caused by none other but fellow Solomon Islanders themselves through different means that instead of encouraging and supporting those in business, they created obstacles making sure it remains static and eventually to collapse.

            Why is the reason being that it is better for every body to have nothing and to be just the same?  Human beings as we are, we have failed miserably to uphold the principles of good stewardship by encouraging one another to do good to better  ones life instead of doing the contrary or the opposite.

            It is sad, Mr Speaker, to notice that even at the national level this attitude continues to prevail.  The remnant of such practices is evident from certain groups or individuals at the governing level of the nation.

            A clear example of this is experienced in this current House.  The government is trying exceptionally hard to put forward its policy and programs of action conceived to be for indigenous Solomon Islanders in professing the bottom-up approach and yet certain groups and individuals are attempting to promote adverse actions considered detrimental to the general wellbeing of our people and country.

            In this regard, Mr Speaker, I wish to challenge those who continuously work to advance the motion of no confidence we had yesterday against the present government, which nearly all citizens are eagerly waiting to see the notable intended policies are implemented for the betterment of our people in all fabrics of our society.

            Mr Speaker, one wonders whose interests do those individuals represent.  Is it the interest of our people, the country or someone else?  We need to know.  Is it another way of advancing the mere interest/concept of jealousy because the current government is attempting to do what is good for the nation and that is why they resort to practices that are not consistent to progress in advancing the developmental aspirations  of our people?

            Mr Speaker, so much have been said about our economic assistance from aid donors or developing partners but little have been said about what we can do to help ourselves to cause changes that would ensure our budget is internally funded rather than depending on aid assistance.  The economy is in the hands of foreigners, and therefore until the economy is owned by Solomon Islanders, we will continue to depend on outsiders and be a slave in our own land.

            Mr Speaker, I believe that for the last 29 years the country has taken on planning but less on actual implementation of the attempts to discover what has been achieved thus far.  There have been volumes and volumes of feasibility studies year after year being carried out by whom, but the so-called consultants. 

If you go to all the ministries the files are full of all these volumes.  All that is left is the cockroaches starting to eat them up.  It is now time for us to redirect our attention and put money into real developments.

            If you look at the projects, Mr Speaker, they are designed in such a way that almost 90% of the projects cater for technical assistance and only 10% for development or spent internally.  No wonder Mr Speaker, how can this country progress in its development when all aid assistances are designed to meet outside expenses and nothing for development in this country?

            It is my humble view that time has come that there should be more funds available to spend on actual development and less on technical assistance.  We have enough information necessary to focus on actual development.  There is too much talking but less action. 

It is now time we need to have less talk and more action.  It is now time for Solomon Islanders to be in control of their affairs in determining their future for the betterment of its people and country. But more importantly our people must be empowered in all respects before we can be able to achieve the objectives and aspirations of our people and nation.

            Mr Speaker, with those remarks and since this is the last meeting of Parliament, may I wish all Members of Parliament and their families a merry Christmas and an enjoyable New year, and let us look forward for working together in year 2007.

            May I also take this opportunity to wish all the chiefs and people of my constituency, Mbaegu/Asifola a merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year 2007.

            With those few remarks Mr Speaker, I support the motion and resume my seat.

            Thank you.

 

Hon IDURI:   Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me this oppootunity to contribute to this motion of sine die. 

Firstly, I wish to thank you, Mr Speaker, that it is through your able guidance and wisdom that the deliberations of this Parliament session are successfully concluded today. I thank you for your fairness and thoughtfulness in guiding the order of business over the past days.

            On behalf of my Department of National Unity, Reconciliation and Peace, I would also like to congratulate His Excellency the Governor General for his vision when he plea to us national leaders through the Speech from the Throne, which rightly emphasises creating a new and better Solomon Islands that is peaceful, progressive and prosperous.

            Sir, all honourable colleagues know that what emanates from the speech is a statement of policy direction of renewed hope and commitment in trying to address our progressive issues head-on and to turn this nation around.  This demands major changes from business as usual, a mentality of the past as reflective in policy directions now taking across all sectors.

            Mr Speaker, the onus is now on us national leaders to turn our vision of a united, peaceful and prosperous Solomon Islands - a reality for our people throughout the four corners of our nation.

            Mr Speaker, I would also like to thank the Leader of the Opposition and his group for honourably fulfilling their responsibilities.  Like in any democratic system of government as we are aware, the government of the day can only function effectively with an active opposition group that keeps check on government business.

            Therefore, Mr Speaker, through important questions, important bills and motions raised on the floor of Parliament, we as a government were able to scrutinise, defend, justify and present the rationale for our respective policies on government stance and also different programmes in serving this nation.

            In this regard, I would like to thank members of the Grand Coalition for Change Government for our solidarity.  At this point in time, this includes important government’s stand taking on critical issues ranging from key appointments such as those of our permanent secretaries and the respective commissions that government is establishing for its rural development aspirations through the bottom-up approach.

            Mr Speaker, the diplomatic indifference with one of our major bilateral donors shows signs of our growing up and maturity as we are assert ourselves as a sovereign nation.

            As Minsiter responsible for peace and reconciliation, I sincerely advocate and pray for solving divergent issues of contention through establishing means and avenues for dialogue, continuous consultation and diplomatically talking through issues by responsible parties internally through our own established mechanisms and institutions at the bilateral level, I am confident that we will reach a point and state not too far off when the timing will be right for all those to happen.

            Mr Speaker, I am confident because our government is ultimately an accountable and transparent government that believes in ethical leadership and therefore mindful that our people throughout the nation deserve to know we represent their best interests.  Our people’s best interest is paramount and should prevail.

            In the same token Mr Speaker, as Minister for Peace and Unity, I from the government side would like to offer our apologies if in the course of our deliberations, aggressive language and personal attacks were made against members of the other side of the House, particularly where individual Members might feel their personal safety is threatened.  While politics is politics, I hope politicking and lobbying do not encroach into our personal lives that would affect our relationship as wantoks of this beloved country.

            Mr Speaker, peace and unity as we all know is a cross cutting issue.  My Department is one of the smallest in that it only has a total of eight technical staff, a small budget but with a huge mandate.  Some of our tasks relate to the Commission of Inquiry into the Honiara riot, the Commission of Inquiry into Land Dealings on Guadalcanal and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

            The Speech from the Throne speaks of reconciling our past to enable national healing and moving on.  National and provincial reconciliation are our ongoing programmes. 

As we continue to search for the underlying causes, the root causes and the truth behind the tension and the violent conflict, we realized that new and critical issues are also creating tensions that are brewing up.  We need to consolidate past efforts in reconciling, especially mediation and consultation processes that have been achieved and reassess to forge a way forward to enable meaningful, national and provincial reconciliation to take place.

            Mr Speaker, while doing so, as a government we need to be mindful of the interests and needs of all the other provinces that make up the country.  These needs are also crucial and will be taken into consideration.

            While reconciliation is vital to healing, however, a question we also need to ask ahead is, reconciliation and what next.

            Sir, if poverty and economic development issues are yet to be fully addressed, we have to be proactive.  And this means adopting and implementing peace building approaches across sectors and across all provinces.

            Mr Speaker, the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is one of the department’s major policy statements.  A Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as we know, is never cheap and thus commitment with resources is vital.  When established, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission will investigate here and report on the truth of the ethnic conflict.  

The process of establishing a steering committee to look into the establishment of the commission, the Solomon Islands Truth and Reconciliation Commission that is relevant to our own conflict context in Solomon Islands has started and nation wide consultations will be made.

            Besides the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Peace and Integrity Council (PIC) is another peace agency that will be established by the end of this year.  Once again, this will need practical commitment in terms of Solomon Islands Government financing.  The Peace and Integrity Council will eventually replace the National Peace Council which was 100% funded by AusAid over the past three years.

            The Peace and Integrity Council will be complementary to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, in that it will be forward looking, proactive and focusing on long term peace building.  The evolution of the National Peace Council into the Peace and Integrity Council is a positive progression reflective of the change, peace and security environment and the need now for an organization that is strengthened and more preventative and proactive.

            Mr Speaker, at this juncture during the transition phase into the Peace and Integrity Council, I would like to acknowledge our indigenous people who have contributed by serving on the National Peace Council to the peace process at different stages - a big thank you for their contributions which the country will be forever grateful for.

            Finally, Mr Speaker, Solomon Islands strive to be one people, one nation.  We will celebrate our diversity as our strength in unity through respect of our differences and through tolerance and peaceful coexistence.  However, since independence, nation building was and is what we have assumed would come automatically by calling ourselves a sovereign nation.

            While nation building is an ongoing process, we have since learnt that nation building has to be a deliberate process and a conscientious effort.  There is need for explicit policies for national unity and creating a shared national identity across all sectors as it is no longer relevant to infer a nation can just evolve into a strong nation at its own accord.

            Mr Speaker, my department has the responsibility of providing policy advisory role in this regard.  However, these are programs that all sectors need to take into consideration.

            Mr Speaker, let me conclude my support for the sine die motion on a peaceful note.  Peace starts from within and every one of us as national leaders.  Let us start at the individual level, dialogue and consult and talking through issues are some of the greatest virtues of peace building before we can dream of building a peaceful, progressive and prosperous nation.

Mr Speaker, thank you and I beg to support.

 

Mr LONAMEI:  Thank you, Mr Speaker, for allowing the floor of Parliament for me to contribute briefly to this motion of sine die.

            Mr Speaker, first of all I would like to thank the Governor General for the Speech from the Throne delivered to us outlining the government’s programs on how it would take us through in its four years reign.

            Secondly, Mr Speaker, I would like to thank your good self for your neutral conduct of this parliamentary meeting and for controlling us Members here in Parliament.  For that, I would like to thank you.

            Thirdly, Mr Speaker, I want to thank the Prime Minister and his Cabinet for clearing the cloud over their administration yesterday through the vote of no confidence moved by the Leader of Opposition.  I hope the country has been cleared of the cloud hanging over this present administration.

            Mr Speaker, I want to put on the floor of Parliament some of the concerns of my people of Maringe/Kokota which they shared with me for me to put on the floor of Parliament.  I believe some of their concerns may not only be the concern of the people of Maringe/Kokota but are concerns that some people of Solomon Islands too may have.

First, the people whose guns were taken away from them by RAMSI are so concerned up till now.  They want the government of the day to look at whether it can refund their money or pay their guns.  At least they want some kind of compensation to be given to them for the guns taken away from them.

Mr Speaker, those guns are very, very useful to my people in Isabel. They have never used those guns to shoot people or kill people with.  They used those guns to shoot birds (kurukuru) to help them in their daily diet.

Mr Speaker, when those guns were taken away from them for the sake of peace in Solomon Islands, some even cried. 

Mr Speaker, if the government has any concern for these people, please refund them or pay them some kind of compensation because my people paid for those guns when they got it in the first place.  They paid for those guns.  The government should pay those guns from these people or at least some kind of compensation for the confiscation of their guns.

Secondly Mr Speaker, and this is to the Minister for Infrastructure and Development.  My people in Isabel need $1 million for our road. The province needs that money to lengthen our road.

Mr Speaker, to the Ministry of Communication, Aviation and Meteorology, and this is in regards to the airfields in the rural areas.  I think I heard the Minister saying that he is now going ahead to visit all airstrips in the rural areas to find out which airstrips need maintenance.    

I would like to put it here, Mr Speaker, that the Fera airfield runway is a bit dangerous because it is closer to the beach and so it is not firm and therefore is dangerous for planes to land on it. 

I would like the Minister for Aviation not to forget Fera Airstrip to be inspected and some major repair works should be done to it.  Also not forgetting Suavanao and Jajao airstrips, which yesterday the Minister said they are private airstrips.  But I would like to say that it is sheer luck that somebody else built the airstrips for us and therefore the government should just step in to help renovate or maintain the airstrips because the airstrips are going to serve our own people.

Mr Speaker, as we talk about the bottom-up approach, the majority of our people live in the rural areas scattered across the islands separated by big seas, shipping is a very big need for travel between the islands.  The government needs to look seriously into this by providing ships where possible or otherwise help shipping operators now so that they provide the needed services between our islands.

Mr Speaker, coming back to myself, if the bottom-up approach means delivery of goods and services to people in the rural areas, then I think I have done that.  I have already delivered goods and services to my people of Maringe/Kokota.  I have delivered what they need such as church materials like roofing irons, cement, generators, videos, fishing nets, outboard motors, water supply.  These are materials that you have asked for and I have delivered all these to you.

To those of you, who are yet to receive assistance from me, please be assured that I still remember you, I have not forgotten you.  If you have any needs in particular you can come and see me so that we discuss your needs so that every one of you can feel what we are supposed to deliver to you in the rural areas.

Lastly, Mr Speaker, as we will go for Christmas, like other speakers have already done, I too would like on behalf of my people of Maringe/Kokota extend Christmas Greetings to His Excellency the Governor General and his good wife, the Honorable Speaker and your staff here in Parliament, the Honourable Prime Minister and Cabinet and every one of you in here, the Opposition Leader and all Members of Parliament.  I would like to give you all Christmas greetings on behalf of the Maringe/Kokota people.

Lastly from myself to my people of Maringe/Kokota, Mr Speaker, I wish to extend my Christmas greetings to everyone in Maringe/Kokota.

With those few remarks, Mr Speaker, I support the motion.

 

Mr SITAI: Thank you Mr Speaker, for finally recognising the Member for East Makira after my fifth attempt to speak this morning.

            Sir, since I was not able to participate in the debate to give thanks to His Excellency the Governor General for the Speech from the Throne, allow me to take this opportunity on behalf of the people of East Makira Constituency, whom I represent in this Parliament, to thank him for the speech.  It was a reflection of the present government’s policy, which we understand we all are looking forward to for the government’s implementation of those policies that were focused on rural development which they hope to benefit from.

            I would also like to take this opportunity on behalf of my good people of East Makira to give His Excellency and Lady Waena, Christmas Greetings and our well wishes for their good health.

            Mr Speaker, I would like to mention one issue in relation to the task provided by the Governor General, especially in opening the first meeting of our Parliament to deliver the speech that the government should be mindful of, and that is the fact that His Excellency in carrying out his duties has direct contact with our people during his tours.  He has made quite a number of tours last year and I believe he has already started his program for this year.  Through those contacts he normally receives presentations from our people that the government must know about.  And on his return to the capital and through his consultations with the Prime Minister, I am sure he will take the liberty of informing the Prime Minister or providing reports to the ministries that are required to take note of the concerns of our people. 

I would like to encourage our government to maintain contact with His Excellency’s Office in order for His Excellency to provide through those contacts the feelings and the needs of our people so that when we decide on policies and laws that affect them or if we decide on addressing their problems, the government is fully aware of what to do in providing the necessary assistance.

            Mr Speaker, I would like to thank His Excellency for performing his duty in delivering the Speech from the Throne, which outlines basically the government’s policy, if I could use his words, “with mission and a vision”, that the government will lead this country to after having come this far, 28 years after independence.  It is a revolution, may I say.  The test of any revolution or the success of any revolution is really what happens after the revolution takes place.  That is a test and I would like to remind the government of that.

            On other matters, Mr Speaker, I would like to say that in relation to the issues of concern raised by the media on certain government actions, which also led to the motion which came before Parliament yesterday and was defeated, and that is not the end of it, the Leader of the Opposition has made his point, the Prime Minister has also made his point on the government’s side, what needs to be done now in my view is to ask the government to attend to those issues of concern.  Sort out the so called ‘Moti Affair’.  Sort out the judiciary situation.  It is one of conflict so put it right, and of course our relations with Australia.

            Yes, I am not denying that we do not need their aid Mr Speaker.  No, that is not what I am saying.  It is the issue of dependency that we should worry about.  May be policies that will be implemented by the government will make us perhaps if they are steered correctly to the right inputs to make us perhaps reduce dependency from our donors.  But our donors will always be there to help us.

            The Minister of Foreign Affairs in his presentation to Parliament has clarified those issues very well to all of us.  But what I would like to ask the government now in relation to Australia is, please through diplomacy sort out this present problem.  It is an issue of Australia not recognising or interfering with Solomon Islands sovereignty.  So much about sovereignty and all sorts of definitions, and if that is the issue, sort it out.

            Diplomacy is all about harmonizing interests.  That is the line of action we should take but at the same time we make our point home.  I believe the government has every capable people in Cabinet, with the Prime Minister’s leadership, this issue should be dealt with properly and an understanding will be reached by both sides to respect each others sovereignty.

            When this issue came out, how I saw it, was just like that, Mr Speaker.  It is a respect of that sovereignty that caused this problem.  I would like to inform good colleagues that if you have time, please read a book entitled ‘politics in Solomon Islands’.  If I care to ask you to read chapter 15, it was contributed by none other than the MP for East Makira on diplomacy which points out that crucial issue.  It is to do with big power attitudes in this region. 

This point was even acknowledged by other academics who quoted from the MP’s writing.  If these academics are not Solomon Islanders then what the Prime Minister is saying on this issue is true.  It was also seen by other people - Big Power Politics.  The attitude of the big powers is what we are talking about that interferes with the sovereignty of smaller nations. 

            At the UN we are all equal.  One sovereign country has one sovereign vote.  But in the regional politics why are these things happening.

            On another issue, and do not get me wrong Mr Speaker, in our relations with Australia.  I acknowledge the good things it has done to help us in its continued bilateral assistance for stepping in to rescue us in maintaining law and order in this country.  But when we speak about our relations, we often forget one very important point, and I would like to take this opportunity to remind us all that since the Black Birding Days our trading relationship with Australia has always been in favour of Australia.  You work it out what this means.

            Yes, we received so much on this side from the other side.  But they also milked us too, milked our economy.  If that is what trade is all about then let us evaluate it and we must not forget.  It is a fact. 

About $60 million worth of rice is imported into this country.  They are bailing $60million out of this economy, which ended up in this very same country we are talking about.  That is just one item but what about the others.  This is the other side of the coin, Mr Speaker.

            When we talk about aid in this world of globalization, let us not forget that a relationship has two sides to it.  We must balance them.  We must have freedom to speak and to say whatever we like.   The Opposition has that privilege and duty to check the government if this issue comes up as an issue, which has been dealt with on the floor of Parliament, but that is not the end of it.  The Government must proceed to put the situation right as you see it for this country.

            If I were to participate yesterday on the motion that was moved by my colleague the Leader of the Opposition, I would have taken the stand of saying to the government, ‘nobody is going to clean up your soiled linens for you.  You made those decisions and so it is your responsibility to sort them out’.  That is the line of thinking I would have done, and not to remove the Prime Minister.  No, Mr Speaker. 

You were bold to make those decisions and so be responsible for sorting out any repercussions.  I believe the government will do this.  It has the mandate to do it and so I ask our government to do its best.  Harmonize our interests because that is what diplomacy is all about.  It is about harmonizing interests between our partners or neighbors.

            Moving on from there, Mr Speaker, like the MP for Savo/Russells and my colleague the Minister for Mines and Energy, I would also like to acknowledge the very same people they acknowledged in their speech.  I appreciate whatever they contribute in maintaining peace and harmony in the country to support Parliament in the maintenance of law and order in this country.

 To the public servants for the hard work they have done.  You, sir, for your good chairmanship as well as the Deputy Speaker for maintaining orderly proceedings of this meeting, and your staff, especially the Clerk, the Parliament staff for carrying out their duties very well in never ending support that parliamentarians continue to receive from the rest of your staff of Parliament.

            I join those two to express my appreciation and thank all our good people including the churches, and our people for their resilience, the great resilience in going through these trying and difficult times we are now waiting for the government to perform so that they can be brought in line to participate actively in the growing of the economy of this country rather than standing on the sidelines as spectators.

The government officials as we implement the good policies here, I only want to remind the Prime Minister and the government, especially my colleague Ministers, to act on submissions that MPs or other stakeholders submit to your ministries as implementing ministries, to help our people in developments on the projects that they want to do on the various sectors that they have interest in.  We need that support.  If it is coming through the Members of Parliament please provide that.  Let us work together to facilitate that good policy for the common good of this nation.

            Mr Speaker, as I am always short and brief in my speeches, those are the things I would like to say.  I wish to conclude by wishing all Members of Parliament and your good self, Mr Speaker, good wishes for a prosperous New Year and a Happy Christmas, you and all your families as we leave at the end of this meeting.

            To Ministers who will stay on and work, please prepare the budget for next year.  A lot of talk and disappointments have been expressed in Parliament about the delay of the budget.  You have heard the message and so Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers, please do your best with all the staff you have to put the budget in place.

            During the supplementary appropriation the issue of the Millennium Fund was raised and allocation was made on it although the bill did not come through Parliament, I only wish to say this, Mr Speaker.  My understanding is that such contribution that was appropriated in the supplementary appropriation has come from none other than our good friend – the Republic of China. 

I wish to remind the government that funds provided by the United States Government through the Millennium Challenge Account held by the United Nations are there for us to utilise if Solomon Islands is qualified.  Why not look at it?  I am drawing this to the attention of the Honourable Prime Minister, the Minister for Planning and the Minister for Finance.  If it is possible why not explore it?  We can qualify.

            I am saying this, Mr Speaker, because our next door neighbour, Vanuatu was able to secure US $62 million from this fund last year.  Vanuatu is now implementing that fund to set up infrastructure projects and some other areas qualified for use of that fund.  I am sure this will go a long way if we were to secure that to provide additional funding to support the bottom-up approach which the government is now starting to put in place as a policy.

            We still need some of these infrastructures.  We still need some weaker areas to be propped up in implementing those policies. 

My understanding is that that fund is available.  We have not done anything about it yet, and so I urge the government to do just that, like Vanuatu who was able to qualify to secure that funding to go a long way to support the rural development focus program of our government.

Sir, that is all I want to say, lest I take up time of other members who would also like to speak to this motion.  Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.  Thank you colleagues of both sides of the House for your understanding and I support the motion.

 

 

Sitting suspended for lunch break

 

Parliament resumes

 

Mr KWANAIRARA:  Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity to participate in debating the motion of Sine Die, and I do so humbly on behalf of leaders and my good people of North Malaita Constituency. 

Before doing so, let me also take this opportunity to sincerely thank the people of North Malaita Constituency for having faith in my leadership by re-electing me as their national representative and voice in the National Parliament for the next four (4) years.  I thank God for this honour and I shall take this responsibility faithfully with a pledge to work cooperatively with the people in improving their human conditions and dignity. 

Sir, but in order to carry out this leadership task effectively, I urge all leaders and people to give unreserved support and cooperation in all development initiatives and programs whether at individual or community level. 

            Mr Speaker, I want to look at the global scenario.  Sir, in this segment I want to provide a brief overview of global events and happenings as a background to my speech.  Solomon Islands is situated in a global village and therefore what happens in other parts of the world influences and impacts directly and indirectly on our lives.  These influences include the power of foreign governments, rich nations and institutions, trans-national cooperations, global transfers of capital, a rise in terrorism with religious fundamentalists, increase in ethnic crisis, genocides, increasing poverty and malnutrition in poor countries, foreign debt burden, environmental degradation and pollution, and the rapid decline in human morality and ethic characteristics - a new era in human history.  All these affect our social, economic and political life.

            Mr Speaker, despite great achievements of human ingenuity in science and technology, we also see the world becoming a much unequalled place where the weak and poorer nations are easily exploited by the rich and powerful. 

Mr Speaker, for example, under the World Trade Organization (WTO) the smaller and poorer nations find it almost impossible to compete or access international markets because rules and requirements are beyond the capacity of poor countries.  This directly gives rise to ecological devastation through the rapid harvesting and depletion of natural resources because poor nations are forced to increase the rate of exploitation of natural forest for a very small income. 

Mr Speaker, with increasing population, governments in poor countries are becoming increasingly powerless and hard pressed for cash to provide goods and services.

            Mr Speaker, this easily leads to extensive dependency on aid and technical advice from foreign governments and institutions.  Dependency on others is a sign of great weakness, lack of vision and political will. Aid dependency makes a nation weak and vulnerable to external exploitation and domination.  Solomon Islands would do well to learn from its past and behave differently sooner than later.

            As we focus on the Pacific Region, similar situation occurs in the small island states of the Pacific region but at different magnitudes.  The regional economies are small hence vulnerable to external shocks and severe competition in the global market. Despite this, some countries in the region are economically better off and developed much more than others. 

Sir, uncontrolled exploitation of our natural resources indicates an unsustainable future if we allow such practices to persist in the future.  Sir, the time to make important legislation is now otherwise we will fail to protect the very fragile ecological system that sustains our lives. 

            Mr Speaker, the Forum Leaders conference needs to carefully customize the Pacific Plan as a blue-print for a new socio-economic and political re-arrangement for all Pacific Islands states in the future. 

The Forum agenda items for Pacific Leaders in 2006 include trade, infrastructure, sustainable development, disaster management, fisheries, social development, security and good governance. 

Sir, these are very important areas of concern as far as Solomon Islands is concerned, and my hope is that our contribution will assist in the formulation of landmark conclusions and recommendations for the future of the Pacific Region. 

The formation of the social-economic and political framework or an Oceania or Pacific Union has its advantages and disadvantages.  My contention here is that the only way for the small islands states to become a force to respect is to unite under a union such as the European Union. 

            Lastly but not the least, Forum nations must vigorously police and protect the vast sea boundary and its vast fish stock and mineral resources from exploitation by foreign fishermen, mining and oil companies.  The sea is our hope for feeding the Pacific community in the future and with an enormous capacity for mineral and oil industry that will bring needed economic wealth to these island communities.

            As we focus on Solomon Islands today, Mr Speaker, allow me to share my understanding of our current social, political and economic situation.  First we see our nation traveling down a very dangerous path today. Political power is often used to serve personal interests and those of our political cronies and so put aside the interest of the people. This can easily lead to corruption in high places and eventually finding its way down the ranks and files of the government bureaucracy.  Secondly, it seems so easy for a democratically elected government to be brought down at the whim of a disgruntled Honiara based crowd who pretended to represent the people of Solomon Islands.  Thirdly, Mr Speaker, it is becoming a habit for political leaders to disregard the rule of law and due process. 

We enact legislations in this honourable Parliament but often we decide not to follow the law because of our political agenda and perhaps our selfish interests. 

            Mr Speaker, all Public Service vacancies must be advertised and short-listed candidates attend an interview.  As we all know, this legal and due process did not happen as in the appointment of Permanent Secretaries and the appointment of a new Attorney General.

Mr Speaker, just because it seems right by political leaders does not make it right or legal.  This nation is governed by the constitution of Solomon Islands and it must be protected at all times from abuse by leaders and individual citizens. 

Fourthly, all leaders must be clear about the (Judiciary and the Legislature).  It is not proper and legally appropriate for the executive government or any national legislature for that matter to interfere in the role of the Judiciary and Legal Services. 

Fifthly, corruption in the public sector especially in high places must be stamped-out if this nation is to benefit from social and economic prosperity.

Corruption is a social evil and cancer that it eats into scarce public funds and the limited resources required for development.  At this juncture, the government must do everything in its power to bring to justice those public servants and leaders who are implicated in corrupt practices as highlighted by the Auditor General. The Legal and Judicial system must be strengthened so that those who fail this nation will be brought to face the full force of the law. 

I think the way forward we all know is that God has blessed our nation with natural resources and so it is up to us to decide what to do, how to produce and distribute the goods and the services produced from the use of these resources.  The issue raised earlier needs to be addressed by the government and all stakeholders before we can begin the way forward.

What are important considerations for the way forward Mr Speaker?  What are the foundation pillars for building a new society and a strong economy?  I have the following suggestions to make. 

First, the way forward should begin with the laying of a strong foundation through an education system that is of the highest standard and quality.  The new education system must be comparable to education systems in other countries in the Pacific.  Mr Speaker, no nation can hope to do anything if it fails to put educating its people at the heart of its development programme. 

Mr Speaker, education must not only be of a highest standard and quality but should prioritize the development of the two dimensions of a human being, namely the mind and the body.  The philosophical foundation of our education has to be education for developing a good character and education for career development. 

Secondly, Mr Speaker, given the geographical distribution of our islands, the improvement of infrastructure, communication and transportation is critical for social and economic development. Our big islands should have good tar-sealed roads, bridges, wharves connected by reliable shipping services. 

The efficient movement of people and goods is required for business development and employment creation.  Telecommunication and information technology are also import aspects of these modern infrastructures required for bridging the gap between the rural and the urban communities.

Thirdly, national political leaderships need to embrace the principles of good governance.  Good governance means providing a leadership and management within the framework of the law and delivering on campaign promises.

Mr Speaker, on transparency and leadership through good governance, we must respect ourselves first than expect others to respect us. 

            Mr Speaker, let me now turn to the concept of rural development as the second foundation pillar for the way forward.  Mr Speaker, the present government prioritizes this policy and wants to make it work for the rural people.  I agree that this is a good policy direction because of the urgent need for the improvement of life in the rural communities and to enable their participation in the socio-economic activities of the society.  But what exactly do we mean when we talk about rural development?

 Is it about dishing out money for income-generation projects, or is it building better schools and clinics?  Is it constructing a better road with good bridges and wharves, or is it raising the price of cocoa and copra?  Is it about village governance or making a constitutional adjustment to legalize the functions of chiefs and elders?  Is it about accessing technology in terms of the internet for education and training or is it about rural credit and making credit accessible to the poor for the improvement of their own lives. 

            Mr Speaker, rural development concept is a complex and multi-dimensional but it is one that must be pursued if we are to give hope to a vast majority of our people.

            Mr Speaker, when we talk about the bottom up approach and rural development, we are touching a very, very big area in Solomon Islands.  It is an institution that has been in existence for hundreds of years.  It is a separate institution and how we are going to link this institution with our plans and policies is a big thing. 

I do appreciate the government’s policy on this “bottom up approach” but the question is, where is the bottom?  Where is the bottom and what is the bottom up approach?  These are questions that our people will be asking us. 

Our people have been living like this for hundreds of years doing their own thing such as catching fish, making gardens, feeding their families through their sweat.  Is this bottom up approach going to change this already in existence institution?  This is a question we need to carefully answer and attend to. 

It is a very important area because I can see it as a very big giant who has been sleeping for many years now awaken. We start to wake him up, and shake him up!  But do we have the resources to support him when he wakes out of his sleep?   

The way forward, Mr Speaker, as I can see it now is no longer financial but let us talks about a framework, a system that will help our people for the betterment of their future.

 If we start talking about big amounts of money going down then I think we have made a very big mistake.  We have to talk about the framework and the system.  The system is important to link this big institution we talked so much about as “the bottom up approach” or the rural people.  We have to be born to be like them so that we really know the meaning of the “bottom up approach”. 

When we live in Honiara or in our offices here we cannot really see what we mean by the “bottom up approach”.  We have to be like Nichodemus who must be born again.  He must be born again to really see the life he is aftering.  So we have to be reborn to really help our people in the “bottom up approach” policy that we talked so much about. 

If we just tell them that it will be a “bottom up approach” policy and finish there, I am sorry we will miss our goal.  Remember rural people or rural approach is an institution that develops for hundreds of years before the government or the private sector came into existence.   

Sir, I would like to leave that for the consideration of my good government to look at what sort of legal framework you are going to take to articulate or connect this big institution with whatever policies you would like to implement in this country. 

In conclusion, Mr Speaker, and dear colleague Members of Parliament, God has given us this moment of grace to look beyond self-interest, ego and self-gratification.  The solution to our current problems and crisis lies in our hearts, minds and hands.  

Mr Speaker, if we carry in our minds the highest purposes of leadership to serve God, love people, have a sense of ownership, work as a united team and having dreams for improving human life and conditions, then the way forward will be peaceful and full of blessing.  If we depart from the ways of righteousness and the rule of law, then we will harvest what we sow in terms of more problems and suffering for our people. 

Sir, we are no longer people of different islands but we are Solomon Islanders living as one people and one nation.  I think this is a very important message that everyone of us in Solomon Islands must know.  We come under one banner and that one banner is Solomon Islands.  I think that is very important.

            Mr Speaker, finally I would like to thank you for the professional manner in which you have conducted and managed the proceedings of Parliament.  The same thanks goes to the Clerk and the staff of National Parliament for the support and care given to all Members of Parliament. 

Sir, I also wish to extend my thanks to the Governor General and his family and his office for the Speech from the Throne that he participated in at this Parliament.  I wish him a joyous merry Christmas 2006.

            Sir, I also wish to thank the Honourable Prime Minister and congratulate him and the government bench, the Ministers.  I wish to congratulate you for your victory over the motion of no confidence. 

I wish you all the best in your policies, plans, visions and mission.  You have a huge task before you because this country is waiting to see the fruit of what you have said in this Parliament you are going to do.  I wish you all and your family, all the Ministers and backbenchers a joyous happy Christmas. 

I would like to thank the Leader of Opposition for seeing it fit to check on the government. I think you have to congratulate yourself for doing a good job.  On behalf of the Independent Office, my little group here, I would also like to thank everybody and the opposition bench that you are merely carrying out your honourable duty in checking on the government, which I really appreciate and congratulate you for doing that.  Thank you, Mr Speaker. 

I also would like to thank the Commissioner of Police and the ranks and files of the Police Force who have worked tirelessly in providing a secure environment for the Parliament meeting to run smoothly.  I wish to thank him most sincerely and thank all officers who have participated one way or another in making the Parliament meeting successful.  I wish you all a joyous merry Christmas and a happy new year when you get together with your families in the Christmas season.

            I wish to thank all leaders throughout the country whether you are a youth leader, a Church leader or a leader in other walks of life, I thank you most sincerely for your interest in the government and its visions and missions. I wish you all a joyous merry Christmas 2006 and a happy new year 2007. 

I would like to extend my thanks to all farmers throughout the Solomon Islands who have one way or another been struggling to make ends meet, who have been struggling to support the economy of the country by cutting and drying copra, harvesting cocoa.  My only wish is for the government of today to come down low and see the struggles you have had for many years. 

            Mr Speaker, I think one of their cries is for the government to do something on the price of copra.  They have no other alternatives.  Cutting copra is their only means of making money.  They get a bit of cash by doing that. However, if you consider that on the economic side of life, it is worthless when a farmer cuts copra, sits down may be over two or three nights to dry the copra, transports the copra to the buying point and when he arrives at the buying point he even gets less than what he spent.

Sir, with this “bottom up approach” is it possible for us to solve this problem that has been in existence in the rural areas for many, many years now. 

            Mr Speaker, some of them have already given up but what else can they do.  How are they going to pay for school fees?  How are they going to get money if they stop cutting copra?  Since there is no other alternative they have to keep on cutting copra. 

Sir, the news they want to hear is when is the government or the rightful authorities going to make a change to the price of copra?  Our people do not want anything but they just want the price of copra to increase or stabilized.   That is the only thing they want. 

However, it is rather unfortunate since we are controlled by international markets and so when the price of copra goes down people give up making copra.  But we cannot help it because there is no other way to go.  The only way now is to go on cutting copra. 

Sir, I want to leave this message with all of us in this House of Parliament to think about and look at ways on how we can help our people in the rural areas and how we can improve the price of copra in the rural areas.

When you talk about transportation the poor people at home even have more problems because the roads are really bad which led to springs of vehicles breaking down all the time.  And because they cannot find the spare parts of the vehicles in the provincial centres they travel to Honiara to find the parts.  All these things contribute to the difficulties our rural people are facing. 

Mr Speaker, I wish to thank them that regardless of what they are facing they still persist and they still go on.  Here I would like to thank the farmers and the hard working people in the rural areas for going on with life.  I wish you all a happy and a joyous Christmas with your families. 

I would also like to thank those who are sick in the hospitals, those who suffer in one way or another. I would like to wish you all the best and wish you a joyous merry Christmas too. 

I would like to also wish all provincial governments for their great support to the national government.  To all provinces and all provincial members, whether you are in the executive or not I wish you all the best.  I hope our government’s new policy will make a difference in supporting those of you in the provinces. 

Finally, I wish to thank all people of Solomon Islands from the border of Bougainville right down to Temotu Vattu.  I wish all the chiefs and all people in the villages a joyous and happy Christmas.  Once again I support the motion.

 

Hon SANGA:  Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the debate of this motion. 

            First of all, greetings to the people of East Malaita Constituency, which range from the Kwaibaita Basin to Auluta Basin and from the eastern coast of Malaita from Leili to the mountains of Magura and Taba’a – greetings.

  Sir, I will be brief and I will touch on greetings may be more.  But before doing so, I wish to associate myself with others in congratulating you and your staff for again ably arranging and guiding the proceedings of Parliament over the past few days. 

Short though it may be, this meeting allowed for the Speech from the Throne to be delivered hence according this House the opportunity to be graced by the presence of His Excellency the Governor General. 

I would also to thank all officers within the Public Service for doing their bit in ensuring that papers are ready, answers to questions are provided and made available to Ministers, the Parliament office is supported to ensure business is ready for Parliament each day. I also wish to thank the Commissioner of Police for providing security around the Parliament building each day.

            Mr Speaker one of the most welcomed news for this country during this meeting is the announcement by the Minister for Agriculture during question time that the Auluta Oil Palm Project is scheduled for groundbreaking in December 2006.  Reinforced by the assurance of the National Planning Minister that the Government will commit resources to ensure that groundbreaking deadline is met, I would like to thank the Government’s seriousness about this project on behalf of the people of East Malaita.

            Sir, this project like every other national project is very important for many reasons.  Its contribution to the national economy is inevitable, the moment it takes off the ground.  The project is a crucial catalyst to answer a lot of political concerns this country is facing today.  It is going to be labor intensive like every other oil palm plantation and on that score it will attract excess oil palm labor supply in the country especially those on Malaita.

            Undoubtedly, a lot of Malaita people will find employment, hence would reverse internal migration - an issue which this country has struggled for a long time to overcome.  The project’s presence on Malaita will give a window of opportunity for citizens of that province to take advantage of other business opportunities associated with a project of this magnitude.

            But Mr Speaker, though this is sound exciting, it would be remiss of me not to caution the people of Malaita, especially those within the Auluta Basin. 

Sir, if the people are expected to fully benefit from the project they must be smart to take advantage of the opportunities.  People must not be lazy, they must be prepared to work to till the land.  They must get involved and not muck around. 

Sir, in many ways the project’s success depends on the Malaita people’s willingness to allow their resources for development.  If resource owners do not cooperate with the Government and the investor, the project’s success would be undermined.  The project’s life will be more than 50 years thus it will go through a generational change. 

Sir, to sustain stability over that long period also depends on the people.  People must understand and be prepared to make serious commitments to honor and respect agreements that will be made with the government and the investor.

Sir, might I also add that it is important that resource owners are informed now of where they are expected to participate in and what exactly is there for them under the Auluta Basin development package. 

Mr Speaker, let me move on to something else.  This is my second term in Parliament and I have observed few parliamentary debates when I was in the Opposition.  Now that I am in government I listen to Member’s debating.

Mr Speaker, many new MPs are quickly catching up with the art and I wish to commend them for this.  But there are some MPs, especially senior ones who would like to listen to themselves during their debates.  You cast your mind to the debate on the supplementary appropriation, the Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Bill and on the debate on the No Confidence Motion yesterday, you will notice that there are those whose debates were either misleading or do not take on board the real and relevant issues.

Mr Speaker, this prompts me to suggest that your office looks seriously into establishing a Youth Parliament.  Youth Parliament is one way of training young people in particular the next generation of political leaders an important link between parliament and students and young people.  The overall goal is to strengthen the democratic process by deepening the understanding of parliamentary democracy amongst young people.  To do so is to uphold and advance parliamentary practice by providing the youth of Solomon Islands with a forum which, by its existence would compel them to identify real issues, express their ideas, concerns and expectations within the twin themes of democracy and development. 

Youth Parliament is one method of encouraging our young people to understand the principles and skills which underpins democracy and civil society.

A youth parliament should be designed to provide an experience of the parliamentary process and to demonstrate how parliaments are able to make legislations, debate matters of national and international concerns, discuss legislations in committees, change government without recourse to civil disorder and make their own rule of conduct.

Sir, I believe that it is no use being critical of one another in a sine die motion debate like this like we have always been.  It seems that some of us are so entrenched in our own understanding of parliamentary debates so are not changed easily. 

Sir, any effort to groom a new generation of politicians will be a positive contribution to political development in Solomon Islands.  If we want to draw on examples then for your information, several CPA youth parliaments are established in Norfolk Island, Zambia, Sierra Leon, in some of the Australian States including Queensland and the Northern Territory of Australia and in the province of Alberta in Canada.  In the region we have youth parliaments in Fiji and in Tonga.

So sir, I wish to recommend that your office takes this matter seriously with the view of establishing a Solomon Islands Youth Parliament.

            Mr Speaker, let me comment on the current relational impasse between Solomon Islands and Australia.  The issue is a bilateral one and not a regional one.  Some people in this chamber are confusing the issue with RAMSI although I do acknowledge that Australia is the major financier of RAMSI. 

If RAMSI is to be affected as a result of this bilateral impasse then it would mean dragging the whole of the Pacific Nations into a matter, which is bilateral in nature and therefore a breach of the spirit of the Forum that initiated the BIKETAWA declaration that in my view would not only be an unfortunate scenario but such scenario would have a domino effect affecting harmony and creating distrust within the region.

            Mr Speaker, although we all do not want that to happen, the spillover of the bilateral impasse between Solomon Islands and Australia is dragging Vanuatu and PNG into the saga. 

Australia’s disregard of the ruling of the Vanuatu’s Court in the case of its own citizen surely will not make Vanuatu a spectator in this whole episode.  The manner in which Australia handle the same person in pursuance of a warrant of arrest resulting in interesting news headlines and coverage in the media has a new twist that exposes Australia to raising of eyebrows within the region, which could potentially lead to the Forum’s scrutiny of the Australia’s Prime Minister in the coming Pacific Islands Forum meeting. 

Australia’s Foreign Minister’s trivializing views about the Solomon Islands engagement of the senior MSG officials as mediators in the current impasse only add salt to the wound.

            Mr Speaker, harmony and geopolitical stability in the Pacific region is very important both for strategic reasons and economic development in the region.  The way Australia handles its response to Solomon Islands risks this great neighbor losing its respect amongst its neighbors.

            Sir, I will not be surprised if Vanuatu and PNG protest against or raise concerns with Australia, as I said in the coming Pacific Islands Forum Meeting.

            Sir, it is sad enough being at difference with a friend.  It will be a serious concern to lose the respect of three friends of strategic importance in the region.

            Sir, that is my view, but I do not think leaders in the region will be careless enough to come up with decisions that will affect geopolitical stability and peace in the region.  Nonetheless, I must put on record that Australia’s smearing tactics into the affairs of SI, its disregard of the Vanuatu Court and the way it dealt with the extradition issue in PNG, all point to the looming disharmony and do have the potential to land disharmony and distrust in the Pacific, especially within the Melanesian Block.

            Mr Speaker, what do we do to address the current impasse and restore relations between Australia and Solomon Islands?  What do we do to curb the situation in the region from worsening? 

I have no direct answers but in the Pacific or the Melanesian way we must talk.  There must be a give and take.  There must be dialogue.  We must respect the feeling of others.  We can keep rubbishing each other but we must talk with clear objectives, and that is to restore relations.

            Mr Speaker, I said earlier that I will be brief and before I come to my conclusion I feel that I must make some clarifications on an issue raised yesterday on the question of good governance by the mover of the No Confidence motion, and again raised by some speakers in today’s debate.

            I believe all of us have a fair understanding of good governance requirements within the Public Service.  But for the sake of those who are listening and have heard the debates yesterday and heard some of the comments today, I will talk in pidgin.

            Concern on good governance is about how the Prime Minister appointed the Attorney General.  Concern about good governance is about how the Prime Minister appoints the Permanent Secretaries.  The Public Service’s role is to deal with these appointments within the confines of the laws in the country.  For the sake of those of you who do not have access to our laws, I will read from relevant sections in the constitution of SI that gives power to the Prime Minister to deal with such offices.  I want to clarify that our constitution is the supreme law or the highest law in our country. 

            Regarding the Attorney General’s case, section 42 (2) of the constitution states that ‘The Attorney-General shall be appointed by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minster’.  When people raised concerns about good governance with regards to the appointment of the Attorney General in this chamber, I think they should not do so.  They should do a bit of research and read the relevant sections of our law that guides the process of the appointment of the Attorney General.  By saying what they said yesterday and today they are merely confusing our public. 

            In the case of the Permanent Secretaries, section 128(1) states very clearly that the:  “Power to make appointments to the Office of Permanent Secretary shall vest in the Public Service Commission acting with the concurrence of the Prime Minister”. 

In reality these two different offices are quite clear in no uncertain terms that the involvement of the Prime Minister is sanctioned or is approved by our constitution, which is the supreme law of the land.

            Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I would like to go back to the issue I raised earlier and that is on the question of the impasse between Australia and Solomon Islands.  I wish to pose these questions.  What do we say about the fact that in defiance of Australia’s request to PNG for extradition of the Solomon Islands Attorney General, PNG was prepared to facilitate the Attorney General’s escape to SI by using its military aircraft?  How do we read into that in terms of our relationship with Australia and the issue of geopolitical stability especially within the Melanesian Block?  Is this not a signal enough that despite its past link with Australia, PNG is prepared to tell Australia that it cannot bow to any backdoor dealing by Australia?  What will the situation lead up to in a situation where security in the region can be volatile overnight? 

Mr Speaker, I wish to reiterate that Australia and SI have made their points but our relationship with our neighbors including Australia is very important.  Australia and Solomon Islands must talk, bury the past and move. 

            With those few remakes I wish to support this motion.

 

Mr SOPAGHE:  Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the motion before the House for this meeting of Parliament to adjourn sine die.

            Sir, firstly, as I did not have the chance to acknowledge His Excellency the Governor General of Solomon Islands Sir Nathaniel Waena’s vote of thanks for the Speech from the Throne delivered to this honorable house on Monday 2nd October 2006, I wish to thank him for the time taken to deliver to us an enlightening speech, that is simple, inclusive, unifying encouraging and worthy of recognition by all of us.  Debating it would have been a great privilege but time did not allow me. 

Nevertheless, sir, may I on behalf of my people of North Guadalcanal Constituency offer sincere thanks to His Excellency for taking the time to come and address the parliament and the people of this nation this way.

Mr Speaker, coming back to this motion, I stand here on behalf of my people of North Guadalcanal Constituency to also thank you, Sir, for your excellent effort in presiding over this meeting.  We wish you and your staff all the very best for your future.

Sir, at this time of the meeting, it is most fitting that I try to put forward some issues that are of great concern to my people.  Firstly, let me say here that my people are very happy with the government’s policy on rural development focus.

Mr Speaker, many times in the past my people had to bear the burden of national development that is top down.  I would like to emphasize here a number of issues on behalf of my people, now that I have been given this golden chance on the floor of Parliament for the government to take note.

Mr Speaker, it is a fact that the North Guadalcanal Constituency has been playing host to a good number of government projects and initiatives since the colonial days.  They have been a big cost to us.

You will remember well that we have had two major companies accommodated in the Constituency, namely the GPL and SIPL.  The negative impact of these large developments on our customs and culture, and in general the lives of my constituents have not yet been fully appreciated by the government, the investors, donors and fellow Solomon Islanders.  The constituency was also the scene of the last civil unrest where my people have been forced to pick up the pieces with very little assistance.

            It is my hope that during this session of parliament, we will all work together, both the national and the provincial government to bring normalcy to my people.

Sir, the Government’s policy on rural development and bottom up approach is indeed a very good start for my people.  We also would like to continue give support for the introduction of the federal system of government, so the earlier it is introduced the happier we will be.  My people see the federal system as the only way to ensure that our resources are not taken from us but to help us in return in giving it away through large developments now and in the future.

            The North Guadalcanal constituency is perhaps the most attractive constituency in the country, and that is why the song, ‘Galekana hem suitim evri one’ was very popular in the 80’s.  This is evidenced by the fact that major companies continue to come, as is the case with the Guadalcanal Plains Palm Oil Ltd (GPPOL) and many more will be coming.

On the rural economic development focus of the government, I am happy to inform you that there is a good number of cocoa and coconut farmers in the constituency. As one who is directly involved in cocoa exporting, I wish to put forward that the farmers must be encouraged and given the needed help to expand and improve their plantations.

            Mr Speaker, Government assistance must be seen and not just talk. I do however believe in the government’s intentions to develop the rural economy.  In this regard, I wish to draw the government’s attention to enabling CEMA take a more active role in both the coconut and cocoa industry in the country.

            Sir, CEMA’s responsibility should not just be regulatory and marketing but in the production and processing of both products.  It must be given responsibility to connect with farmers to improve quality through production, quality seed supply and management of the business aspect of both the coconut and cocoa to farmers.

            One other matter I would like to highlight here is the role of traditional chiefs and community leaders in governance, especially at the village and community level.  Sir, time and time again we have benefited from their good works but have not given them due recognition.  As has already been highlighted by my other colleagues, it is also my people’s wish that our chiefs are given more recognition through appropriate legislation to make their roles stronger.

            Mr Speaker, there is another matter that is of great concern to my people as we move to accept the reopening of the Gold Ridge Mine.

            Sir, my people living in the downstream part of the operation have already suffered greatly from the previous mining operation.  Many times our views have not been taken seriously by the company and the government. 

Mr Speaker, during the previous mining operation, there was evidence of poisoning, like fish dying, shellfish, eels and other foods we get from the river.  We get a lot of our protein from the river and not the sea like the rest of the country.

            We also experience severe flooding and damages to our food gardens.  My people rely heavily on the land to bring them not only food security but regular income as well.  Erosion took place due to the hills being opened up by the mining activity upstream.

            Mr Speaker, I would like to request the government and the company to seriously consider compensation packages for my people for previous damages done, and a new and a better understanding for the future now while the company is still in its initial stage of operation.  Whatever it is, we would like something beneficial to my people done before December 2007, when the company will start panning out gold bars, as has been announced.

            Sir, another important matter for us is RAMSI.  It is important that law and order and the rule of law is truly back to normal before we can, as a Parliament begin thinking of an early exit strategy for RAMSI.  On behalf of my people of North Guadalcanal, I must sincerely thank RAMSI for the very good job done so far.

            Sir, it is also a fact that Guadalcanal as a province does not have a hospital of its own, and so I would like the government, which I am a part of, to look seriously into giving necessary assistance to mini-hospital at Gorou in my constituency.  This mini hospital will serve a good number of people in the province.  I think it is only fair that we ask this favor from the government because we have been giving so much away for this country over the years.

            Finally, but not the least is land issue.  My constituency perhaps has a large slice of what the colonial masters called ‘wasteland’.  I wish to say in this house that there is no such thing as ‘wasteland’ in my constituency or Guadalcanal Island for that matter.  If the Commissioner of Lands still has any ‘wasteland’ on North Guadalcanal Constituency, please take immediate steps to remove that from your records.

            Sir, in my constituency, land is the single most important commodity to help fulfill our dream of quality life for us all.

            With these very few remarks, Mr Speaker, may I once again thank the Prime Minister, and I beg to support the motion.

 

Mr RIUMANA:  Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me the floor to contribute to this motion of sine die.

            First of all, Mr Speaker, I wish to thank His Excellency for the speech from the Throne.  I also wish to thank each and every Member of Parliament and more especially those who have constructively contributed to the debate.  I hope the government of the day takes the contributions as a guide to lead our nation to prosperity.

            Mr Speaker, I also wish to thank yourself for the wisdom in guiding the parliamentary proceedings and the hardworking Clerk and the Parliament staff.

            Let me at this point, Mr Speaker, congratulate the government of the day for the bold decision taken by defeating the motion of no confidence.  The democratic process has taken its course and the result of our decisions will be judged by the output and our performance.  The results of our decision will be measured against how best we serve the noble interest of our people and nation, Solomon Islands.

            Mr Speaker, I sincerely acknowledge and appreciate my good people of Hograno/Kia/Havulei constituency for the contribution they have had towards the economy of the country.  It is our sincere hope that the government does appreciate and accordingly reciprocate the contribution my people have done to this country.  Furthermore Mr Speaker, I sincerely acknowledge my people for being law abiding citizens of the country given the fact that we as a nation share the hardship and pain we have gone through in this country.

            Mr Speaker, I also wish to raise my concern on the fact that we seem to point fingers to the previous administration as an excuse to justify points that we cannot explain.  As a government, Mr Speaker, we must be responsible to shoulder the responsibilities.  We were called to serve this nation, so let us serve with humility and dignity.

            Mr Speaker, the Speech from the Throne calls for national unity.  It has unified us as one people and one nation.  We were led to believe this connotation.  But the question is, are we really one people one nation?  Or would it better to rephrase it as many people with different cultures, different traditions/practices but One Nation, may I ask Mr Speaker?

            If we go to the streets and ask the people where they are from, that he/she would either say from Guadalcanal, that he/she would either say from Malaita, he/she would either say from Isabel or Choiseul, and even if we ask ourselves in this chamber we would say, ‘I am from Isabel or from Malaita’.  No one will say ‘I am from Solomon Islands’.  When are we going to say we are from Solomon Islands? 

            As a nation, Mr Speaker, we must respect and honor ourselves as a nation.  We as leaders must respect the cultures, the attitude, behaviors and manners of each other.  We cannot and must not allow selfish/greedy attitude at the expense of the law abiding citizens to override or control the nation with hidden motives. 

If we allow and listen to those with hidden agendas and those with selfish greedy attitude in running the national affairs of this country, they will always take us back.  Therefore, that is not only painful but also unfair to those who really, truly and genuinely care for this nation.

            Mr Speaker, how true was the historic speech from the Throne that the Grand Coalition for Change Government recognizes the importance of our human resources from Temotu in the east to the Shortlands in the west, from Sikaiana and Ongtong Java in the north to Rennell & Bellona in the south. 

Sir, the recent appointment of the foreign Attorney General has no respect for the Solomon Islands laws and also no respect of the laws of PNG does not speak well of our recognition of our human resources and sovereignty as so often echoed far and loud in this chamber.  I therefore call on the Minister responsible for Immigration to deport the person who has no respect for the laws of this country. The law of this country is the much talked about sovereignty.  Therefore, let the laws that protect the sovereignty of our county take its full force.

            Mr Speaker, the appointment of a foreign Attorney General speaks a loud and clear message that the government does not have trust and confidence on our own human resources.  It is a clear message that our local lawyers are not competent and not capable to take up the job.  If we do not trust our own people then we must also stop talking about sovereignty because sovereignty is of the people, for the people and by the people of a sovereign nation.

            Mr Speaker, we have experienced many difficulties in the recent past.  We have experienced the foregone social unrest which has brought the nation to its knees.  We have also experienced the riot which marks the darkest hour of our political history for some of us. 

Sir, these are results and products of inequitable distribution of economical activities.  As we all know, the environment conducive for economical activity exists here in Honiara, Guadalcanal.  This has resulted in urban drift especially for younger generations who finally resort to unwanted behavior when life becomes difficult for them.

            The bottom up approach, Mr Speaker, could be the gateway to equitably distribute economical activities to the rural populace to equally participate and engage in nation building. 

Mr Speaker, the policy on bottom approach is just a broad statement that means nothing to the rural people who mandated us to execute their constitutional interest.  Mr Speaker, the bottom up policy means nothing if the rural development concept is not well defined; it means nothing if the implementation strategy is not undertaken accordingly, and above all it means nothing if we do not have the capital to finance the whole development concept.

            Mr Speaker, the diplomatic standoff between Australia and Solomon Islands must be resolved as early as possible.  Australia has been and will always be an important development partner in the region.  Let us remind ourselves that when it is strength to one country, it is weakness to another. 

Mr Speaker, in this global community, in this global family we depend on each other for existence and survival.  Let our differences be resolved professionally and accordingly.  Our politics should not and must not put at risk our noble objectives.

            Furthermore, Mr Speaker, our development budget has always been funded by donor partners as previous speakers have said over the decades.  If we continue to take confrontational approach to our donor partners, no one will inject fund to our development budget, which will lead to the so called bottom up approach at limbo and we will be swallowing our own words and finally we will just become a laughing stock.

            Mr Speaker, most agricultural opportunity areas in the country have been logged and re-logged.  Sadly, they were left for re-growth without any development plan and without any intention.  Mr Speaker, agricultural activities cannot be undertaken in the jungle.  The jungle must be cleared to pave the way for agricultural activity.  Therefore, Mr Speaker, I call on the Ministry of Forestry and the Ministry of Agriculture that they must collaborate to device a development concept that would best utilize our people and our resources.

            Finally, Mr Speaker, I wish the government the best of success.  May the government be filled with wisdom to lead the nation in accordance with the laws of the land.  It is how we implement and how we address to satisfy the interest and the needs of our rural people that count the most. 

God bless our Solomon Islands.  Thank Mr Speaker, and I support the motion.

 

Hon MANETOALI:  Mr Speaker, thank you for allowing me the floor to contribute to the debate on the sine die motion. 

Mr Speaker, I shall be very brief and from the outset my greetings to my people of Gao/Bugotu constituency, the chiefs, elders, men, women, youths and children.  My constituency starts from Leili in the west to Tausese in the east.  I would like to extend my thanks to my people in Gao/Bugotu for the warm welcome during my first constituency tour this year.  I assure my people that I will always visit you every year to talk to your about the government and what is going in the governing system.

            Also as the Minister for Justice and Legal Affairs, my greetings to all the judges, lawyers, court staff, Customary Land Appeal Court Justices, Local Court Justices, and chiefs in this country.  I thank all you for your continued loyal duties to this country. 

            Mr Speaker, as the leader of Companion in the Diocese of Isabel, my special greetings goes to my companion and brothers in Choiseul, Western, Russells and Isabel.  I wish you all best in the upcoming Regional Conference at Tabalia.

            Mr Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to thank His Excellency the Governor General for his maiden speech on Monday 2nd October 2006 in this honourable house.

            Mr Speaker, the speech from the throne is a tradition we have adopted when we attain Independence on 7th July 1978.  It is a wonderful opportunity for parliamentarians to hear from Her Majesty’s representative in this honourable house, the National Parliament. 

            His Excellency the Governor General is not always present in Parliament with parliamentarians, only in certain occasions that the Governor General is with the parliamentarians such as on Monday 2nd October 2006 when His Excellency came to deliver his traditional speech.

            Mr Speaker, I also extend my acknowledgement to His Excellency for visiting my constituency in early September this year.  I extend my thanks to His Excellency.  His Excellency’s visit is in line with the rural development thinking - visiting people in the rural areas.

            Mr Speaker, the MP for North West Choiseul during his debate to the Speech from the Throne referred to the rain during the ceremony on Monday and told us about the superstitious meaning of rain in North West Choiseul.  For myself, Mr Speaker, the rainy and cloudy day reminds me of London where the British Parliament is.  That was the normal weather in England.  No doubt being the representative of Her Majesty in Solomon Islands, His Excellency brought English weather with him when he came to Parliament on Monday 2nd October.

            Mr Speaker, England has been our traditional friend so when I talk about England weather it is true.  At the same time the rain provides showers of blessing hence, His Excellency came to Parliament on Monday with showers of blessing to us parliamentarian members and to yourself too, Mr Speaker.

            Mr Speaker, this nation is based on the preamble to the national constitution, which the Minister for Lands quoted yesterday.  There are three important components to the preamble, and these three things are the three cornerstones of this nation.  They are:

 

1.         The guiding hand of God

2.         Worthy customs of our ancestors; and

3.         Wisdom

 

            Mr Speaker, this nation must be based on wisdom because the preamble says so.  The country is named after King Solomon as well.  Wisdom does not come from anywhere but it comes from listening to our people, listening to their cries and their needs.  It comes from our worthy customs and it comes from the Almighty.  Mr Speaker, when we allow wisdom to rule, the country is successful but when we do not allow wisdom to rule we fail.

            Mr Speaker, on the independence of the judiciary, the Grand Coalition recognises the independence of the judiciary from the executive and the legislature.  My stand is that there should be no interference towards our judiciary and that the judiciary should freely operate in upholding the rule of law in this country.

            At this juncture, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the work of the judiciary and thank the Chief Justice for wisely leading in the judiciary sector.  Even though during the darkest hours, Mr Speaker, in 2000, 2001, 2002, the judiciary was operating its normal functions, and is still continuing until today.

            Mr Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the chiefs for their continuous leadership in our rural areas.  The Chief Justice Mr Speaker, through the Department, is now working on a proposal for the resolution of tribal or customary land disputes which provides a greater role for chiefs and traditional leaders in land dispute resolution.

            The proposal, Mr Speaker, has gone through consultations with the public, has been put to Cabinet at the last government and drafting instruction for a proposed legislative framework is being drawn up.

            The proposed land dispute resolution panel, Mr Speaker, is expected to incorporate customary values and human traditional justice and system into the formal legal sector.

            The RAMSI law and justice program, Mr Speaker, provided a legal adviser to work with the Chief Justice on options for reform to land dispute resolution mechanisms.

            The program legal policy adviser is advising the Permanent Secretary, Mr Speaker, on how to remunerate local court and customary land appeal court justices under current legislations and changes to provide for remuneration of local justices.  This is with the view to reinvigorate the local courts throughout the country.  The department is also now trying to develop ideas on looking into the roles of traditional leaders in our communities.

            Mr Speaker, also at this time I would like to thank the work of RAMSI in our country for providing security to the citizens of this nation.

            In regards to churches, Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the Grand Coalition Government for providing finances for the work of churches. 

I can assure my people of Gao/Bugotu or other rural areas that the government would assist the churches in the rural areas in the years to come. 

Mr Speaker, I put my full support to that provision in that one tenth of the government revenue will be given to the work of churches. 

You will see in the Bible in Malachi in the Old Testament, Mr Speaker, the principle that God Himself has put to His people of Israel that God will open the windows of heaven - blessings.  Not one window but a lot of windows.  I believe that Solomon Islands will one day be giving out to other people than receiving all the time.  Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the Government for that one.

            Mr Speaker, before I finish I would like to thank you for your leadership in this honourable house during the sittings.  I admire you, Mr Speaker, for sitting very long hours with strong concentration unlike the Members of Parliament who are free to go out and come in.  Yourself, Mr Speaker, you are always there to control this honourable house, and I thank you for that. Thank you Mr Speaker.

            Having said what I want to say Mr Speaker, I support the motion and I beg to take my seat.

 

(applause)

 

Mr MAGGA:   Mr Speaker, I will be very, very brief in contributing to this sine die motion.

            First of all, Mr Speaker, before I can say something I would like to quote a scripture that always supports me in times of loneliness, in times of pain and in times of not knowing what to do.  This is taken from Proverbs Chapter 3 verse 5 and I quote:  “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy path.”      Mr Speaker, I believe this should be the focus of all leaders in this House. 

Sir, this is my first time to enter politics, and therefore I have never been in this Chamber to witness and watch Members of Parliament debating.  I want to say something in this regard because I believe our parliamentary system is based on the Westminster System and the Westminster System is democracy.  I believe democracy is based on good judgment and love.

            As I sit here from day one till now, I can hear a lot of Members of Parliament contributing to any subject or any motion, with lots of character assassination.  It is quite strange for me to hear mockeries and attacks.  I believe being Solomon Islanders, our culture is based on love and togetherness and therefore when I hear people criticising one another it is a sore in my heart.  

I believe the only way we can move forward is to collectively put our decisions together and collectively talk about things that will be of benefit to our people and not to judge one another.

            Mr Speaker, I am sorry for saying this but I feel this is not right because if we are in small committees and we speak on subjects we do not criticise and judge one another.  But in this chamber I can see a lot of criticisms targeting individuals.  I want this Parliament to come back to its right sense by putting our heads together to discuss matters of importance for our people.

            We as leaders are the architects of decisions that will be implemented for the development of this country, and therefore we must be mindful when we speak in Parliament because every law and regulation is adopted here in this chamber.  Those laws and regulations are adopted or passed for the benefit of our people - the people of Solomon Islands.

            I can recall back making a speech on setting up a good government because I believe the only way we can run the country and see the country develop and attain its maturity is by creating good governance.  The system of government we are running today, as I have always mentioned, is very expensive.

            I will repeat again, if we establish a state government it is also going to be very expensive.  The only way is to cut off this provincial government and state government and let us go back to the rural areas.  Let us create local governments in our 50 constituencies because I believe it will be very, very cheap running the government that way.

            The provincial government is just a photocopy of the financial obligation of what Members of Parliament have in their hands like the RCDF.  We also hear that provincial governments also have ward grants.  This is spending a lot of money on the same system. 

Sir, before state government is brought into this Parliament, let us sit back and reason what sort of government is best for our people because our culture is so diversified that any foreign  system that is going to be adopted in this nation cannot work.

            Mr Speaker, I would like to touch on the statement made by the Prime Minister in this honourable house, which I support him for saying that because this is the only Prime Minister, I believe will stand for the needs of this country.  I believe he will be the one who can say no and yes.  Often times we were led astray to bow down to foreign ideas and bow down to systems that are not really right for our people.

            Mr Speaker, I also want to record in this chamber a sort of advice that I would like to give to the Ministers.  We need to work and serve our people.  When I see Ministers not coming into the chamber to answer questions, that to me is not right.  We are elected by our people to serve our people and it is in this chamber that we can serve our people.

            Mr Speaker, I would also like to touch on our foreign policy.  Successive governments have come and gone and it is our customary practice that we still remain in the same system in conducting our foreign affairs. 

I am saying this because when our Prime Minister was in New York he met with the Vice President of Cuba and there was so much talk in Solomon Islands and in the newspapers about that.  But we need to change.  There is need for us to change. 

The reason why we always want to base our system and want to continue our relations with our traditional partners is because we do not have a system that will go to other countries.  I mean why not bring in doctors from Cuba and why not bring police from Iran?  No problem!  There is no problem with that. 

As I said the conduct of our foreign policy is always the same all along.  We do not want to go to other countries but our foreign policy is based on friends to all and enemy to none.  Therefore, when we want to try and liaise with other countries that are not traditionally our partners, we can do it because that is how we can conduct our foreign policy.  May be we can get better oil prices from other partners because the price of fuel in this country is very expensive that even if you want to send a boat to Temotu you have to incur $120,000 for fuel because Temotu is very far.  This is why I am saying this so that all of us can work together, Members on the other side and members on the government side to see what policy is best for our people, so that we can implement them to the best of our ability.

            Mr Speaker, before I sit down, I would like to thank you very much for your leadership in guiding this Parliament.  I also thank the Clerk and her staff for their hard work in making sure this meeting proceeds to the best expectation of everybody.

            Mr Speaker, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my people for their stand in voting me into Parliament.  Lest I forget I want to raise one issue to the government, and that is, Temotu Province is very far from Honiara. 

Geographically, Temotu is part of Vanuatu because when a ship leaves Lata at 6 o’clock in the evening it will arrive at the Banks Island at 6 o’clock in the morning next day.  But when a ship comes down to Honiara it would take three days for that ship to reach Honiara.

Sir, in order for Temotu Province to be still a part of Solomon Islands, I want to recommend to the government if it can create a policy making Temotu a duty free zone so that investors can come and manufacture electrical appliances for our shops to sell at very cheap prices and people of Honiara and other provinces can go there to buy.  I believe that is the only way Temotu can contribute to the government. 

Temotu Province does not have many natural resources but only very limited sea resources and I feel the only way Temotu can contribute to this nation is for the government to allow Temotu to be a duty free zone so that everybody in Honiara can come and shop and we can contribute better to the Government of Solomon Islands.

            Mr Speaker, with those few remarks I support the motion.

 

(applause)

 

Mr MARK KEMAKEZA:  Thank you very much Mr Speaker, for allowing me to contribute very briefly to this very important motion moved by the Honourable Prime Minister.

            Mr Speaker, as the motion is a traditional motion, I shall begin by thanking your good chair and congratulate you for the good work you have been able to display in the conduct of this Meeting of Parliament.

            Mr Speaker, I also wish to thank the Clerk and staff for ably doing work that has been checked every day during the course of this meeting.

            On the Speech from the Throne Mr Speaker, on behalf of my people of Ngella Constituency, I wish to thank His Excellency, the Governor General of Solomon Islands for seeing it fit in delivering the Speech to this honorable house.

            I also wish to thank His Excellency for the content of the Speech and also for what he has been able to summarise, which I believe honorable colleagues have already been able to say a lot on it.

            Mr Speaker, I also wish to contribute very briefly towards this very important motion on some of the areas which I see as a newly elected Member of Parliament, including the other twenty-four Members of Parliament in this honorable house, which I believe have been very interesting.

            Mr Speaker, first on the level of debate on this floor of Parliament.  I am sure for us newly elected Members of Parliament the debates made by our experienced Members of Parliament can be seen as contributions, which I believe if controlled can be reiterated as to whether they are bills or motions that have been moved daily during the course of the meeting.

            Mr Speaker, let me also acknowledge the Grand Coalition for Change Government for the statement of policies it has been able to deliver.  I am still surprised that the other side of the House continues to raise concerns and reservations against this side of the House, especially on our good Ministers and as well as responsibilities that line ministries have been doing.

            Mr Speaker, if we look carefully at those two very important policies that have been released, I am sure this House would not confuse each other.

            Mr Speaker, allow me now to draw close attention to two very important ministries, which I would like my good hard working Ministers to draw close attention to.

            Mr Speaker, to the good hard working Minister of Provincial Government and Constituency Development, as already stated, a lot of my colleagues have spoken not quite negatively but have spoken with some reservations on the establishment of our provincial governments throughout Solomon Islands.

            I wish to thank the existing provincial governments including the Honiara City Council for their continual existence especially on the normal grants coming from my good Minister of Provincial Government.  I thank provincial politicians, especially the premiers and their good executives and members of assemblies for seeing the level of debate and also what we have been able to set together in this honourable house.

            Mr Speaker, to those respective provincial governments that shall be going for their respective provincial elections, on behalf of my people of Ngella Constituency, I wish them all the best, especially for my own province, the Central Islands Province.

            I must also thank the honourable premier, his executive government, the provincial secretary, the staff and the good people of Central Province that their election in December would be an election that will be able to bring about a normal democratic system that is expected from the Central Province.

            Mr Speaker, may I also suggest to my good Minister of Provincial Government, especially in its 2007 budget under his recurrent expenditure, to include or at least consider three established posts mainly to be responsible as desk officers within that Ministry.

            Mr Speaker, these desk officers should be responsible for three areas. The first desk officer should be responsible for Malaita and Guadalcanal Province.   The second desk officer should be responsible for Western, Makira/Ulawa and the Honiara City Council. The third desk officer should be responsible for the five smaller provinces namely Choiseul, Isabel, Temotu, Central and Rennell/Bellona.

I believe with the establishment of the 2007 recurrent budget they will be able to see that the flow of communication, correspondence and expectations within that department or ministry would be able to flow as and when expected.

            Mr Speaker, these officers must also be supported by logistic support under the respective ministry for its 2007 capital development budget to also include at least two vehicles for the respective desk officers under respective provincial governments.

            Mr Speaker, I am sure the good Minister would be able to consider this and also to see, as has been mentioned on this floor of Parliament, the annual grants to be considered an increase from 10% to 30% so that grants given to provinces can be able to support the devolved functions needed to run services that we expect.

            Mr Speaker, to the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, I also wish to suggest to my good hard working Minister in his 2007 budget to closely look at what is going to be for respective provinces.

            Mr Speaker, what I am specifically highlighting here is if you go down to the market outlets, especially here in Honiara, you would notice that most of the eskies come from my constituency.

 

(hear, hear)

 

I believe if my good fishermen can be assisted they would be able to bring in best quality fish that will be able to feed not only people in Honiara but also for export to overseas countries as well.  I would like my good Minister for Fisheries and Marine Resources to take note of this so that my good people can be given something from the 2007 budget that we are looking forward to.

            Mr Speaker, I also wish to join other colleagues on both sides of the House to thank the Honourable Prime Minister and your good staff that we have been able to see Ministers and Permanent Secretaries being able to attend the sittings of Parliament.  I think Permanent Secretaries must attend Parliament Meetings so that they can be able to answer questions raised by the other side of the House so that we can go along with the expectations from the answers.

            I am very thankful to those Ministers who have been able to answer questions without the presence of their Permanent Secretaries.

            Mr Speaker, I also wish to thank the churches for their understanding of this meeting of Parliament when a motion of no confidence was moved, and I do not wish to repeat myself because all have been said by good colleagues who have contributed towards the motion.  But I only wish to thank the churches for their prayers and also for their understanding on the issues that are currently going on.

            I will not comment on the stand-off issue between Solomon Islands and Australia because I believe the Honourable Prime Minister and Ministers of the Crown have already handled that at the level we expect.

            Mr Speaker, to my good people of Ngella Constituency, I wish to thank them and also to say that within the next three to four days I am hoping to visit and see them especially my good committee and those who have been expecting to see me.  We must always try to maintain our people so that we can be voted back into this House.

            I also wish to thank our bilateral countries, the High Commissioners, the Ambassadors and especially our very good bilateral partner, the Republic of China (Taiwan) who has been very, very instrumental up until to date and to his government.  I sincerely thank others also for their good contributions and their continual support towards this government, the past governments and hopefully for future governments.

            Mr Speaker, with those few remarks I beg to support this motion.

 

Hon BOSETO:  Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me the floor to contribute to this motion of sine die presented which to this honorable House by the Honorable Prime Minister.

            Mr Speaker, first of all let me thank you for your wisdom, understanding and patience and graciously chairing this Eighth Parliament in its Second Meeting.

            Mr Speaker, thank you for accepting my apology for not being able to attend the first four days of the first week due to my medication in Australia, partly because of the restriction on visa. I arrived in Australia before they imposed this order.  I was given single entry permit and so I thought it better to finish my medication and come back once and for all.

Mr Speaker, I also thank His Excellency the Governor General, Sir Nathaniel Waena for the Speech from the Throne.  Mr Speaker, although I was not here when he presented the speech, I was able to read through His speech and identified certain points and emphasis in regard to tribal lands and the bottom-up approach.  If you listen to Choiseul (Lauru),  Isabel or the Chiefs’ Councils in Malaita, Temotu; these people are already thinking about how to prepare development.  People whose land is health and life and security as well as thinking about bringing about this bottom-up to be more based and rooted on land, I hope you would be able to catch some of the things I am going to say.

So often, Mr Speaker, the flow of information whether through radio or newspaper, is always from the international down to the bottom.  It is now time for us to develop and share information bottom-up.  It is not just money that we need but more wisdom and the worthy customs of our ancestors to the national or even the international level to understand diversity is languages.  Diversity is cultural identity.

If I stand up this evening and speak in my Kuboro language you would not understand me.  That is my diversity, and that is part of me. 

I think you will remember Genesis Chapter 11 when the people built up the tower.  God destroyed the tower and make the people spread throughout the world in different languages.  He also poured out His spirit and the disciples spoke in many languages.  That means God confirmed diversity within globalisation, and that to me is very, very important.

Mr Speaker, I am going to speak briefly on just two points.  First, let us remember and appreciate our past.  Second, is wisdom and the worthy customs of our ancestors. This is mainly from the Lauru Land Conference, which is all the people who have already died but also I believe that the committee of Cornelius, Joy and Shakespeare Qaloboe and otherwise men are still working on regulations, philosophies, theologies of the Lauru Land Conference out of the wisdom and the worthy customs of our ancestors, and then to make some concluding remarks.

            Mr Speaker, I hope if we extend the time to twelve o’clock it should be all right.

            Let me now start in remembering and appreciating the past.  So often any new government that comes into power is always faced with temptations.  When a new government comes into power it alone can introduce something new.  But I think it would be better to look back and see the things that have been already done.  It is a matter of empowering and giving more money to buy timbers, to utilize their logs, and not the logging companies, to look after the people so that they can utilize the resources themselves.  What they need is money.  It is good to think about pouring money over there.

            This is what the Hebrews said:  “Remember your former leaders, who spoke God’s wisdom and God’s message to you.  Think back on how they lived and died, and imitate their braveness and their faith.”

            First let me thank the churches and the British Government in the 60’s to 70’s before our political independence on 7th July 1978.

            At this point, Mr Speaker, may I read some of the works that both the churches and the government during 60 to 70 years.  I want us to briefly turn our minds back 70 to 80 years before the 7th July 1978 - the day we gained and celebrated our political independence.  

During those first 70 years of the rule of our British Government, both the churches and the government cooperated together to prepare leadership for our emerging nationhood.

            The churches were pioneers in organizing and building village community developments.  Lands were given by village elders and landowners or custodians.  for erecting schools, house lotus, pastors and teachers’ houses, rest houses and so forth - a part of their partnership in development already.  The coming into being of the local council in the late 1940’s and 1950’s strengthened and promoted village governments based on what was already planted by churches.  Through the judicial branch of the government, local court presidents and justices were appointed by the chief justice of the day. 

In Choiseul, we have Mr Livai Papaku as the first president of the local court and the council.  Mr Livai Tanavalu who was a preacher, Rilifia is a Malaitan man who really translated himself to be a Lauru person.  Mr Pitavato – Mamarana, Joseph Kubokoso of Pangoe, Shakespeare Qaloboe of Polo and Sero of Avase.

            Another list here is from the Roman Catholic supplied by the Honourable Kengava.  Anthony Asavalaka of Sirovanga, Chief Soloko is a real wise and paramount chief in Voruvoru.  I admire him very much because when he speaks he is running ahead of us because he could feel when we are talking about the wisdom and the worthy customs of our ancestors.  Loniloni and Michael Poqetogolo. 

Those are, Mr Speaker, the early ones and others followed them.  They were wise men who experienced our customs and wisdom.  With the help of their secretaries they did the work of the council and also preach to us the gospel.

Mr Stephen Kodovaru, a well known businessman was their number one secretary as he traveled regularly around Choiseul on local council launch to collect head taxes, court fees, hawkers and trade store licenses etc. 

They encouraged families to plant coconuts, cocoa, to raise cattle and worked very hard and struggled very hard in their labour, which we continue to reap until today the fruits of their work.

Mr Speaker, we acknowledge and I thank the churches for playing a major role in preparing the first and second generations in the shape of our local and national government in this country. 

They founded the home-grown root of our state government already.  It was a participatory base, it was a partnership base founded and rooted in the village communities and ruled by church leaders, pastors, village elders and court council presidents.

We also thank the British Government for coming to the point where they felt that the British Solomon Islands Protectorate from the bottom up leadership can learn how to stand on its own feet so that they could run their own affairs as a developing nation.

Mr Speaker, they handed over responsibilities to us without bloodshed, like we heard in other countries especially in South Africa.

We thank our first Governor General, Sir Baddeley Devesi and Lady Devesi who served our country for the first two terms and those who followed him. 

We thank our first Prime Minister who was none other than our present Speaker of this Honourable House.  Thank you, sir, and your committed and dedicated wife - your supporter and those who followed after you, especially the late Honourable Solomon Mamaloni for his long-term Prime Ministership.

We also thank our previous politicians who made wise and forward looking plans and actions.  We thank our public servants - both men and women.  We thank our constitutional officers who have been faithful in their responsibilities.

Mr Speaker, I can go on thanking our previous leaders, but let me in our minds and hearts thank God for their dedication, their struggles, their wisdom, their hard work as foundation builders, as community pillars and mentors that must be remembered.

We also thank those women, men, children who daily bring cups of water and bundles of firewood, went to their gardens and cook foods for our aged people who are sitting in the bedrooms of their leaf houses.  Although their names have not been broadcasted or published in the newspapers, I am sure many of their names are written in God’s book in heaven!  To God be the glory.

I would also from the bottom up some information from the wisdom and the worthy customs.  These are some of things that we share.  It is 28 years now since the Lauru Land Conference was established in 1981 voluntarily until 1986 when we paid two full time workers.

When God created male and female to be like them and resemble them, He is a community-creating God.  He is a communal God, not an individual and lonely God.  Land belongs to the tribal community.  There is no such thing as “customary land” in our indigenous context in Lauru because “customs” can be changed, amended and reviewed.  But tribes (sinaqi) and sub-tribes (ziranae jojolo) cannot be changed. 

Land belongs to the tribe.  Land and tribe is one.  The tribe’s life-land-help are inter-related, inter-dependent, inter-sustained, inter-secured for their tribe and inter-tribal wholeness of life.

At the Fourteenth Annual General Meeting at Susuka Village in 1994, the Lauru Land Conference of Tribal Community in Choiseul Province expressed the wholeness of life’s inter-relatedness in the following statement under the title: LAND IS A FOUNDATION AND HOME OF THE WHOLE LIFE. 

This is a philosophical and theological concept and understanding of land.  Land resources above and under it can never be legally separated from the question of land is foundation and a home of whole life. 

The life of individuals and community is intertwined within the inter-relatedness of life in human beings, trees, plants, animals, insects, birds, fish, reptiles, crabs inside the ground and so only six feet belongs to you. 

The conference further expressed its emphasis in the following:  The above statement has come again and reconfirmed that our life can never be separated from land, sea, river, air, trees and logs.  If we try to separate ourselves from land and look at it objectively as just the source of resources for economical development, we may not respect its spiritual existence and thus we destroy life in its inter-relatedness and inter-dependence.

Then we go on to the 12th Annual General Meeting, which I earlier read, the Lauru Land Conference Tribal Community tried to understand the original definition of “economy” in relation to our people’s security, sustainability in our community of inter-dependence and inter-sustenance through sharing and caring. 

We were studying the “Living House” of 1 Peter 2 verse 5:  “To the house of political economy”.  Then we came across one definition of economy which is really more relevant to our “extended family” house in our indigenous people’s context.  This is what we learnt then. 

“Economy” means “management of the household.”  The word ‘economy’ comes from two Greek words: ‘OIKOS” meaning “house” or “household” and NOMOS meaning “rule”, “law” or “custom”. 

Put together they point to “the management” or “stewardship of the household.  An OIKOS/NOMOS, the person involved is a steward or manager, and “economics” was originally the management of the resources of a household on how goods were produced, distributed, shared and consumed for the well-being of the household members.

In our island of Lauru, we have both young and old people.  More and more of our school leavers are becoming burdens to their own families and relatives.  There are increasing numbers of babies born.  Yet we belong to one OIKOS (house).  Our father-manager of our one house must have the indigenous spirit of caring and sharing equally and equitably to every member of his Lauru household - aunty, cousins, papa, zai, köqö, ziva. 

Inside our OIKOS there are many natural resources in our “mother land” and our “father sea”.  Who are our managers and distributors of our land of Lauru?  Will they be good shepherds and good managers?  Will they seriously take to responsibly implement our national constitutional goal for equality, social justice and equitable distribution of incomes?

Our guests, our settlers, our visitors, our helpers, our technical assistances, our advisers, and our developers who want to be with us in a one OIKOS must know that our life-land and health are inter-related, interdependent, inter-sustained, inter-secured and inter-connected within one house  of our wholeness of life.

Nationalization and globalization of a wider house – OIKOS, demands wisdom, honesty, impartiality, trustworthiness, humility and courage to be possessed by our directors, managers and commanders of our national-global OIKOS.  These higher qualities are needed at all times so that both our hunger for materialism and our love for money cannot replace our five senses.  That is our sense of seeing, our sense of hearing, sense of feeling, our sense of testing and our sense of smelling.  Once our needed qualities and our God given senses are in eclipse (die out) because of the competitive nature of our free world market, we can easily become worshippers of “greed”.  (Luke 12:13-21 and Colossians 3:5), and we will then be unable to see, hear and feel the cries of those who are suffering to sustain our “comfort” from the periphery of our one global OIKOS world.

Mr Speaker, I would like to report the customary land recording.  The land recording at Auluta is a bottom-up approach too. The Grand Coalition Government is going to bring a small legislation.  The legislation is to say that tribal land belongs to the people of Solomon Islands, and that will help us to relate to see what we have been doing under the Customary Land Recording Act passed in this House in 1994, and then we will try to see the bottom-up approach and consultation approach is very perfect in Auluta.  But when you come to the question of registration that is where we have to sort it out.  When that bill comes, I hope that you must try to talk about land dispute in the context of where you are.  Do not try to bring it to the courts again.

Let me just read a small book I have been writing but it is good for me to share it because it is a bottom up information.

We say that relationship is based in justice.  Jesus called his disciples together and said to them “Do you know that those who considered themselves rulers of the heathen have power over them and the leaders have complete authority.  This however, is not the way it is among you.  If one of you wants to be great he must be the servant of the rest.  And if one of you wants to be first he must be the slave of all.  For even the Son of Man did not come to be served.  He came to serve and give His life to redeem many”.

I quote this because a lot of things were said yesterday in our debate on the motion of no confidence, which I feel that we on this side of the House must take those things.  All of us, may I say, are in possession of sinful nature and do not claim to be righteous.  But these challenges must be taken by this side of the House.

Mr Speaker, after hearing the challenges during the debate of the vote of no confidence from the opposition side on the government side, we must be humble enough to exercise or own self examination and try to daily listen to God’s holy spirit to continue lead and fill us in our whole being so that we would be able to really taste some of his desires for us.

Mr Speaker, before I resume my seat, I thank you once again for your able and wise gracious spirit of conducting the daily business of the House.  To the clerk and the staff members of this honourable house, I thank you all.

I thank His Excellency the Governor General and His family. I thank the Head of Judiciary, the Chief Justice and all who are under his responsibility.  I thank the Commissioner of Police and those who are under his order and care.  I thank the Churches and I thank everybody. 

Lastly, I thank the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the Leader of the Independent, all the Ministers and all of us here.  We thank God for leading us in the last two weeks.  I thank my constituency and the people of Lauru who perhaps are listening.  We should work more although we do not have money at the moment but you must be prepared.  I want to say to the South Choiseul Constituency that I am still working on the money.  Perhaps when I come to visit the honourable members of each ward we have to have a meeting and to find out how you prioritise your items.  We thank everybody and we thank one and all.

May God bless us.  To God be the glory.  Thank you.

 

(applause)

 

Hon Sogavare:  Mr Speaker, point of order.  With your consent, Sir, I beg to move that standing order 10 be suspended in accordance with Order 81 to allow continuation of the business of the House until adjourned by the Speaker.

 

Permission granted.

 

 

Standing Orders suspended after 4.30 pm

 

Hon SOALAOI:  Thank you once again Mr Speaker, for giving me another opportunity to contribute to this very important motion of sine die.

            Mr Speaker, I will be very brief.  I have three sections to cover in my speech.  Firstly I want to briefly touch on the Speech from the Throne by His Excellency and then concentrate a little bit on the Department of Health and Medical Services, and lastly offer a few observations about this current Meeting of Parliament.

            Mr Speaker, firstly I must congratulate His Excellency for an excellent speech.  To me, personally, the speech contains wealth of instructions, directions and political will that reflects the will of the Grand Coalition for Change Government in taking this nation forward.

            Mr Speaker, I would like to take us back to the speech on page number 4

            Mr Speaker, there are three considerations that are important in the development of this nation, and I wish to read from the speech which says, “new political directions” which I see as very important that any government for that matter will have to demonstrate the will or any political will to show us the direction or to redirect the country in the right direction.

            Secondly, Mr Speaker, on pressing issues, I think in failing to identify the problems facing our people, we will never formulate appropriate strategies in order to deliver to meet the needs of our people.

            Thirdly, Mr Speaker, identifying prospects to achieve the development of our nation in order to have a prosperous nation.  It is also very important for leaders to be able to identify opportunities that are before us in order for us to also formulate appropriate and proper strategies that are not only helpful but sensitive to the needs of our country.

            Mr Speaker, I agree with His Excellency that nation building is a continuing and challenging process.  I as a national leader also believe that my other colleagues share with me the same sentiments of what has happened so far until today has only made us more determined to serve this nation as never before.

            Mr Speaker, I also would like to say that the beauty of the speech of the throne is the fact that it recognises the supremacy of God over this nation.

            Let me say, Mr Speaker, that the honor of prosperity to our people is simply from God to the church, to the government and then to the people.  This government has to realise and I believe we know we recognise that the church is between God and the government, and the government is between God, the church and the people.  That is the very reason why we have been elected is to stand on behalf of our people and the superior authorities namely the church and then God.  We realize, Mr Speaker, that we are accountable in all sorts of directions, not only to our people and the government, but also to the one who created us.

            Mr Speaker, may I now draw your attention to the Ministry which I am responsible for, the Department of Health and Medical Services.  I like what His Excellency said on page 16 of the Speech from the Throne.  - “A healthy population means a wealthy nation.  All of us also know that without health everything else is nothing.

I would like to encourage you to continue listen to our health programmes every 6.45 pm in the evening where you are reminded to be a health conscious individual or citizen of this country.  I think all of us must realise and I want to urge all of us especially leaders, not only leaders but also the people of this country to be health conscious because the unfortunate thing about the Ministry of Health is that we can only cure but we cannot raise the dead.  I think it is good for us to be mindful and careful of what we do with our lives in our daily activities.

            The Ministry of Health, Mr Speaker, has entered some very important developments since taking up office.  Mr Speaker, let me report to the House that recently the Ministry has entered into a medical alliance with our Taiwan Pacific Alliance which will see the development of sound medical infrastructures and facilities in this country.

            Mr Speaker, I am very optimistic that should only we be given time, this Ministry under this government and under my leadership is very determined to ensure that it comes up to a status where it can provide curative approach to our health system.

            Mr Speaker, all of us realise that much of our efforts has been put into trying to encourage people to prevent them from being sick or from getting into trouble.  This is putting more emphasis on preventative health care.  This simply shows we cannot cure any major diseases - we cannot cure them at the moment. 

Mr Speaker, we are determined to go from a preventative health care system to a system where we can also cure.  That will prevent us from engaging ourselves in very expensive overseas referral.  I think this is the determination we have at the moment and my officials are currently working hard in our efforts to develop our health system into a system that can meet the different needs of our country in terms of sickness and diseases, both on ones we know about and diseases that might be new where we really need to be prepared.

            Mr Speaker, I want to report to the House that we have entered into some important developments that will cater for our sick people.

            The most important customer of the Ministry of Health is the sick person.  With all that we do whether it be in the headquarters or in the clinics and hospitals, we are very mindful and we have in our plans, we have in our minds that the most important person that must be addressed, is our sick person.

            Mr Speaker, in terms of HIV I would like to just report to the House, and I won’t be specific on any numbers, but let me say that we have less than 10 cases of confirmed HIV cases.  Since our 2005 medical health report has not gone through Cabinet yet I am not in a position to say anything further on that.  But let me only say that currently we have less than 10 confirmed HIV cases but let us not under estimate the danger of a possible HIV outbreak if we are not health conscious.

            Also just recently the Western Pacific Region of the WHO has developed very important strategies to deal with certain things.  One of which, Mr Speaker, is how to deal with the abuse of alcohol. 

Alcohol in one sense is very important but the thing about it is when you drink alcohol you think you are seeing beautiful things, and the more you drink the more beautiful those things become.  It is the abuse that is our concern. Just like the betel nut, I understand from the beginning it was never used like we are doing today.  It was only for special occasions.  I want also to say that we are abusing betel nut today. 

There is a regional strategy to deal with the abuse of alcohol and we will in the near future launch some activities to start off implementing this strategy.

            Let me also say, Mr Speaker, that it is in the policy of the Grand Coalition Government to start again giving assistance to private health providers such as the Atoifi Hospital and the Helena Goldie.  We recognize the importance of this much needed essential service to the citizens of this nation and this government is committed to assisting those who are helping us provide health services to our people.

            Also, we have in our population people with special needs. They are people who cannot see, people who cannot work properly and people who cannot talk.  I want to say that these people are citizens of Solomon Islands, and we are committed to them.  I would like to thank the former regime, which I found out has given allocation towards this special group of people and we are determined to even improve on that.

            This government is looking at improving our health system to a standard where we cannot only continue to receive assistance from our aid donors or from our bilateral partners who assist us in terms of health, but we also want to be in the future a country that can assist other nations in terms of health. 

In any relationship, Mr Speaker, it is our desire to see that we are not only recipients but we are active participants in dealing with aspects of development. In terms of health we will not want to continue to be on the receiving end.  It is our desire that one day we will be in the giving end.

            While on the Ministry of Health, let me acknowledge a group of countries and organisations that have helped us maintained our health services.  Firstly Mr Speaker, let me officially thank the Republic of China (Taiwan) for ensuring that our health system did not collapse during the recent ethnic crisis.  Mr Speaker, let me also thank AusAid for the various projects we have in the Ministry of Health for the assistance we have from them and we still have and I believe we will continue to have in the future. Also let me thank the WHO for its continuous assistance technically and also financially.  I would also like to thank the World Bank for assisting in our health system.

            The Ministry currently has a sister relationship with Kaoseung National Medical University in Taiwan.  The National Referral Hospital will, in the near future, be undergoing a major facelift.  Since this is a sister relationship, Mr Speaker, it is our desire to see these two sisters grow up like sisters.

            Mr Speaker, we have been assured and we are committed as partners to ensure that the relationship between the National Referral Hospital and the Kaoseung Medical Hospital is developed and grow and in the near future may be we will see a reflection of a sister like relationship between these two hospitals.

            Also let me report to this House that the Ministry has recently passed a bill to control and regulate the use of tobacco in this country.  I am hopeful preparations will be completed in time for the bill to come to Parliament in the next sitting.  This is an overdue legislation that we must have in order for us to comply with international health regulations set out by the WHO.

            Mr Speaker, in terms of lifestyle diseases, the hospital has seen an increase in diseases that are not used to be experienced by people in the past.  These are called lifestyle sicknesses, and the advice we would like to give to the people of this nation, beginning with us leaders is that let us only eat what is meant to be eaten, and only drink what is meant to be drank. 

Mr Speaker, what I mean by this is just recently I visited a specialist with one of our colleagues, who gave us advices that were very important Mr Speaker.  Unfortunately he was in fact telling us to stop eating because a list of things that he wanted us not to eat in that it is a list of our favourite foods.  So the only advice we want to give to the people of this country is to look after ourselves by eating the right type of food and drinking the right water.

            This does not mean that sickness only comes from things like betel nut or cigarette or beer.  That is not what I mean.  I think it is the abuse of these substances that can cause diseases.  So we can eat our favourite food but let us be moderate in our consumption of both food and water.

            Mr Speaker, I would like to also report to the House of my gratitude towards the three associations of the Department of Health which recently announced a nationwide strike.  I am so glad and I would like to congratulate the doctors and nurses for being very understanding.  We have reached an agreement that the strike will be lifted.  After we finish from this meeting, I am taking up that responsibility to ensure that their demands are looked into. 

It is a concern to our people because their health is at risk.  Unfortunately this is a ministry that talks about life and death.  I want to report to the House that you do not have to be scared, but just assist us in ensuring that our doctors and nurses get what they want so that they are given due consideration.

            Mr Speaker, that is all I have to say concerning my Ministry, and I will just offer a few observations before I resume my seat.   

            Firstly, Mr Speaker, I believe we need to see where we want to go.  That is basically what vision is all about.  I am not saying that we do not have any vision but I am saying we need to see where we are going so that we can get there.  We cannot get to where we cannot see. 

Mr Speaker, I am confident that this government has a vision for this nation and the strategies that we have formulated are based on the different ways or methods of getting to the destination that we can see.  I believe every leader of this nation will agree with me that if you do not see where you are going you will never get there or you might end up being frustrated or being a casualty of your own making.

            Mr Speaker, on the ability of the government to deliver to the people, there are four important areas I want to briefly touch on.  Firstly is the political stability of the government.  I believe this is very important because our ability to deliver to the people is very much on this political stability because naturally any ruling government will divert from delivering to consolidating its numbers if there is no stability.  We must bear the responsibility for causing instability.

            I do not want to mention anybody here, but I would just like to say that we are all responsible.  If we want our government to deliver let us all be responsible, let us support our government and let us give it time and support it needs in order for it to deliver.

            Mr Speaker, I believe this country needs unity, which is very essential because if we are not united as a government (I am glad that this side of the House is united with the leader, which is what we sought during this sitting).  I want to assure this nation that unity is here and that will definitely bring some blessings to this nation.  Let us not forget the Bible says unity brings blessings.

            In order for the government to deliver, appropriate policies and strategies are even more important.  Like I have said because of the vision of this government we have devised strategies that are appropriate and are fit to take us to where we are seeing this nation to be.  Determination and commitment on the part of leaders is also of paramount importance. 

Sir, I would like to say that time is of essence and we are optimistic that this government is ready to deliver in due time.  I do not want us to expect a lot from the government in such a short time because I believe the prerequisite for any proper delivery is ample time for preparation before implementation begins. 

If only we have enough time to prepare even the budget Mr Speaker, I know that the delay of the budget is to allow us design a budget structure that is not necessarily the same as the templates being used in the past.  We just do not want to use the templates and fill it in with estimates from different departments.  I believe my hard working Minister of the Department of Planning wants a new structure that takes into account the policies and plans of the government and the different development needs this country as stipulated in our framework.

            I would like to ask all members of this House to understand that if you prepare yourselves properly given time when you start to implement you will never make any mistake.  I am not saying we are not going to make any mistakes, but I can see that the only way for us to deliver properly according to the needs of this country is for us to prepare properly and time is very important like I have said.

            I have said a lot about vision, Mr Speaker, and I would just like to say once again that it is time for us leaders to stand up and take part in the design of the destiny of this nation.  I believe unless we become active partners or participators of development in this country, we will never feel that we own this country or that we own the resources.  It is in the policy of this government to engage resource owners to become active participants in the development of their resources.  I believe this will lead to sustainable development, which this country needs.

            Other parts of this nation do not have the landmass that is necessary for development.  May I specifically mention a part of this country where I come from where we do not have enough land but we have a very large sea area.  We have a lot of good resources in that area and I am glad to see in our policies that this is taken into account. 

The types of developments that will happen on areas that have big land masses are different from the types of development that will take place in areas like Temotu Vattu.  I believe this is a good thing and I would like to encourage all of us to help the government by giving ideas on what type of developments you want in your constituencies rather than trying to prove the government wrong or telling the government to prove you wrong.

            There is a danger of our growing population against our natural resources, and I believe we all understand that the most important resource we have is our human resource.  The Ministry is alarmed at the high population growth rate the country has. 

Sometimes, Mr Speaker, we are not so willing to produce commodities that we earn money from.  But let me just say that this human resource is becoming a commodity, and fortunately that is the very resource we are trying to control in the Ministry of Health.  This seems to be the sweetest commodity to produce.

            Mr Speaker, let me urge all leaders to lead this nation by example.  I have been looking at ways some countries deal with this population issue.  There are countries that have measures like the maximum number of children a couple can have.  Mr Speaker, whilst our human resource is very important we do not want to have a population that will promote the fast depletion of our natural resources.  We also want a healthy population.

            Mr Speaker, I think I have said a lot and I am not sure whether what I have been saying is making any sense, but I believe the Ministry of Health plays a very important role in the development of this nation because our vision says “A healthy population, a healthy and productive Solomon Islands.”  We can only talk, walk and sleep if we are healthy.

            Lastly, Mr Speaker, let me wish all our health workers throughout the nation a merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year 2007.  To my good people of Vattu Constituency, I wish you all a happy celebration.  Have a safe, sound and healthy celebration.  I also wish to extend my greetings to all Solomon Islanders.  As a national leader be assured that your health is very well looked after, and I want to encourage all of us to celebrate in a healthy way.

            I also want to wish our sick patients throughout the country quick recovery so that they can join us in celebrating this coming Christmas and the forthcoming New Year 2007.  I know that your loved ones are waiting to celebrate with you.  To our sick patients, I wish you quick recovery and wish you well.

            Lastly Mr Speaker, may I extend my humble greetings to His Excellency and His family, your good self and your family, the Prime Minister and his family, the Leader of the Opposition and his family, all Cabinet ministers and their families, Members of Parliament and your families.  Not forgetting our disable people, our people with special needs, I also extend to them my greetings.

            With those, Mr Speaker, I support the motion and thank you once again.

 

(applause)

 

Hon SOFU:  Thank you, Mr Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to join other Members of Parliament contribute to this motion of sine die moved by the Prime Minister.

            In contributing to this motion, Mr Speaker, first of all I would like to acknowledge the presence of our loving God in successive governments, in the present government and in future governments.

            Before I go any further, Mr Speaker, I would like to join other Members in this honourable chamber to register word of appreciation to the following people. To His Excellency the Governor General of Solomon Islands for his time to come and deliver the Speech from the Throne at the opening of this Eighth Parliament First Session Second Meeting of year 2006.  Your self Mr Speaker, for your untiring job and the way you have conducted this present Parliament, particularly your wise decision on the conduct of the meeting, your patience to us Members of Parliament and your hard work and thank you for offering your time.

            Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the Honourable Prime Minister for taking up the responsibility of leading this country at this very difficult time.  We are now at the crossroads.  We need a leader who is firm and courageous to carry us through to the other side.

            Mr Speaker, we want a leader like Joshua who was determined to lead the Children of Israel to the other side to the land full of milk and honey and not like Moses who wandered in the wilderness for many years and died in the wilderness.  Solomon Islands needs leaders who are determined to take this country forward.              Mr Speaker, I would also like to thank the Ministers for their hard work in ensuring that the policy of the government is in place in respective ministries.

            Mr Speaker, I would like to record my sincere thanks to the Leader of the Opposition for the good work done in checking the government.

            Mr Speaker, I would like to also accord my sincere word of appreciation for the permanent secretaries and public officers who will be implementing the programs of this present government.

            I am very saddened, Mr Speaker, when I heard on this floor of Parliament negative words being leveled at our public officers.  These people have been there in the service for many years and therefore know their jobs.  They can do their work.  They only need direction to continue do the work they are doing. 

Mr Speaker, some of them are highly qualified officers in their own fields and have served the government for many years, and so we should appreciate them.

            I would also like to thank the provincial premiers, the provincial executives and provincial assembly Members including the Honiara City Council for shouldering the responsibility of looking after the affairs of our provinces.  They are agents of the national government to ensure the policies of the government of the day are carried out at the provincial level, and so we need to thank them.

            Mr Speaker, I would like to record my sincere appreciation to the RAMSI personnel and the Solomon Islands Police Force for providing security, for enforcement of law in this country, especially during the course of this Parliament Meeting.

            Mr Speaker, I will not forget to thank the chiefs, church leaders and my good people of East Kwaio, for the trust and confidence in me to represent them and to be their voice on this floor of Parliament.

 

(hear, hear)

 

I thank them for their patience and understanding on the present situation of the government.

            Mr Speaker, I would like to acknowledge church leaders and Christian churches for their participation in praying for this country, especially for us Members of Parliament.  It is their hearts’ desire that God would intervene in our deliberations and decision making for this nation. 

In order for this nation to go forward, we need God’s intervention.  Only then would we see dynamic changes taking place in this country.  We need to accept each other and to be united.

            We claim this country is a Christian country.  Christians have been praying for us, and so what are we doing leaders of this nation?  They are praying for the blessings of God. 

I am not saying we are not Christians.  But it is very important that we acknowledge our God who is the King of all kings.  Any nation that does not recognise God, there is curse upon that nation.  This is very important for leaders of this nation take note.

            Mr Speaker, I would also like to thank honourable colleagues on the other side of the bench for their contribution to this Parliament.  They are apparatus or tools to guide the government.  But, Mr Speaker, this side of the House is more than willing to accept positive contributions to guide us in our leadership. 

All of us are leaders and so we need to help each other.  You need to correct us, Mr Speaker, and we need to correct you.  It is very important that we are humble to accept each other.  Humbleness is very important, it is very important so that we see our wrongs.  It is very important, Mr Speaker.  Those things are very simple but they are very important.

            Mr Speaker, I also would like to take this opportunity to thank our chiefs throughout the country for their voluntary service rendered to our communities in ensuring there is harmonious living among them.  I know that chiefs are doing a very big work and I wish to thank them for their dedication and service to our people.

            Mr Speaker, as I have already alluded, I will be very brief because other Members would also like to contribute to the motion of sine die.  But I would like to clear some points raised in this Parliament during the debate on the Speech from the Throne and the 2006 Supplementary Appropriation Bill.

            There is concern raised by my good Member of Parliament for Maringe/Kokota, who is not here at the moment, on the issue of the Gozoruru/Hovu/Koilo road and the allocation under the recurrent budget for 2006.  Yes Mr Speaker, it is understood by my Department that the province is to program an MOU with the logging company, for the company to do the construction work of this road using its machineries and equipments.  We await this MOU for the field project manager at the provincial level to organize and administer procurement of materials for the project.  We will then raise requisitions on the request as required under the Financial Instructions.

            The Department will pursue appropriately the concern within this month as it is the desire of the Department to spend all funds that have been appropriated for infrastructure development before the end of year 2006.

            Mr Speaker, we would appreciate very much if provincial administrations take their implementation programs to us as soon as practically possible for them.  This government is fully determined to practically advocate its policy of bottom-up approach and partnership development.

            Mr Speaker, I am really happy with the statement made by the Honourable Minister for Health because funding of private hospitals is a great concern.  There was a question raised on the floor of Parliament on what this bottom-up approach is.  I think this present government sees the importance of medication that private hospitals provide to our people. 

Where are these people from that these private hospitals are providing services to?  They are from Solomon Islands.  And why was it that for a little while the budget is cut from them? 

Mr Speaker, these are questions people asked us during our campaign at home.  Why did the Government not give assistance to Atoifi Hospital?  That is the question they asked me.  So I would like to thank the Minister for Health and the Government on behalf of the people of East Kwaio and all of us whose people go to these private hospitals and get medication.

Mr Speaker, I would like to respond to the concern raised my good friend, the Member for Ulawa/Ugi on this floor of Parliament about subsidy freights and fares to all parts of the country.  So far we only concentrate on uneconomical routes like Temotu outlying islands, Malaita Outer Islands like Sikaiana and Ontong Java, and thirdly Rennell/Bellona.

            There is a current maritime program that looks at regulation safety, implementation policy standards and so forth, which will assist us in our endeavour to holistically gage the opening for strategic mechanism to be adopted and exercised.

            Mr Speaker, training is also part of this ongoing program especially for ship owners and operators.  This training endeavour would include financial management activities and efficient operational strategies which will captivate operators to be more efficient hence cutting cost through effective and efficient operations.

            Mr Speaker, a lot has been said in this honourable chamber (and this is good for the government side to take note of) so that what can be done can be done and what is hard is hard.  But it needs the cooperation of all of us, our joint cooperation, we need to be united.  We need to work together so that we can carry this nation ahead. 

Mr Speaker, one man alone cannot carry a heavy load by himself.  He needs someone to come together so that they would be able to move that object or that thing from its place.  So the government side needs honorable colleagues from the other side and the other side needs us as well.  We need to work together.  We are all leaders of this nation mandated by our people.  All of us went through the process of election and right now we are sitting together in here.

            Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the Opposition side for their understanding and I would like to thank them for any positive contribution they made to the government.

            Mr Speaker, I would like to comment very briefly on this obvious word ‘corruption’.  Corruption, as we have heard has been talked about in the corners of the streets in Honiara, in the provinces, in the offices and even on the floor of Parliament.  Corruption, in my humble view, is something that is inside each individual.  We need to check ourselves.  We need to understand ourselves.  But for us to throw around corruption to the other side or this side, in my view, is not right.  We are leaders of this nation and we need to work hand in hand and in the way our people voted us to come inside this floor of Parliament.

            Mr Speaker, to get rid of corruption depends very much on all of us.  There is corruption in the churches too, and so it needs all of us to work together.  We need our people, the church leaders, the chiefs, the provincial leaders and Members of Parliament if we want to see this nation living in righteousness.

            Mr Speaker, I would like to thank all Members of Parliament who are present right here that we are leaders.  As a new Member of Parliament I learned a lot from our senior politicians.  I learnt a lot of things from them, and I would like to thank you for that.

            Mr Speaker, I would like to take this chance to thank the Clerk to Parliament, the very hard working Clerk and her staff for facilitating arrangements for the coming in of Members of Parliament and our return to our respective constituencies.  I take this opportunity to thank all of you.

            Mr Speaker, as this is the final meeting for this year, I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the East Kwaio constituents to wish every Member of Parliament on this side and the other side, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2007.

            Mr Speaker, I would also like to join other colleague Members to also wish His Excellency the Governor General and His wife, the Speaker of Parliament and his wife, the Prime Minister and his wife, good wishes, Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year 2007.

            With these few remarks, Mr Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity once again to wish every Member of Parliament who would be going back to your respective constituencies, God’s blessings and a safe journey home.

            With these few remarks, Mr Speaker, I support the motion, and I resume my seat. 

 

Hon OTI:  Mr Speaker, I too would like to join my colleagues to contribute to this traditional motion moved by the Prime Minister.

            Mr Speaker, a lot have been said as been mentioned by other speakers both from the government side and also the Opposition.  But at the outset let me thank you Mr Speaker, for the able manner in which you have conducted our proceedings, especially for your perseverance. As a former Deputy Speaker, I can vouch for you as well, Mr Speaker, that sometimes it is quite uncomfortable to be presiding over long hours, and I thank you for your perseverance.  I indeed admire your leadership and the manner in which you have been conducting the sittings of Parliament.

            Mr Speaker, also at the outset, like others have alluded to, I also would like to add my voice to thank His Excellency the Governor General for the Speech from the Throne that he delivered to this House.  The last one as mentioned was in 1998. 

It is a historical speech, in the sense that perhaps it is not prescribed but it should be understood that every formation of a new government take that to be a provision in the standing orders for us to lay before Parliament the policy intentions of the government.  I think in the last Parliament, unfortunately we did not have the opportunity to invoke that provision of the Standing Order. 

That said, Mr Speaker, we hope and think that the present government in the presentation by His Excellency the Governor General does pinpoint the direction that we would want the country to adopt in the next four years, if not in the next medium term.

            This is important basically the statement from the throne is a framework only and it is not the substance.  It must not be seen as the substance so that we start questioning it right from the beginning the workability of those statements. 

            I made particular reference to a statement made today by the MP for North Malaita who mentioned that the policy drive the present government is now selling to the country needs to be properly institutionalized arrangement for the bottom-up approach for rural development.  I think that is a very, very important undertaking that this administration is looking at.

            That being said, Mr Speaker, it is not all financial that makes these institutions work.  It is how the institutions are going to be managed.  I think we have to be correct right from the beginning as to how it is going to operate.

            Our definition of rural development should come out form the traditional or conventional definition of rural development.  That in itself, Mr Speaker, is not well defined.  In a lot of context from what have been said, the notion is that we have tried in the past.  In fact we have tried it but there was no institutional arrangement for that arrangement to work.  All we have been reflecting on is basically money going down to the rural sector as reflected in the budget.  But how it is going to be operated in the rural sector is not clearly defined.  That is the difference, of what we want to do now. 

I think it must be seen broader than just a conventional perspective that we have for rural development.  It is going to take a lot of stakeholders into the picture.  For example, the private sector is part of it, and all sectors of the economy as well.  They are all part of that drive.  It is how we are going to orchestrate these institutions into the different sectors at the rural level that is going to make the difference.  That is basically the rural development concept we are talking about and the bottom-up approach we are talking about.

            I mention this because it was, in our opinion, a highlight of the statement from the Throne.

            Mr Speaker, about a week ago I was asked to be in a foreword that is going to come out in a publication on trade and investment in Solomon Islands.  I was asked by the publishers what my vision for Solomon Islands would be in the next few years.  I said, my vision for Solomon Islands in the coming years is that I want more ‘Honiaras’ all over the country.

            That is basically saying that this rural development drive will become part of engaging all stakeholders and all sectors of the economy so that we have what we are now advancing as growth centres.

            Those are important components of the bottom-up approach and rural development.  It is not as simple as we would like to imagine in terms of just giving out money to the rural sectors to undertake this, and therefore infrastructure for example fiscal infrastructures, institutional structures, telecommunication, and so on are all components of it. 

If we all read the way the present government is now moving (and I make special reference to a particular one, and that is the opening up of the telecommunication sector) you will recall that in 1998 prior to the expiration of the previous license by Solomon Telekom, under our schedule of commitment to the World Trade Organisation, there was going to be an opening up of that sector in 2002.  Unfortunately, Mr Speaker, come 2002 at the expiration of that particular license, circumstances did not allow the government then to satisfy the requirements we pledged in 1998 to open up the telecommunication sector.

            The government has just adopted a policy to open up the telecommunication sector.  That is a very, very important ingredient for rural development.  I make mention of this because I would like to emphasize that it is more complicated than we would like to understand at this stage.  This is why I was particularly impressed with the presentation by the MP for North Malaita because he has actually seen these institutional arrangements than the level of funding that is available to rural development.

            Mr Speaker, I also would like to take this opportunity and this is basically for purposes of Parliament.  I think we need to acknowledge the changes that are happening in our parliamentary system, particularly the institutional strengthening of this Parliament in terms of its capacity to deliver to assist Members of Parliament and so forth. 

I would like to thank the Parliamentary Entitlements Commission for taking on board a submission I made in February this year on the need to strengthen parliamentary standing select committees.

            Mr Speaker, it was on those input perhaps, refined by them, that has now led to the scaling up and the permanency of chairmanship of parliamentary standing select committees to be paid at appropriate level.  I am also looking forward, apart from the increase in the ordinary Members of Parliament’s pay, to submission also that entails an inbuilt allowance for all Members of Parliament in these standing select committees.

            Mr Speaker, when I was the last Deputy Speaker, I also took part in discussions in these exercises that it is bearing fruit, and I hope the intentions would be realized in the coming years, particularly the need to take Members away from engaging in state owned enterprises and boards and assigning them chairmanship of statutory bodies because really their role is here in Parliament to perform the oversight role that Parliament is supposed to play on the executive.

            Mr Speaker, perhaps in the not too distant future too, if these parliamentary standing select committees are strengthened they can call Members, particularly Ministers to account. 

Reports that are coming to Parliament and there are a number of them which have been distributed this week, these are the reports which must be scrutinised by parliamentary standing select committees making them simpler and present to Parliament when it comes to debating them.  I mean some of us are not equipped to understand the technical nature of these reports.  So the capacity of Parliament to assist Members, I think is slowly being developed.

            Mr Speaker, as a matter of responsibility, I have made explanations on what is now seem to be dominating the discussions on the floor of Parliament, and that is the trade relations between Australia and Solomon Islands.

            Mr Speaker, we must understand that the actions and decisions taken by the government are well within the established laws of this country and international laws.  There is no exercise of individual, either Prime Minister or the Minister for Foreign Affairs, sense of judgment in applying the actions that have been taken.

            Mr Speaker, I alluded to the presentation on Tuesday this week on the power of all states and the rights of all states that are govern under the Vienna Convention, Schedule I to our Diplomatic and Immunities Act of 1978.  There is nothing dubious, there is nothing suspicion, we are not doing it out of our own individual liking or dislike of another state.  We are only taking action within the powers and within the limits of powers we have under established laws both domestic and international laws. 

            Mr Speaker, I also would like to bring to mind in this statement that we must be careful in indulging information that would prejudice cases that are before the courts.  I would like to say this because it is becoming either careless or lack of foresightedness and lack of application of the Standing Orders in our debate in this Parliament.  We have to respect Parliament and the rules and the procedures are for us to abide by and to debate within established procedures and rules of the House.

            Mr Speaker, lastly but not the least, I would like to thank the honorable Leader of Opposition for exercising his rights under the Constitution as Leader of Opposition.  Anybody or any Member of Parliament for that matter can move a vote of no confidence on the Prime Minister.

            Mr Speaker, in my nine years in Parliament now, I have moved three motions of no confidence.  My track record of the motions of no confidence that have been brought to this floor of Parliament, I cannot go beyond 1983.  The one I recall in 1983 was when I first enter the Public Service as a government officer that the debate went on until 7 pm or 8 pm in the evening and was withdrawn.  Apart from that I could not recall any motions of no confidence having won on the floor of Parliament on vote.  None, Mr Speaker.  That tells us a message.  There are two successful motions that were never debated and this is in 1994 and in early May this year.  So in a way that particular provision of the Constitution, whilst it is there, it is not necessary to change the government but to merely hold the government to account. 

What we are applying perhaps, apart from checking the government, there is also a motion of impeachment of a government.  Impeachment of a government means the Prime Minister must first step down or be removed from his position.  Unfortunately that particular provision in our Constitution falls short of going into detail as to how we should be handling issues regarding the impeachment of a prime minister.  May be that is not the intention.  May be the intention of the no confidence motion is basically to call the government to account, but then as I said of the history of votes of no confidence in this Parliament only two have been successful.  They were successful, not because they were voted on, but there were other factors that dictated the success of those two motions.

            In fact, if I could recollect, none of those two successful tabled motions of no confidence were ever debated.  It means that we have to re-look at the terms of the performance of government.  If the Prime Minister and his Ministers are not performing, whether this particular provision is right for us to use on the floor of Parliament for mudslinging, but in the end we do not get through the intention of the motion.  These are constitutional parliamentary issues that this Parliament needs to re-look at if we are going to build a united society, a society where we respect each other. 

The way we debate here portrays a different impression to the public.  The public does not get the same impression that we are here to argue because that is what they hear in the radio.  But we are here basically trying to discuss or to debate within the understanding that is established by Parliament.  That is not the same view that a lot of our people hold. 

As I said perhaps we need to re-look at this, may be our legal people and perhaps the institutional capacity building of this parliamentary process in Solomon Islands needs to address this area.  Indeed if it needs to be addressed at. 

            I thank you, Mr Speaker, I did not have time when the last parliament concluded, to have served under your able leadership as Deputy Speaker.  I enjoyed working with you and I recommend to all Members of Parliament that work in Parliament can be very fruitful personally for us, especially new Members of Parliament.  I encourage all new Members of Parliament to pay interest in the work of this Parliament.  

I am impressed, Mr Speaker, of the ability and capability of some of the new Members of the present Parliament.  Some of us came through in the last nine years or so and perhaps we did not have the opportunity to have been part of a good parliament.  I think the present parliament has a lot of leaders for the future of this country.  Please take an interest in parliament first and foremost as a Member of Parliament than being a minister or holding some other responsibilities as supplementary or complementary to your role as a Member of Parliament and as a lawmaker of this country.

            Mr Speaker, also I would like to take this opportunity to thank your staff - the Clerk and all officers of Parliament for the able manner they have served the present meeting of parliament, as they have always done in the past.  Papers are being on time as usual, and I hope that in our next meeting we will give more time to the reports and if the secretarial staff of parliament could assist in simplifying some of the main points in these reports so that it makes sense to us, as some of us are less technical to understand papers submitted to the House for consideration.

            Lastly, Mr Speaker, I would like to thank my constituents in the Far East for the confidence they have accorded me to serve for the third time in this Parliament.  Mr Speaker, it has been one of the toughest elections the present Member has faced.  I contested the elections with a former governor general, a former member of parliament, one deputy premier, and two provincial secretaries.  That tells you how tough the election was, and I stand here to be part of that contest and I won the contest Mr Speaker.  So I would like to thank my constituents for those who continue to have confidence in my representational role as their Member of Parliament.  I look to serving them in the next three years or the remainder of this current Parliament.

With those comments, Mr Speaker, I support the motion.

(applause)

 

Mr HAOMAE:  Mr Speaker, at the outset I wish to thank the honorable Prime Minister for moving the sine die motion.  I shall be very brief.  I shall offer observations from my personal computer on the performance of Parliament up until today.

            Mr Speaker, my personal computer or PC shows the following:

 

1.                   There was a speech from the Throne, and I wish to take this opportunity to thank His Excellency, the Governor General for presenting the Speech from the Throne to Parliament.  I also wish to thank the Prime Minister and his Government for drafting the speech.  I have made observations on the speech and my observations were meant to be improvements, and my intention was not for purposes of criticism.

 

2.                   There were four questions without notice asked by the honorable Leader of the Opposition. 

 

3.                   There were 12 questions on the Order Paper (and I would like to thank the Ministers and the Prime Minister for answering the questions).  I would like to thank the hard working Minister for Works for answering my question and for taking immediate action, as an action Minister, to change the number plates of ministerial cars.  That shows the Minister is an action minister, and I would like to thank him for that.

 

4.                   There were two statements made by the Government.  The first was by the honorable Minister for Foreign Affairs who spoke on the current standoff between Australia and Solomon Islands and the second was on the illegal or what appears to be so - the landing of the suspended Attorney General at Munda.

 

5.                   There were two bills - the Supplementary Appropriation Bill moved by the honorable Minister for Finance and the Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Bill by my honorable colleague, the Member for Central Makira, the Minister for Home Affairs, and they were passed.

 

6.                   There were two motions.  The first motion was moved by the honorable Minister for Finance, a motion to enable the Minister for Finance continue to expend money from the consolidated fund into next year until the budget is brought down in Parliament.  The other motion is the motion that was debated yesterday, the motion of no confidence on the Prime Minister moved by the honorable Leader of the Opposition.  And I wish to congratulate the Prime Minister for surviving the motion yesterday.  We can deduce his skills in ensuring the motion is defeated.

 

Mr Speaker, my personal computer also shows that this Parliament has been heavily used as a pulpit for preaching.  I think if we want to preach then we should go outside and preach at the pulpits of the various churches.  We do want to make bishops, pastors and priests redundant. 

My personal computer also shows that this is the first meeting of parliament to be convened under tight security.  I wish to take this opportunity to thank the Commissioner of Police and members of the Royal SI Police Force plus the PFF for providing security during parliament meetings. 

But I am also concerned at the tight security.  It also shows that something is amiss.  It shows that insecurity might emanate from social problems pertaining to our youths and people that need to be engaged, hence we need to re-look at the basic national objective of this country.  

As I have already stated in my contribution to the Speech from the Throne, the Speech did not outline a national policy or a national objective that Solomon Islands can work towards.  Whether we go back to where our ancestors had been or whether we should emulate an economic miracle as has happened in Singapore or we should formulate and put in place a national philosophy of self employment.

            I will submit to you, Mr Speaker, that it will be very good for Solomon Islands to formulate and put in place a philosophy of self employment.  I say this because everyone in Solomon Islands owns land.  If the national objective is going that way I think this country is conducive. 

After World War II, Japan came with a national objective on industrialization and it attained that particular national objective.  They have respect of reform and yield the government all the mechanics of governance - economy, financial system towards achieving the objective of industrialization.  Whether that is relevant for Solomon Islands today to absorb the number of population, the number of youths that are coming out from schools, I am positing the question because government is in power and it is for them to think about.  I am merely supplying the thinking. 

            I also wish to thank the House Committee for the meetings it has held and its contribution towards this Parliament Meeting.  I also thank the Bills and Legislation Committee under the able leadership of the Member for East Are Are. 

The Foreign Relations Committee is yet to meet.  I understand the Chairman has already indicated that a meeting will be soon to look at the various issues that are now before Parliament and affecting the country at this point in time.

            Mr Speaker, my personal computer also shows that a number of words have been emphasized during this meeting of Parliament.  The first is ‘sovereign’.  Mr Speaker, I will stand head and shoulder with the honorable Prime Minister to defend the sovereignty of this country.  I have done that in past times when the honorable member then for West Makira was then Prime Minister. 

The concern here is, where does the government put sovereignty relative to peace and stability?  That is the fundamental question.  What is the government’s position as pertaining to sovereignty relative to peace and stability of this country? 

Yesterday, Mr Speaker, according to the provisional Hansard, the implication of what the honorable Prime Minister said was that the government is prepared to sacrifice peace and stability for sovereignty.  That was the reason I voted yes to the motion yesterday. 

The government did not convince me that its position was not that way because I have my cue from the hereditary high chiefs and people of my constituency.  They have instructed me to weigh the situation and possess the magnet - the political situation that is in the country. 

The implication is that RAMSI is dispensable.  If it is dispensable then where would we get another one?  The honorable Minister for Public Service said today that some Members are confusing RAMSI with the bilateral relations between Solomon Islands and Australia.  I am not confused.  I must assure my honorable colleague, the Minister for Public Service that I am not confused. 

RAMSI comes under a regional arrangement.  Never, not even yesterday, have I made any comments on the standoff between Solomon Islands and Australia.  That is bilateral.  But history too shows that only human beings make bilateral agreements or multilateral agreements.  And if only human beings make those agreements then he can amend them too because it is a matter of human nature.

            Mr Speaker, the point of geopolitical situation was raised.  My only interpretation of the geopolitical term is that it is composed of certain concepts.

 

1.                   Communalization, which connotes balance of power,

2.                   Functional Cooperation, which includes cultural exchanges, educational exchanges, trade and others.

 

Mr Speaker, any country must put its national interest first on the basis of its national interest.  Because if you may allow me, Mr Speaker, the second good commandment (I am not preaching) says love thy neighbor as thyself.  You must love yourself first before you love your neighbor.  That is the basis of national interest.  The other countries will pursue their national interest and so is Solomon Islands.  It is like that.  And their national interest is in the moving ideology or philosophies or other issues.  Some of them follow what is called the universal principle.  Like the universal principle of good governance or the universal principle rule of law.  What sort of sovereignty do we want?  That is my concern. 

I think the honorable Prime Minister would put my mind at rest when he winds up this motion.  But my concern and the concern of the chiefs of Small Malaita still stands.  In our argument and debate of this issue, what is the government’s position pertaining to sovereignty as relative to peace and stability.  The position of the Chiefs of Small Malaita is that sovereignty with peace and stability is progress and the absence of that is suffering.  Sovereignty with no peace and no stability is suffering.  I have provided you yesterday with a practical example.  That is to caution you. 

I am not saying the government is traveling that way but all the indications show that if the government is not careful it is traveling that part.  And we do not want to live under that kind of sovereignty, if at all God forbid us to travel down that path.   

I would like to assure my honorable colleague, the Minister for Public Service that the Member for Small Malaita has no confusion over RAMSI as it is a regional issue and the bilateral relations between Solomon Islands and Australia.

Mr Speaker, another word that is always used in here is ‘alien’.  At this information age and time, I think alien refers to extraterrestrial beings from outside and not of this world or earth.  That is my interpretation of the word ‘alien’ at this time.  At the time of my ancestors alien means a man from another country.  So therefore, a man from another country is called foreigner. 

Alien, in the system that we have adopted – the Westminster Government, is from Lancaster in London, in the UK and not from Solomon Islands neither Small Malaita.  I do not even know the words they use because they are not the language of Small Malaita, Sa’a or Are Are or Lau, which are the three languages in my constituency.  My constituency is so big that three languages make it up.  Ideas and things like that cross national boundaries.

Another word used a lot in here is called the ‘bottom up approach’.  I support the bottom up approach as a national strategy in order to develop the rural areas.  Small Malaita already has its plan.  We are ready and we are at this point in time implementing the bottom up approach. 

I am only asking the government to provide the necessary institutional and structural changes to facilitate the bottom up approach as a matter of national strategy.   

I have already given to Members the plan of Small Malaita, as I said to the honorable Prime Minister and my colleague Minister for Infrastructure & Development that we need access road in order to stimulate economic activities and contribute to the development of this nation.  On its educational aspect, I have yet to give a copy to my friend, the Minister for Education and also the Minister for Health.  

You can be rest assured that Small Malaita is already on standby to implement the bottom up approach.  We are just waiting for what sort of animal the government is intending here.  Is it going to be an animal with two horns or one that sidekicks or one with a tail, eyes and how it looks in order to make a judgment as a matter of the government’s decentralization policy.  We are ready for that.

I fully support the government’s bottom up approach.  However, let me caution that if peace and security and stability is absent in this country then the bottom up approach will not happen. 

In 1998 I mentioned this when my friend, the Prime Minister was the Minister of Finance during that time, the same chair I was sitting in now.  At that time the big thing is the reform program.  I told him that if he cannot solve the problems affecting our county at that time nothing will happen to his reform program and it will also go down.  What is happening today?  I am putting to the government the same challenge.  Look after our country properly. 

I am confident that you can look after our country but get it from the representative of Small Malaita constituency, the hereditary high chiefs of Small Malaita because if we are not careful then everything that we wanted will not happen.  So look after our people, and the 20,000 human beings in Small Malaita.

Mr Speaker, as I said I will be very brief.  I want to endorse at this point in time the sentiment of ‘thank you’ to you, Mr Speaker, for your patience in presiding over parliament.  I also wish to take this opportunity to thank the Clerk, and all the hard working staff of Parliament Office for working very long hours.  I think Parliament should review some of your terms and condition.  They are still working at this point in time, and so I wish to thank them. 

I also wish to thank your leadership, Mr Speaker, in ensuring the capacity building of Parliament.  I want to see Opposition Shadow Ministers also get some recognition to advance parliamentary democracy in our country.  If only Ministers are recognized whilst Shadow Ministers like me are not, is not right.  In my view, this is not right but I think we will get to that stage.  We will go step by step as resources permit us.  But I can detect that that is the direction, and I wish to lend support to that particular direction that is currently the objective to ensuring that parliamentary democracy in this nation is enhanced.  I wish to record my appreciation for your work in that particular direction. 

I want to also thank the honorable Prime Minister for suggesting that matters of state - Standing Committees be increased.  Whether the Parliament process will accept that is beside the point.  But I want to make observation on that point.

            Lastly but not least, Mr Speaker, I wish to thank the chiefs and people of Small Malaita for having confidence in me to represent them in this Parliament.  I speak quite honestly on their behalf.  They elected me to come in here and if I want to say anything I will say it here, and not hide it.  Some of you Members are hiding your thoughts but not the Member of Small of Malaita because I believe in honesty and honesty is the course of a debate, an intellectual exchange for purposes of political maturity. 

Thank you, Mr Speaker, and I would like to thank the Leader of Opposition for leading those of us on this side of the House and my colleagues.  Self praise is no recommendation and so I do not want to praise those of us on the opposition side.  Thank you, and I support the motion.

 

Mr KENGAVA:  Mr Speaker, as the speaker at the undying hours of the day, sometimes we can feel not very much interested or may be boring but sometimes the best wine is served last.

 

(hear, hear)

 

First of all I would like to thank you honorable Speaker for giving this time to contribute briefly on behalf of the people of North West Choiseul.  I would also like to thank the Prime Minister for giving us the opportunity to debate this traditional motion. 

            Mr Speaker, I would like to start off this way that there is a time for everything; a time to cry, a time to laugh, a time to be happy, a time to be sorry, a time to look forward to things in the future ,and there is also time to reassess yourself.  Mr Speaker, I would like to say that when this motion was moved yesterday, it was the right time for it.  It is time to reassess ourselves on the floor of this Parliament.  Not only on the government side but also the Opposition on how we are performing as leaders of this nation representing our people in the provinces and Honiara.  Most importantly, it is time for the government to review itself. 

            Mr Speaker, I would like to congratulate the Leader of the Opposition.  I know that taking up that position in Parliament and moving a motion of no confidence on the government is really a very difficult decision to make.  Many people will not like you, they will hate you and think of you as being a very selfish man.  They will think of you as doing the wrong thing.  They will think of you as thinking of yourself.  But that is not the purpose of having a Leader of Opposition in our Parliamentary democracy. 

The Leader of Opposition is there to lead those who are not on the government side in order to give the balance in representing the people of this country.  I would like to congratulate the Leader of Opposition for seeing it fit yesterday as the time to check on the performance of the 50 Members of Parliament, especially the government side. 

I think having a good opposition will make healthy and good governance.  If we do not have a good active opposition in the country, we will have a government that thinks everything it does is right, which eventually if we are guided well we will end up rightly, and if we are not guided well we will end up wrongly.  Therefore, Mr Speaker, I think the Opposition during this term of Parliament is trying its best to become a real good Opposition in the sense that we make sure the government is doing the right thing for the people of this country. 

Time is not a factor for moving a motion Mr Speaker.  Time belongs to people who work in the offices from 8 am to 12 pm and 1 pm to 4pm.  Members of Parliament have no time, but it is only when we are asleep that we rest.  As soon as we wake up in the morning our responsibility begins.  We all know this.  Therefore, time is not a factor for us Members of parliament. 

In the same way time is not a factor to the Opposition for moving a motion of no confidence reminding the government of its responsibilities and duties to this nation.  The same is with the government that time is not a factor in telling the Opposition what it should do.

            Mr Speaker, I would like to point out very clearly that I am proud the Opposition made that move yesterday, because it makes it possible for us to take stock of ourselves because it is a time to review our performances.  As I have said earlier on there is time for everything. 

            The Opposition does not like to sit at the back of the car but it also wants to sit right next to the driver in the front.  That is what the opposition is doing.  We want to sit at the front next to the driver so that we can watch you driving.  If you drive too fast we will tell you to slow down.  If you drive too slowly we will tell you to drive a bit faster.  You are supposed to be on the left side when you drive here in Solomon Islands but if you start to go on the right side we will tell you to please switch back to the left side.  This is to make sure we drive safely and arrive safely after these four years in Parliament or during these four years of looking after our people.  During these four years that we should be delivering goods and services to our people.  So do not think that the opposition will just sit at the back of the car.  We want to sit at the front seat next to you, the driver – the government, and that is what we are doing now.  This is a sign of a good opposition doing that.  But if we sit at the back and no doing but just enjoy you driving the car then we are not performing our duty as representatives of our people in this country.

            Mr Speaker, putting that in place, I would like to raise a few points, which I think is good to be raised as a form of encouragement to the government.  Now that the motion of no confidence is defeated, I am sure the government should now relieve itself and a time to be happy, time to feel relieve is over yesterday.  Starting from today and onwards is time to now look back on what should be done in order to put policies and plans in place.

            I would like to raise four points, which in my opinion are very important for the government now that it is relieved, and now that it is steering the car back on to the left side of the road, it is time for the government to look ahead and try to see whether you can materialize some of these things that I would like to raise now.

            Sir, if you are in solidarity to defeat a motion of no confidence, I would urge the government to remain in solidarity with your Prime Minister to fulfill policies and work programs.  It is not good to remain in solidarity with our leader, the prime minister only when there is a motion of no confidence moved on him and after the motion is over, you go back to your responsibility as ministers and you do not do your work, you are not performing.    Sir, I would like to encourage the government to remain in solidarity now to deliver goods and services. 

The government must now quickly look at these three points that I am going to raise now.  The first one is that the government must quickly now try to end this foreign Attorney General affair.  Take him out of the equation.  That means taking him out of the picture of Solomon Islands.  Solomon Islands and its people, I am sure, are sick and tired of experiencing this saga, which is causing a lot of headaches and worries, questions etc.  Do what you can do to solve this problem.

The present arrangement where we have a Minister of Justice as Attorney General or advisor to the government is allowed by the constitution.  Let this present arrangement remain in place until such time may be you can appoint a new Attorney General. 

Secondly, Mr Speaker, as voiced by many speakers, and I would like to repeat the same sentiment is that our bilateral relations with Australia must be quickly resolved.  Two things that came to my mind as to why I am a bit worried and I urge the government now that the motion of no confidence is over, and so it is time to address this problem quickly is that the blanket ban on entry to Australia for all Members of Parliament, in my opinion, is not fair, it is unfair.  This is because the opposition side was not involved in causing the problem.  It was the government that made the decision.  Help us, Mr Speaker.

There are those I know in this House who have an interest in Australia for medical reasons, business interest, their children are attending institutions in Australia and so they would like to visit them and to see their relatives.  We are now handicapped and restricted.  For me, I have no interest in Australia because my interest is in North West Choiseul.  I do not mind about this ban, even if it is for the duration of our term.  But I know there are some in this House who have so much interest in Australia, and so help those people so that they can serve their people. 

This particular problem is like a disease.  It is going to be like cancer eating away the bilateral relationship between Australia and Solomon Islands.  Already on the news yesterday is the Australian Government giving a level two warning to its citizens of coming to this country.  Things are beginning to eat like cancer, as I have said.  It is warning its citizens in this country to be more careful because of this social problem that we are having.  I know this would have an effect on tourism and investment.  Try all your best to resolve this particular problem. 

The third point is that the reconciliation process must be quickly addressed.  I am happy that the people of Guadalcanal have taken the initiative of doing that last weekend.  There are many areas that this must be done now.  Let us concentrate more on domestic matters.  Let us concentrate more on internal matters in order to make our people much happier, safer and peaceful, and reconciliation is the process to go about this. 

Issues that have been happening in the last few weeks have driven our attention away from matters that need urgent address, and that is bringing reconciliation to our people.  Look at areas struck by disasters such as flooding, cyclones, etc. 

I want to bring to mind in this House that when you think about reconciliation, make sure it includes the wishes of my people of North West Choiseul to be compensated for the Bougainville Crisis spill over effects.  Do not leave us out of the equation as that would be very unfortunate for all of us because we will feel like rejected people in this nation. 

I moved a motion on the floor of this Chamber in the last House and was passed as a Private Member’s motion.  But that motion is not my motion but it belongs to about 12,000 to 15,000 of North West Choiseul.  I would like to urge the Minister responsible for reconciliation to proceed with the reconciliation process of this country quickly. 

Fourthly is an issue that needs to be addressed very quickly now that the motion of no confidence is over, it was dispensed out of the way is the national budget.  Let the national budget be your priority.  The Parliament is now giving you the time you need by passing the budget put into this Parliament by the Minister of Finance.  Under section 103(1) of the Constitution, we passed the budget. 

Sir, one thing we must keep in mind is that the government only has four months to do that.  And I am encouraged by what the government has raised that it is going to change direction in order to reflect the policies and the new development plan, the new bottom up approach and all these.  But what I would like to remind the government is the time factor here.  This is what counts now.  Because after four months and you do not get the budget ready, maybe there are others who know better than me, but it would result in a sort of unilateral motion of no confidence on the government.  And this is very serious.

I would like to urge the government to work hard now, get the budget ready so that we avoid such a situation coming to the floor of parliament, which can cause disturbance. 

But I am sure this government is ready and at the budget meeting, probably in January or February next year, it would then be a real test on the government, I am certain.  The opposition will try to make sure to test the government to see whether the budget is a rural oriented budget, a rural oriented development budget.  Let us make sure it is not donor driven too.  Let us make that it is also within the boundaries of the constitution when the budget is prepared. 

Those are the four important issues, which I think the government must now work on and to review since all that we have done is over.

Mr Speaker, there are two bills mentioned on the floor of this parliament, which is of interest to me – part of my heart, if I may say, on why I want to be a national member of parliament.  These two bills, I think, have been outstanding for quite a while.  It is an assignment the government is yet to bring forward.  I really want to see these two bills coming to the next sitting of parliament.

The government is duty bound to provide a budget to implement these two expected bills.  The government is also duty bound, Mr Speaker, to table on the floor of this House these two bills next year - the earlier the better.  These two bills get so much a part of my interest in politics, and the first one is the federal constitution.  A federal constitution is an issue that drives me to want to become a national leader.

Sir, this particular bill would really put in place unity in diversity.  I have a word of warning here or maybe an advice that in our endeavor to attain the state government system, in our endeavor to bring in the federal system of government, we must make sure that we do not bring a situation into this country that would force the provinces to unilaterally declare state governments.  We must avoid this.

            We must make sure that we do not bring into this country situations that would give excuse to the provinces to declare themselves independent or becoming a state.  We have an obligation to quickly bring in this federal constitution into the floor of this parliament.

            I know the situation that can drive provinces to think of quickly attaining state government is during times like the ethnic tension and the Honiara April riots.  These are situations that tend to force our politicians down in the provinces, who are leaders themselves, and have plans, wisdom and the responsibility of looking after their people.  We must avoid at all cost that we do not cause anymore social disorder in this country that would give rise to political uprising or political situations that would cause our plan of having a federal constitution disturbed. 

            The second bill I would like to see the government to really work on to bring into this parliament as soon as possible is the integrity bill.  This is a most wanted law.  In my opinion, this is the only bill that would bring stability.  I think it will meet the question raised by the Foreign Affairs Minister. 

            The motion of no confidence did not go through the floor of this parliament because the constitution did not have the provision for us to do that.  How to make a motion of no confidence more effective, I think the integrity bill will guide us on the strengths of a government or weaknesses of a government whereby we have party politics and do not allow people to move from one side of the floor to the other side, meaning this side of the House to that side, and that side of the House to this side.

            During the motion of no confidence yesterday, we know that a lot of MPs were moving from the government side to the opposition and some from the opposition side to the government side.  Even some speakers speaking on the motion yesterday are indecisiveness themselves.  Some came out clear and some were not.  This maybe because the situation at that time forced them to vote with the opposition or vote with the government, I am not sure.  Six speakers spoke from the government side, and out of these six, five declared their opposition of the motion and one resumed his seat.  Eight speakers spoke from the opposition side, and out of these, five declared their support for the motion and three only resumed their seats.  This goes to show that within their hearts they are thinking twice about the motion. 

            Sir, having the integrity bill in place can guide us.  Therefore, this particular bill is very important as it would provide true leadership, provide encouragement for party allegiance and also stability.

            Finally, I would like to touch on a few issues that need revisiting now that the motion of no confidence is over.  One is that of the aid dependency syndrome.  If we really want to stop aid then the drastic measures to take are these.  We have to tell Taiwan to stop providing the RCDF, the Millennium Fund and the ROC Micro Funding.  Tell the other aid donors – the Grassroots Projects to stop giving us their aid.  Quickly bring in the new Forestry Act to Parliament so that we control our resources.  I think we should provide fishing quotas to the provinces so that they would be able to serve investors to bring revenue to their provinces.  But most importantly, Mr Speaker, I think stopping corruption within the country is a very, very important issue.  

Most times many people think of politicians as corrupt people.  People blame us being corrupt.  But if we look carefully within the society, I think corruption is alive and well within foreign investors in this country, within local investors in this country, within business elites in this country.  

I say this because they tend to control our forestry resources, they control our land, they control our banks, they control our casinos, they control the government administration, and even statutory bodies.  This is where corruption is ripe.  We have a lot of work to correct all these things. 

            Mr Speaker, in my opinion, while the idea and interest is to reduce dependency on aid, I think it will take us quite awhile to achieve it.  To reduce our dependency on aid, we need to have more manufacturing business in the country as to provide employment and revenue.  There must be more business activities in the provinces like fishing, cocoa, copra and forestry.  We need maybe two or three more mining companies in this country.  

Mr Speaker, I think an interesting and a more profitable area is on petroleum, and a state government must be in place so that states would provide revenue for the federal government and for their own states.  But that is a dream for maybe in 10 years time or even 15 years time.  So let us look before we leap.  Let us look at the reality of what we have now and slowly work on them.  And I have confidence in the new bottom up approach of the government, the new rural development plan of the government.  Let us take it slowly, step by step, and I would like to see that reflected in the coming budget. 

One other alternative, Mr Speaker is to loan money from banks - loan money may be from the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund so that we put aside receiving of aid.  We loan money from those banks, but the most important thing is that we make sure we have a strong economy to be able to repay the loan. 

One of our founding fathers, the late MP for West Makira is a testimony of that alternative.  The nice roads we are now enjoying in Honiara, the Honiara Road High way, is a result of a loan from the Kuwait Fund.  I think maybe we should start looking in that direction now.  If you want us to stop depending on aid, let us be serious to strengthen our economy and start loaning money to bring development and to fund our budget.

Mr Speaker, I would like also to maybe clear myself and the people of North West Choiseul for being branded as puppets, as foreign government supporters and as being naïve and aliens.  Sir, when those terms are used against this side of the House, I am also included as I am on this side of the House. 

The point I want to make here is that for the sake of the people of my Constituency of North West Choiseul, I want to say that I am not in any way part of all those words.  I want to clearly state here that such terms do not apply to me or my people of North West Choiseul.  My people and I are simple, independent and great people of that wonderful borderline Province of Choiseul. 

Mr Speaker, we would rather associate ourselves and be part of the following situations.  Are we people who need roads?  Yes, we are.  Are we people who need schools, clinics, water supplies and sanitation?  Yes, we are.  Are we people who need wharves, bridges etc?  Yes, we are, Mr Speaker.  Are we people who need compensation from the Bougainville Crisis spillover effect?  Yes, we are, Mr Speaker.  Are we people who need more airfields in our province of Choiseul?  Yes, we are.  Are we people who need the Choiseul Bay Township Project to start?  Yes, we are.  Or are we people who need the Rob Roy duty free zone to be established?  Yes, we are, Mr Speaker.  I think if those are terms said about us in this Parliament, I will stand up and say, yes ‘I am’.  But I am not an alien, Mr Speaker. 

Mr Speaker, before sitting down, I would like to say that sometimes we must not take words in their contexts or their meanings.  I understand also that when we debate, words come out to emphasis may be a certain point, and not necessarily to mean as what they are.  On that basis, I can forgive my honouable Prime Minister who is also from Choiseul.

Mr Speaker, finally, I would say that I fully support 100% the rural development policy and the “bottom up approach” policy.  Three weeks ago I opened my small constituency office in Taro/Choiseul Bay.  That office is now the centre for consultation, administration, planning and project coordination for my constituency. 

When the office was opened, I made available 200 RCDF forms for those interested to come and get their form.  Those forms were all gone just within three days.  People came and took those 200 forms just within three days to apply for development projects.  That is an indication that when people in the constituency are given the opportunity to participate in development they would come.  There are people in the constituency who are dying to become participants in economic development.  

Sir, what I want to say here is that this term my constituency is now implementing what I term as Family Based Economy centred on family projects such as piggery, poultry, cocoa, coconut and fishing.  Centre it on the family because that is the foundation of the community and then from community we go to the province and from the province to the country. 

The problem we are having today arises because of difficulties in the family.  If our small children start to learn or start to experience looking after pigs, poultry, planting coconuts, cocoa, when they grow up they will enjoy and love to do those activities. 

Sir, lastly I would like to encourage the government to quickly release the Millennium Fund in order to implement the bottom up approach.  People of my constituency and me are ready.  The ball is now in the courts of the government.

Sir, in conclusion, I would like give my word of thanks to the Honorable Speaker for the very difficult time you have, with your wisdom in decision making to enable this Parliament proceed smoothly.

I would like to thank the Honourable Prime Minister for the strong dedication and commitment and leadership style he has shown.  Although the Opposition may have raised a lot of points, I know you are determined to lead this country according to your government’s goals. 

At this juncture, Mr Speaker, I wish you and your delegation to the Forum all the best.  If it is possible, Mr Speaker, the plight of our people in Papua should be raised and addressed.  What is the country’s position in assisting the people of Papua, our Melanesian brothers and sisters who are striving to be heard in this country?  We are fighting for Taiwan to be heard in the United Nations, but there is a group of people who are struggling right next to us – the people of West Papua. 

            Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the government, the Clerk and your staff.  I would like to thank the development partners, RAMSI, the private sector.  I would like to thank the Opposition side for working with you.  I known there are very few members of the Peoples’ Alliance Party in Parliament, a second faction forming the Opposition together with the Leader of the Independent.  There were many of them before but now he was left alone.  At the eleventh hour everyone ran away from him. 

Any way I would like to thank the statutory bodies, the Solomon Islands College of High Education, the Visitor’s Bureau.  

Lastly I would like to thank my people of North West Choiseul Constituency.  I thank the chiefs and church leaders.  Choiseul Provincial Government, I would like to congratulate you for taking a bold step in addressing the Choiseul Bay Township Project.  I also thank the women, the school children and the youths.  A special thank you to the North West Choiseul office committees established to look after the areas of the office itself.  I thank the executive committee, the Project Coordinating Committee, the Sports Development Committee and the Youth and Women Development Committee, which are all part of the new office opened three weeks ago.  I would like to thank your support in your anticipation of helping me bring development to our constituency.

            Finally, but not the least to my close relations, family and my home Parish of Sirovanga for the constant support in giving me encouragement to be able to stand here on the floor of Parliament.

            With those few words, Mr Speaker, I would like to say, God Bless Solomon Islands, and I support the motion.

 

Hon AGOVAKA:  Mr Speaker, I would like to join my other colleagues in Parliament to contribute to the motion of sine die moved by the Prime Minister. 

            Firstly, some of the things I would be saying are things that were said by previous speakers.  But Sir, to me repetition is good, it does not hurt.  In fact it reemphasizes the points that have been made already.

Firstly, I would like to convey my thanks to His Excellency the Governor General of Solomon Islands Sir Nathaniel Waena for the Speech from the Throne he delivered and was equally well received.  I would also like to thank your good self, Sir, for your wisdom and guidance over the proceedings of Parliament.  I also would like to thank the Clerk to National Parliament and staff of the National Parliament for your dedication and commitment in your work.

            I would also like to thank the good Prime Minister for his guidance and leadership.  I would also like to thank Cabinet Ministers, my good friend, the Leader of Opposition, the Leader of Independent and other Members of Parliament.

I would also like to thank the chiefs and my people of Central Guadalcanal for their understanding during my meetings in Parliament.  I would like to urge them to continue with their hard work in the constituency. 

            Mr Speaker, if I may revisit the Speech from the Throne, I would like to point out certain articles in that Speech.  As I said, it may be a repetition of what some other speakers have said.  But I would like to point out that the Head of State reminded us leaders of this beloved country of ours, our role bestowed to us by the 50 constituencies that make up the seats of the National Parliament of Solomon Islands.  To me, this is public trust.  We are entrusted to protect the resources and the welfare for our people and country. 

Secondly, the Head of State is telling us to protect and use wisely the God given natural resources in this country.  Mr Speaker, may I plea with all leaders and resource owners to utilize these resources with due care and consideration for our future generations.  The Grand Coalition for Change Government policy is to identify prospects that would help our people and nation to achieve national prosperity. 

Thirdly, the Head of State is telling us to address pressing issues facing our people and nation.  True to say, Mr Speaker, some of these pressing issues have been highlighted by His Excellency.  But, may I point out some of these pressing issues, in my view, which are of great concern to my people of Central Guadalcanal and hence people of Guadalcanal in general.

Like the previous speaker has said, the Federal System of Government is of paramount importance to the people of Guadalcanal.  I know the government is taking steps now to enhance the Constitutional Reform in the Ministry of Provincial Government in reforming our constituencies.    

Another issue is the land issue on Guadalcanal.  This to me seeks to redress squattering on Guadalcanal land and the subsequent effect of it.  As we speak, Mr Speaker, people are illegally squattering on the fringes of Guadalcanal land and into customary land on Guadalcanal.  I, therefore, as a matter of urgency urge the government and the responsible ministry to quickly establish the commission of enquiry on land dealings on Guadalcanal. 

            Mr Speaker, the current trend of people squatter on Guadalcanal land and the fringes of Honiara is going to give rise yet to yet another uprising.  Sir, if history is something that we can go by then this government must redirect Solomon Islands so as not to repeat what has happened in 2000. 

The MP for Savo and Russells earlier said there is smoke in the bush and if we are complacent it will engulf us once again and therefore the need for land reform.  In the Grand Coalition for Change Government’s policy, the Government is committed to land reform.  I hope the relevant Ministry will be able to determine on how best we can deal with customary, alienated and crown lands. 

            Mr Speaker, I think we need to revisit the Townsville Agreement because the Townsville Agreement specifically mentioned something about people returning to lands that have been vacated on Guadalcanal.  Sir, as leaders in this country, we must be part of the solution. 

Sir, as in the past and as part of the government’s administration, I am duty bound to perhaps highlight what my Department is doing and I would like to report to you some of the things that have been taking place in my Department. 

My Department is committed to encouraging and welcome genuine investors into the country as part of our promotion of trade and investment in Solomon Islands.  In order for investment to come to our shores, we have to have enabling legislations to cater for it.  I would like to report on the implementation of the Foreign Investment Act 2005 which the last House passed and also the Foreign Investment Regulation 2006. 

The new Foreign Investment Registration System is a simple and transparent system for investors to apply and provide required information.  The registration of investment application for business now only takes a maximum of five days, and it is quicker.  The amount of many days spent on registration has drastically reduced to 50% compared to the 80% in our previous system.  

The system also encourages compliance by foreign investors.  It reduces the cost of stationeries.  The system is also computerized and we have no complaints from investors launching registration.  The investors are clearly directed and assisted to obtain the approved license.  That is a short report on that implementation.

The Department has also improved the Immigration Division.  If you look at the report that was presented to us by the Auditor General, some of the problems in this report have now been rectified.  And I am pleased to report this. 

            On the question raised by the MP of Temotu Pele on a free trade zone, I will be putting to Cabinet a paper that emphasizes the establishment of tree trade zones where low production cost, and tax concessions apply. International experience has shown that free trade zones are successful when they have high quality infrastructures, simple regulations, strong government administration, well defined property rights, a strong supply of skill and semi-skilled workers in coordination with broader country-wide reforms.  Sir, I would like to report to Parliament that by the end of November/December, we will be able to table this paper in Cabinet. 

Sir, another thing that is also happening in my Department is the ongoing business law reform.  We have had responses from Gizo.  Staffs have gone there and have now come back.  They have also gone to Auki and had very good response from the private sector and the business people in Auki about the business law reform.

 I would like to report to Parliament that one of the papers I will table also in Cabinet is the coconut oil based bio-diesel.  During the recent Kokonut Day Celebration in conjunction with the National Trade and Cultural show, a private company demonstrated and proven that a locally produced bio-diesel blend of 80% coconut oil can be used on diesel vehicles without problem with a saving of 16%, which means $2.00 per litre.  You know, Sir, that your vehicle uses diesel and you could try this coconut bio diesel fuel which costs less than the fossil fuel we are currently using. 

Sir, I would like to report that this milestone event promises much benefit and a bright future to our national economy through improved balance of trade and in particular secure income for copra producers throughout the country.  Hence one of the things that we will be revisiting is the RIPEL Plantation in the Russell Islands.  We will also revisit the Bina Harbour Industrial Development Centre, which the last government has been trying to resurrect.  I will be sitting with landowners and chiefs and those from my Department to try to resurrect the Bin Harbor Project.

 Sir, I would like to report that the Bina Harbour Industrial Development Project is an ongoing project of the previous government instigated along the Government’s decentralization Policy and the nation’s economy strengthening program.  The project is to establish an infrastructure avenue for economic development in Malaita Province, which will involve and provide for all commercial and industrial activities at moderate and high operation scale to take place.

Sir, in the light of what the Minister for Foreign Affairs has been saying this is creation of another Honiara so that people can stay in that province and develop their province. 

Sir, that is a short brief I have about my Department, which I am pleased to report to Parliament. 

            Sir, in concluding perhaps if I may revisit the old saying, “Ask not what your government can do for you but ask what you can do for the government.” The government cannot do it alone. The onus is on each and every single citizen of this nation. It is our duty and responsibility to shape this country to a peaceful and prosperous nation. 

Mr Speaker, I would like to call on all the chiefs of the islands, community, leaders, church leaders, youth leaders, national leaders and provincial governments to work hand in hand and in partnership with the national government to create a peaceful and prosperous Solomon Islands and one that we can truly call the ‘Happy Isles’. 

            Mr Speaker, may I also take this opportunity before I sit down to wish my colleague Members of Parliament who will be traveling to their province and constituency a bon voyage and best of luck.  Also I would like to wish all Cabinet Ministers all the best and work hard to take care yourselves. 

To your good self and staff I would like to wish you all the best to continue with the good work.     With these, Mr Speaker, I support the motion.

 

Mr TORA:  Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity to contribute very briefly to this sine die motion moved by the Honourable Prime Minister.

            Mr Speaker, in joining other colleague Members of Parliament who have contributed on this motion, I would also like to take this opportunity on behalf of the people in my constituency to express our sincere thanks to His Excellency the Governor General of Solomon Islands for the Speech from the Throne he delivered at the opening of this Parliament Meeting on Monday 2nd October 2006. 

            Mr Speaker, the Governor General, in his Speech highlighted some very important areas for all of us - the Government side and the Opposition side to take note and take it from there.  It is very important that all of us as leaders take note of what has been emphasized or highlighted in the Speech. 

            Mr Speaker, I would like to thank your office, the Clerk and the staffs of National Parliament for the good work you done.  We look forward that you continue to perform your good work in all meetings.  I would like to congratulate you, Sir, especially for your patience and tolerance.  So far we have had two meetings where time was extended. 

Mr Speaker, at the outset I would also like to acknowledge those who render their services and those who contribute to the economy of this nation. I would like to acknowledge the work of RAMSI, the Solomon Islands Police and Prison Service personnel.  I also would like to acknowledge the services of Permanent Secretaries, the Public Service, the doctors and nurses and paramedics, teachers, the unions, the churches for their daily prayers for this nation, the constitutional post holders and their staff, youth, women, sporting bodies in this country.  More so Mr Speaker, I thank the business houses and those who are engaged in producing copra and cocoa in all our rural areas.  I thank those who work in our ships, the crews.  I would like to thank and acknowledge our donor partners for continuing to financially assist and provide services to our country.

            Mr Speaker, much has been said and I do not want to repeat what other speakers have said.  There are one or two points I would like to share or remind all of us as Members.  I want to see cooperation exercised in this National Chamber.

As leaders, we cannot isolate ourselves but we must work together.  The Opposition side continues to remind the government of its policies so that services can be delivered to our people.  Mr Speaker, I see it as very important that all of us as leaders in all areas must work together because this country is not the country of people from outside but it is a country of the people of Solomon Islands.  Our children will be the future leaders of tomorrow.  We must love our country because it is our country and our home.  It is like you and me loving ourselves or loving our own families.  I see it as very important that we should love our country and we should protect all our resources. 

            Mr Speaker, if we leaders divide ourselves then it is easy for our country to be divided too.  But if we stand together as leaders who have been mandated by our people to lead this country and to make policies for this country, then I see there is blessing for all of us and for our country.

 I believe the Creator who creates this universe, who creates Solomon Islands does not want to see us walking apart because He would like to ensure that we work together for the good of our people and for the good of His people.  Because of that, Mr Speaker, my personal view is that it is very important for all areas or walks of life inside the country, whether it be the youths, the women, the men, the churches and other leaders to work together with us the national leaders.  Through working together, Mr Speaker, we can see our country to be prosperous.  I would like to thank resource owners from our various islands who own resources to open up their resources to develop them for the good of this nation. 

To resource owners who have still not made up their minds to open up your resource, I think it is time now for you to make your decision with your tribes or your clan so that our country can prosper.  I believe many of our islands have plenty of resources but some are still not willing to allow their resources. 

I think it comes back to us leaders that wherever we belong to or we come from, we should work together with our resource owners in our respective constituencies or provinces with the provincial assembly members.  The chiefs in our villages, we need to work together with them. 

Mr Speaker, we must look after and take care of God’s creation.  We must act like stewards caring for God’s creation.  We do not want to see people coming in to ruin us.  For example, the fishing companies on undersize fishes.  These fishes should be given to the hospitals or institutions.  But they just throw these fishes away in the sea.  Is that what we would like to see happen to our marine resources?  

If you go to Noro and ask for the undersize fish, they do not allow it but instead throw them into the sea.  I think this is something that we as leaders should look into seriously.  Maybe sometimes they are given to schools but from information I heard is that people are trying to get such fish but they were just thrown into the sea.  What a waste, Mr Speaker.  That is not caring for our resources.  We have become spectators by allowing other people to spoil us. 

Mr Speaker, without taking much of your time because I believe other colleagues would also want to speak on this motion to express their views and gratitude to people back in their constituencies. 

            Finally, Mr Speaker, I will join others speakers who have spoken on this motion to thank your Chair once again, the Clerk and the staff of National Parliament for making everything possible for Members of Parliament to come especially those who reside in their constituencies for this important Meeting.  

 I would also like to thank and bid farewell and good wishes to all of us in this Chamber.  I wish everyone a happy celebration this coming Christmas and a prosperous New Year 2007. 

            Lastly, but not the least I would like to thank my people of Ulawa/Ugi for the trust and confidence placed on me to return me for the second time to this Chamber. I look forward to working closely with you, the chiefs and leaders of this constituency and other constituencies in our country.  I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year 2007.

            With those few remarks, Mr Speaker, I support the motion.

 

Hon Sogavare:  Point of Order, Mr Speaker.  I underestimated the number of people who would like to speak on this motion and I think the momentum is growing now that a lot of Members of Parliament would like to contribute this motion.  I would like to further amend the date of the motion of die that we have passed the other day.

 

Mr Speaker:  Hon Prime Minister, thank you for that intention.  In terms of respect for our Standing Orders, I wonder whether the AG could help us out because at the moment we are debating an amended motion.  We are already in full discussions of an amended motion, and the time for amendment of the motion has already gone past and so what do we do? 

Under the Standing Orders there does not seem to be any provision for further amendment of a motion that has already been amended and is now under full discussions. 

 

Mr Zama: Mr Speaker, in view of the absence of any such provision, I just seek if we can suspend such provision, suspend the Standing Orders and then seek Parliament’s approval to endorse this additional request from the Prime Minister.

 

Mr Speaker:  We just want to be sure that we do it procedurally.  We can stand suspend Standing Orders for purposes of adjourning the debate to the next day, but then of course the motion of sine die actually specifies today as being the day to adjourn sine die.  We cannot simply adjourn under normal procedure. We are now discussing an adjournment sine motion.

 

Hon Manetoali:  Mr Speaker, I checked the Standing Orders and there is no provision to that effect, and so I would like the Speaker to make the ruling.

 

Mr Speaker:  Under Section 82, the Speaker can refer to, where there is no provision under this procedure, in case of doubt, we can refer to the normal House of Commons procedures, and I suppose if we refer to that and accept the fact that the Speaker has the final say in matters of procedure, I would allow the Hon Prime Minister to move that amended motion further still of our discussions of this particular motion.

 

Hon Sanga:  Mr Speaker, just to draw our attention to Order 26 Section (1)(2b) from the premise that an amended motion is a motion.  If it is accepted on that angle then it is where Standing Order 81 can be used.

 

Mr Speaker:  The provision you are referring to is a normal request for an amended motion without notice

 

Hon Sanga:  But my point is that it is an amended motion as well as a motion.  It was amended but it is a motion per se.  Even if it is amended it is a motion of sine die and so it can be regarded as a motion under Standing Order 81.

 

Mr Speaker:  But a motion that has already been amended and is now under substantive discussion, we cannot simply turn around and amend it again in the process of that substantive discussion.  Order 26(b) you are referring to refers to a permission by the Speaker to accept a motion for amendment.  We have already gone through all the amendments and now we are discussing the amended motion so to speak, and already half way through it and so we cannot again amend it until we dispense with it.  

I was referring to section 82 where there is doubt that the provisions of 38 where the Speaker has the final authority I could then use the final authority of the Speaker to allow interference of the procedure by the Honourable Prime Minister to move that motion to amend the current amended motion.

Under that, I rule that with the powers of the Speaker’s for final decision on matters of procedure, I allow that motion to be amended Hon Prime Minister, please.  It means the amended motion is simply to amend the present motion to adjourn sine die tomorrow.

 

Hon Sogavare:  Thank you very much Mr Speaker.  I would like to move that the amended date which was yesterday that Parliament would stand adjourn sine die on Thursday 12th October 2006 be amended to 13th October 2006, which means the amended motion would read, “That at the adjournment of Parliament on Friday 13th October 2006, the present Meeting shall be concluded and Parliament shall then stand adjourn sine die”. 

 

Mr Speaker: Thank you Honourable Prime Minister.  In fact I thought whether an adjournment might be possible under section 35 but then it involves the date as well, and so we cannot simply adjourn it until tomorrow without amending the date of the sine die motion.

I therefore move that the present motion’s date of adjournment sine die today be amended so that discussions of the adjournment motion continue and the House adjourns sine die tomorrow the 13th. 

 

The motion was agreed to

 

 

Mr Speaker:  The motion is therefore amended and so I think you will just have to now use the provisions of adjournment of the motion under Order 35 so that we will continue the debate tomorrow.

 

Hon Sogavare:  Mr Speaker, I beg to move that debate on the motion of sine die be adjourned.

 

Mr Speaker:  The motion now is that under order 35 debate on the motion of adjournment sine die be adjourned until tomorrow the 13th.  The date has been changed and the withdrawal of the debate of the motion also has been sorted out so that the adjournment motion will now continue tomorrow. 

 

Hon Sogavare:  Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this House do now adjourn. 

 

 

The House adjourned at 6.30 pm