NATIONAL PARLIAMENT OF SOLOMON ISLANDS

 

DAILY HANSARD

 

SECOND MEETING – EIGHTH SESSION

 

WEDNESDAY 11th OCTOBER 2006


 

 


The Hon Speaker, Sir Peter Kenilorea took the Chair at 9.30 am.

 

Prayers.

 

ATTENDANCE

 

At prayers, all were present with the exception of the Minister for Culture & Tourism, and the Members for East Honiara and Central Honiara.

 

PRESENTATION OF PAPERS AND OF REPORTS

Special Audit Report into the Affairs of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services

(National Parliament Paper No. 9 of 2006)

 

Solomon Islands Water Authority Financial Statements for the Year ended 31st December 1996

(National Parliament Paper No. 13 of 2006)

 

Solomon Islands Water Authority Financial Statements for the Year ended 31st December 1998

(National Parliament Paper No. 14 of 2006)

 

Solomon Islands Gazettes 2006 Numbers 1 – 40.  Presented according to Section 62 of the Interpretation and General Provisions Act [Cap. 85]

(National Parliament Paper No. 17 of 2006)

 

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

 

11.        Mr Kemakeza to the Minister for Public Service:  Can the Minister inform Parliament whether or not the present Secretary to Prime Minister went through the normal Public Service recruitment procedures?

 

Hon SANGA:  First of all, I would like to thank the Member for Savo/Russells for asking this very important question.  The answer to the question is as follows: 

The recruitment process within the Public Service normally ends up with the appointment of an officer by the Public Service Commission to a position within the Public Service. 

The process requires under Regulation 19 of the Public Service Commission Regulation, that all appointments be advertised unless the Public Service Commission agrees to dispense with advertisement. 

In the case of the appointment of Secretary to the Prime Minister, the current incumbent was hand-picked.  His name was name submitted to the Public Service Commission and the Commission agreed to go ahead and appoint him after having to wait for an advertisement.

Mr Speaker, that was the route the PSC took, which is in the normal procedure under the PSC Regulations.

 

Mr Kemakeza:  Prior to the appointment of Permanent Secretaries, the Prime Minister announced advertisement of the posts.  What is the good intention to hand-pick Permanent Secretaries?

 

Hon Sanga:  Mr Speaker, I do not quite get the supplementary question.  But if the questionnaire refers appointment of Permanent Secretaries then there is another question in today’s paper regarding the appointment of Permanent Secretaries, which if it is okay with the questionnaire, I could tackle that question together now.

 

Mr Speaker:  Since the question refers to Permanent Secretaries notice separately, we will come to that when we come to it.

 

Mr Kemakeza:  Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the Minister for his answers.

 

26.       Mr KWANAIRARA to the Prime Minister:  Can the Hon Prime Minister inform the Parliament and the people of Solomon Islands if the decision to deport the Australian High Commissioner was unanimous decision sanctioned by the Cabinet of Solomon Islands?

 

Hon SOGAVARE:  Mr Speaker, this issue is a very serious one and it needs the support of the total government bench.  We did better than just Cabinet, it is the unanimous decision of the total entire government Caucus.

 

Mr Boyers:  It is true that the total government bench including myself at that time but at that time I did not vote for in favour of this and so it is not an unanimous decision.

 

Hon Sogavare:  Mr Speaker, if the MP for Vona Vona understands the way the Cabinet/Government system works, it is the majority rule.  If the majority voted in favor of a situation regardless of what a few individuals say about an issue, the issue is carried and that is how this matter is decided in Caucus.

 

Mr Kwanairara:  Before I thank the Prime Minister for his answers, I think the question is quite important and people need to know and that is why the question was raised.  I wish to thank the Prime Minister.

 

27.       Mr KWANAIRARA to the Minister of Public Service:  Can the Minister clarify to Parliament and the people of Solomon Islands as to the legal process and procedure for the appointment of Permanent Secretaries?

 

Hon SANGA:  Mr Speaker, I think the answer in terms of legal procedures is quite the same as the answer I have given in relation to Question No. 11. 

To explain the background of the Permanent Secretaries case, it was decided initially by Cabinet that all positions of Permanent Secretaries were to be advertised.  Advertisements were made, an interview panel was formed, it initially sat and then it continues to defer its proceedings, which is not in the interest of the urgency of having Permanent Secretaries at post in order to deal with urgent Government business in terms of moving its policies forward.

            The Cabinet again rescinded its decision and authorized the Prime Minister to select Permanent Secretaries from the list of all the applicants who applied for the positions.

 

Mr FONO:  Can the Minister confirm that there were no interviews made before the recommendation was given to the Public Service Commission for appointment according to the law.

 

Hon Sanga:  I think I have covered that point when I said that the Interview Panel sat and then deferred its proceedings, which is not in the interest of the urgency of having Permanent Secretaries at post, as a result of which Cabinet again decided to rescind its earlier decision to get the Permanent Secretaries selected by the Prime Minister and have them appointed straight away.

 

Mr Fono:  Can the Minister confirm whether that step taken is provided for under law?  As I understand, interviews must be done before selection is made and recommended to the Public Service Commission for confirmation and appointment.

 

Hon Sanga:  I have explained that point in my earlier answer.  I think the Leader of Opposition was not in yet and so may be I just make it again.  Regulation 19 of the Public Service Commission Regulations made it clear that if the Public Service Commission does not agree to advertise the post, it will go ahead straight away and make the appointments.  That is the route taken by the PSC to accept the recommendations by the Prime Minister.

 

Mr HUNIEHU:  Can the Minister inform the House that since the Prime Minister hand-picked the Permanent Secretaries there were no official interviews conducted?

The Minister said that the Cabinet rescinded its earlier decision, may be he was referring to the short-listed Permanent Secretaries the Deputy Prime Minister agreed to when the Prime Minister was overseas.  There was a list of short-listed Permanent Secretaries to be interviewed.  If this is the decision that Cabinet rescinded, which authorized the Prime Minister to hand-pick the Permanent Secretaries, were the Permanent Secretaries interviewed for the job?

 

Hon Sanga:  The short-listing was not done by the Deputy Prime Minister.  The short-listing was done by the Interview Panel in consultation with the Prime Minister’s Office and the Public Service.  When the selection was made it was done from the list of about 82 applicants who applied for the positions of Permanent Secretary.

 

Mr Fono:  Can the Minister confirm to the House that the process of selecting these Permanent Secretaries complied with the principles of good governance and practices?

 

Hon Sanga:  Yes

 

Mr TOZAKA:  It would seem to me, may be at your discretion, of course, but preferential treatment was given to a group of Permanent Secretaries.  In the best interest of consistency, bearing in mind the importance of the Public Service to be consistent in recruitment of firing and hiring, is this process going to be applied to the recruitment of other posts as well?

 

Hon Sanga:  I’ll try and answer it but if I go outside the question may be the person could stop me. 

Mr Speaker, in the case of Permanent Secretaries, especially given the situation where the government was under pressure to get the chief executives of departments to be at post, it was compelling on the government to ensure that substantive Permanent Secretaries are at post.  So that was the route taken. 

In as far as whether that kind of approach will be taken on other posts in the Public Service, I think we will normally go along the conventional line of recruitment.

 

Mr GUKUNA:  Can the Minister explain or clarify whether there was indeed political interference from the Office of the Prime Minister in the process of selecting the Permanent Secretaries? 

My second question is, why was it so urgent to hand-pick the Permanent Secretaries and not important and urgent to complete the budget in time this year?

 

Mr Speaker:  I think that question is asking for an opinion and I do not know whether the honorable Minister wants to respond to it.

 

Hon Sanga:  Mr Speaker, not only that, but the answer is obvious.  This is a new regime that just came in and it wants to get things started.  The post of Permanent Secretary is very important in the settling in period of any government.

 

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

 

34.       Mr HAOMAE to the Minister for Infrastructure & Development:  How much did it cost the government to purchase the new fleet of vehicles for Ministers?

 

Hon SOFU:   Mr Speaker, the answer to your question is $3.8 million.

 

Mr FONO:  Can the Minister confirm to the House whether there was a tender for these vehicles before it was awarded to the supplier?

 

Hon Sofu:  The Leader of Opposition should know that the vehicles were purchased through an arrangement made by the last government.

 

Mr Fono:  Mr Speaker, I totally objected that answer that it was not arranged by the last government.  The budget was initiated by the last government but the procurement of the vehicles was under this regime. 

Mr Speaker, the Minister has not answered my question.  My question was whether the vehicles were tendered out because according to information from the Tender Board there was no tender for the vehicles?  Is that good governance?

 

Hon Sofu:  Mr Speaker, it is very clear that when this new government came in the vehicles were already ordered.

 

Mr Fono:  I denied that answer, Mr Speaker.  The order of those vehicles was only done by this Government for the FEM Meeting and I have proof that it was not tendered out, but it was given to Harvest Pacific.  It was hand-picked like the Permanent Secretaries.

 

Hon Sofu:  Mr Speaker, when this government came into power, is it possible that within three weeks the vehicles arrive?

 

Mr HUNIEHU:  The Minister should properly answer the questions when in fact one of Ministers’ has admitted to this Parliament that the vehicles referred to were tendered and we asked for those information to be distributed in our pigeon holes.  We still haven’t received those information and this question again appears this time and we want a proper answer from the Minister.

 

Hon DARCY:  Mr Speaker, it is true that the process of tendering has been followed in procuring these vehicles.  In fact invitations were made to all interested suppliers to provide quotations, and in the end the Harvest Pacific was selected.  So it is not true to say that the tendering process was not followed.  That information on the tendering process can be provided.

 

Mr Speaker:  I think that information needs to be provided to clarify the rather contradictory answers that seem to be put across in the House.

 

Mr Haomae:  Why is the numbering of Ministers’ cars M001, M007 like that of James Bond?

 

Hon Sofu:  Mr Speaker, I think that supplementary question is out of the original question.

 

Mr Haomae:  Before I thank my honorable hard working Minister for Infrastructure & Development, I want to impress to him that the numbering is, in my view, not quite right.  It might be good in the view of the government and the Minister for Infrastructure & Development, but I would like to ask him to review the numbering, and I thank the Ministers for answering the question.

 

35.       Mr GUKUNA to the Minister for Finance & Treasury:  Over the past months the Ministry of Finance had continued to tell the nation of surpluses in our budget.  Can the Minister tell the House and the nation, as to what has been the cause of these surpluses?

 

(a)        Is it poor budgeting

(b)        Is it institutional strengthening? or

(c)        Is it real growth in our economy?

 

Hon DARCY:  Mr Speaker, the surplus in the budget is basically made possible because of two reasons.  Firstly, is because of improvement in revenue, and that improvement in revenue is represented by 13% growth in revenue, which can be divided into 6% as represented in real economic growth and 7% in nominal growth.

The 6% in real growth means there is real growth in output with a corresponding increase in income in relation to growth in production. 

The nominal growth represents an inflationary growth, and that is in relation to price increases and because of the price increase, some of those price increases find themselves in the increase in revenue. 

The other aspect relating to the growth in revenue is in relation to compliance as a result of some institutional strengthening measures that have been taken in the Revenue Department.  There is growth in revenue, more taxpayers are now complying to pay tax to the government.  That shows a modest expansion in our taxable capacity and therefore has given rise to the growth in revenue. 

The second aspect that contributed to this surplus is the process of guaranteeing expenditure requisition.  As those in the previous regime will understand, there have been measures put in place to scrutinize, screen and assess expenditure requisition from Departments. This is basically to ensure that we have quality expenditures on all requisitions made by departments.  That has given rise to some control on expenditures.  Overall, putting together the situation on revenue and expenditure we were able to achieve the surplus.  That is the situation that has given rise to the surplus that we have reported so far during the course of the fiscal year. 

 

Mr GUKUNA:  Mr Speaker, I thank the Minister.  I think the question has been answered quite well.

 

24        Mr RIUMANA to the Minister for Communication, Aviation & Meteorology:  The Air Services Australia (ASA) which operates from Brisbane manages THE Solomon Islands upper air space.  The ASA collected fees from international airlines for services on behalf of the Solomon Islands Government.  Can the Minister inform Parliament the total amount of fee collected by ASA between 1996 and 2006?

 

Hon VAHOE:  Mr Speaker, the question by the MP is correct that the Air Services Australia controls the air traffic and collects fees from aircrafts that fly through the Solomon Islands upper space.  However, this agreement has been in place under an agreement effective from 27th April 1998 and not 1996.

From 27th April 1998 to 31st August 2006, a total of $12,580,000 has been collected in fees on the Solomon Airlines on behalf of which in today’s exchange rate would amount to SBD$71million.  Thank you Mr Speaker.

 

Mr KOLI:  I understand that the Director of Aviation has allocated some money collected from the Australian Air Services for the upgrading and maintenance of terminals of rural airstrips.  Can the Minister inform Parliament of how many rural airfields have been upgraded using this fund? 

 

Hon Vahoe:   My Department is handling the concerns that were raised.  My officers right now are touring the provincial airfields to carry out inspection, after which a report will be compiled and then under this fund the airstrips will be upgraded. 

 

Mr Riumana:  Mr Speaker, can the Minister inform this Parliament how the fund is being administered?

 

Hon Vahoe:  This fund is administered by the Department of Finance under a special fund in liaison with my Department. 

 

Mr Riumana:  The Jajao airstrip was constructed without any government assistance.  Can the Minister assure my people, if this fund can be used in the later stages of the development of the Jajao airstrip?

 

Hon Vahoe:  Mr Speaker, I think the Jajao airstrip is a private airstrip and so the government cannot fund it. 

 

Mr HUNIEHU:  Can the Minister clarify his earlier statement that the fund is administered by the Department of Finance when actually by virtue of an act of Parliament the Ministry is empowered to spend the money outside of the provisions of the consolidated fund?  Which is the true one, the Ministry of Finance or the Ministry of Aviation?

 

Hon DARCY:  Mr Speaker, yes, it is true that the special fund is established under the Civil Aviation Act.  But then the requirements of the Public Finance and Audit Act do also apply.  As you know the amendment to the Civil Aviation Act does provide for the establishment of the special fund.  But it also requires that it should be managed and operated in accordance with the Public Finance and Audit Act.  That is exactly what the Minister is saying that it is being operated under the close scrutiny in the purview of the Department of Finance and also the Department of Civil Aviation.  

 

Mr KENGAVA:  If we have an airstrip that is privately built, not under government funding, but the airstrip belongs to the people of Solomon Islands.  What are the steps needed to be taken by either the province or the landowners for the government to fund the airstrip? 

 

Hon Darcy:  Mr Speaker, this is a budgetary question and the only process is to get request from the Provincial Government to ensure that repair and maintenance and upgrading of provincial airstrips can be made through the budgetary process.  That is the process to be followed.  We invite Provincial Governments to make request through that process so that it can be enlisted in the Government’s development budget. 

 

Mr Huniehu:  Since the fund is spent outside of the consolidated fund, can the Minister ensure that these expenditures are brought to the floor of Parliament for the information of Members? 

 

Hon Darcy:  Mr Speaker, as you understand and aware special funds are no exception.  Special funds have to be brought to Parliament for Parliament to examine.  At the end of each financial year proper auditing will have to be carried out on all special funds and the report laid before Parliament.  That provision is absolutely clear in our laws. 

 

Hon Vahoe:  Yes, this special fund will be audited at the end of the financial year.

 

Mr KOLI:  Mr Speaker, first I would like to officially thank the Minister and his officials for reopening of the Marau airstrip.  I would like assurance from the Minister for the reopening of the Avu Avu airstrip.  I want the Minister to assure me and my people for the reopening of the Avu Avu airfield. 

 

Hon Vahoe:  Yes, Mr Speaker, the Avu Avu airfield is still on the process.  I think everything must be done before work is carried out. 

 

Mr Riumana:  Mr Speaker, before I thank the Minister, I want to make a brief remark.  While Jajao is a private airstrip, Jajao is in Isabel, which is in Solomon Islands and they are people from Solomon Islands and they contribute to the economy of Solomon Islands.  I want the Government to assist my people. 

With those few remarks, I thank the Minister for his answers.

 

QUESTION WITHOUT NOTICE

 

Mr FONO:  Mr Speaker, I rise to ask a question without notice in accordance with section 21(4) of the Standing Orders.  This question is directed to the Honorable Prime Minister.  Can the Honorable Prime Minister inform the House and the nation that he was involved in arranging the plane that flew the fugitive Attorney General into Munda Western Province, yesterday? 

 

Hon SOGAVARE:  Mr Speaker, I was not consulted on that question but my answer is no.

 

Mr Fono:  If the Honorable Prime Minister’s answer is no, why is an official from the Prime Minister’s Office and a representative of a Private Law Firm were sent to Port Moresby also accompanied the Attorney General designate on that flight?

 

Hon Sogavare:  Mr Speaker, it is true that an official from the Prime Minister’s Office and a representative of a law firm went to Papua New Guinea to help out with the case of the Attorney General.  Mr Speaker, that person was an appointed officer of the government and they went there to assist with the legal counsels that were also appointed by the government to help out in taking that matter to the Magistrate.  I can confirm that.  How they came on the plane is what I have no knowledge whatsoever.

 

Mr GUKUNA:  Mr Speaker, we all know the story, we all know how they came in.  Is the Prime Minister ready to condemn that our laws have been broken - aviation laws, immigration laws.  Is the Prime Minister ready to condemn the manner in which they flew into the country Mr Speaker?

 

Mr Speaker:  I think that particular point has been clarified to the House yesterday by the Minister for Foreign Affairs that it is now a matter of the Police to deal with.

 

Mr Huniehu:  Can the Prime Minister from Parliament who paid for the cost of the flight to Munda airport?

 

Hon Sogavare:  Mr Speaker, I am not in a position to inform Parliament about that because I don’t know.

 

Mr Huniehu:  Mr Speaker, is the Prime Minister aware that one of his Ministers inform Parliament that the cost of bringing the suspended Attorney General and all his legal fees will be met by the Government of Solomon Islands?

 

Hon Sogavare:  Mr Speaker, that is a different issue.  That is talking about the cost of plane.  If you talk about the cost of legal fees to challenge the case in Papua New Guinea, the Government will meet that cost.  He is an officer of the government, Mr Speaker, but if the question is on the cost of getting the plane here then we don’t know about that.

 

Hon Oti:  Mr Speaker, point of order.  I made reference to that particular point yesterday.  Under Standing Orders, a question that has been dealt with by Parliament should not be raised again in same meeting.

 

Mr Boyers:  Mr Speaker, considering the dumping ground of people smuggling was in my constituency, my people have demanded my voice for an answer in this Parliament of why a PNG Defence Force plane landed in Munda in the early hours of yesterday morning causing considerable concern and question.  As their Member of Parliament I would like to ask this question to the Prime Minister.  In the light of the PNG’s Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense denying any knowledge, they can only make …..

 

Hon Oti:  Point of order, Mr Speaker, I have also mentioned to Parliament that as of yesterday, to meet normal diplomatic requirements we have also, as of yesterday, sent a diplomatic note to the PNG High Commission so they can be relayed to Port Moresby, we have raised those concerns that have been raised by the Member.  I was also in a position to state to Parliament yesterday afternoon. 

 

Mr Boyers:  As has been mentioned in supplementary questions, also a political appointee from the Prime Minister’s Office was sent to assist the Attorney General.

 

Hon Darcy:  Point of order Mr Speaker.  I am going to ask you question whether you are going to allow him to ask a question or to make a comment.  This is asking and answering of question, and not making of comments.

 

Mr Boyers:  Point of order.  I want to reconfirm answers from this question.  I want it answered in a good manner.  I want it clarified in this Parliament that an officer of the Prime Minister, a political appointee was sent to assist this particular Attorney General, as was mentioned by the Prime Minister.  Can the Prime Minister deny that he had any involvement in this incident?

 

Hon Sogavare:  I think I have answered that question very, very loud and clear. 

 

Mr Fono:  Mr Speaker, I wish to thank the Honorable Prime Minister and his other two senior Ministers, the Minister of Planning and Foreign Affairs for answering questions relating to a very important issue, which has made our nation become a laughing stock for bringing in a criminal that is wanted by two countries - Papua New Guinea and Australia.  Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.

 

MOTIONS

“That Parliament resolves it has no confidence in the Prime Minister

 

Mr Fono:  Mr Speaker, thank you for allowing me the floor

 

Hon Oti:  Point of order.  I would like to seek clarification from the Minister of Justice who is currently the Attorney General, if his opinion could be provided to Parliament regarding the Motion meeting the requirement of section 34 of the Constitution for a 7 days notice since the particular motion appeared on Notice Paper No. 11 dated 6th October. 

I would just like to know whether we are within time framework now that the notice has been put on notice to Parliament in today’s notice paper. Just for clarification from the Attorney General’s Chamber.

 

Mr Speaker:  Before the AG makes the legal clarification, the House would understand that the motion was withdrawn from the Order Paper of last Thursday but it was not withdrawn from Parliament.  The Office of the Speaker took the notice of this particular motion as of the 7th of September since it was noticed on the paper since 7th September last month.

 

Hon Oti:  Mr Speaker, with due respect why I am seeking that clarification is, what is therefore the purpose of Notice Paper No. 11 of 6th October.

 

Mr Speaker:  That suggestion was made by the Leader of the Opposition but I told him outside of the Parliament that I am taking the notice of this motion from the 7th September 2006, not necessarily whatever notice subsequently because he was referring to standing orders and I said that this motion is a stand alone constitutional motion under section 34 and the only requirement is seven days clear notice.  It does not subject itself to the standing order provisions.

 

Hon Oti:  Mr Speaker, we are therefore to take it that Notice Paper No. 11 is of no effect.

 

Mr Speaker:  I think the Leader of Opposition was trying to comply with the so called standing order procedures when in fact I told him that this is a stand alone constitutional provision.  It does not subject itself to the process of standing orders.  As long as it is notice seven clear days to the Speaker’s Office, it is open for debate in Parliament and I took that notice as of the 7th September.  And therefore the suggestion by the Leader of Opposition is non effect because he was trying to, may be use standing orders to justify himself.

 

Hon Darcy:  If that is the case then just to clear my mind as to who accepts the re-noticing of that motion.  If the Office of the Speaker accepts the re-noticing then it would mean that the office does concur with his intention to start the whole process afresh.

 

Mr Speaker:  It could not be accepted as afresh because it was never withdrawn from Parliament.  It was withdrawn from the Order Paper and therefore the Speaker as far as the Leader of the Opposition knows continues to tell him that his notice is as of 7th September. 

 

Attorney General:  You have explained the position of the Office, but let me put my view even though you have made the ruling.

If we look at section 34(2) of the Constitution, which you are well aware of, a motion for a resolution of no confidence in the prime minister shall not be passed by parliament unless a ‘notice of the motion’.   The key word is ‘notice of the motion’. 

Before any motion comes to parliament, there must be a notice, and that was also covered in the Standing Orders on section 31(1).  When a motion is withdrawn, a notice required by these orders is given.  The notice is the formal requirement under the Constitution as well as the standing orders. 

Before me now, Sir, I have two notices.  The first one is the Thursday 7th October 2006 – Paper No.2 on the same subject, which is the motion of no confidence.  This, as it appears in the Parliament this morning, the notice paper No.2 dated 7th September has been superseded by this Notice Paper No. 11th dated 6 October 2006.

Mr Speaker, you have already made your ruling but I am just putting my views on this matter for our purposes

Mr Speaker:  My ruling is that the notice, I stand by is the notice on 7th September and so the motion qualifies for debate this morning according to that.  The Leader of Opposition is now free to move his motion.

 

Mr FONO:  Thank you, Mr Speaker, for your ruling.  I am surprised at Ministers questioning the Motion.  If you have the number you do not need to worry. 

Mr Sir, I beg to move that the National Parliament of Solomon Islands hereby resolves it has no confidence in the Prime Minister.  As the Leader of Opposition, Mr Speaker, I am duty bound, it is my duty to move this motion.  Mr Speaker, this is part of the job of a Leader of Opposition. There is nothing personal between the Prime Minister and me.  There is nothing personal between his Ministers and Members of the Opposition Group in Parliament.  Mr Speaker, this is how democracy works.  This merely shows we have a functioning democracy in Solomon Islands. 

Mr Speaker, from the outset I must categorically deny that this motion was influenced by any foreign force or any development partner or any other country, not at all, Mr Speaker. 

Mr Speaker, since this is my first time to move a motion of no confidence in Parliament, I wish to dedicate this motion to the children of Solomon Islands who are our future.  It is for their sake and for their future that, today, we work so hard.  We work hard because we believe our children must have a future. 

Mr Speaker, I dedicate this motion also for the women of Solomon Islands (not those women owning the women’s bank). Our women have been hard working, longsuffering and it is they, whom politics often overlook, when we carry out the work of our nation Mr Speaker.  This is for them - our women: our mothers, our sisters, our daughters, our aunts, and so on.

Mr Speaker, I also wish to dedicate this motion to those who have special needs in Solomon Islands.  Mr Speaker, this motion is dedicated on behalf of the blind, the lame, the deaf, the sick, the emotionally wounded - the disabled.  This group of people deserves better.  Often, in the name of government, we devise policies that work for those who are able and visible but often our policies overlook those who are disabled, most of whom are invisible.  This motion is for them. 

Sir, before we proceed, I would like to clarify what a motion of no confidence is.  This explanation is important for those who are listening to the proceedings of this Parliament, throughout nation this time.  It is important too, to cast out any doubts and dispel any fears as to the purpose of this no confidence motion. 

In terms of parliamentary democracy, a motion of no confidence is part of the ‘check and balance’ system allowed under the constitution.  In order to maintain the balance of the system of governance, the Opposition has to check or monitor the work of the government day.  The Opposition therefore acts as a thermometer of/for the government and for that matter the Opposition is a very important part of the government of Solomon Islands.  Indeed, we are the government in waiting. 

The Opposition moves a motion of no confidence also when it sees the government exceeding its mandate given under the constitution, of course, a parliamentary oversight function.  A vote of no confidence therefore allows changes in government without resorting to violence.  A vote of no confidence allows peaceful changes, even a regime change without the use of arms like in other countries and also as we have experienced in the recent past. 

Without a vote of no confidence, Mr Speaker, we will takeover government whenever we feel like it; we will takeover government when we have the means; or we will takeover government when we have the number to do so.  That is why a motion of no confidence is a very important part of the system of government that we have in this country.  It is not new Mr Speaker, and it is not bad either.  We thank God it is not violent.  It is just part and partial of the system we have, mandated under our constitution. 

Mr Speaker, why does the Opposition decide to bring a motion of no confidence at this time, a lot of people have been asking?  Mr Speaker, that is a very important question.  It is also important because it naturally leads to the reasons why a motion is brought at this point in time in the life of this Parliament. 

 

“WHY WE CANNOT WAIT”

Mr Speaker, until a month ago we were going to wait - with a motion of no confidence.  We were very patient, and in fact we are a patient lot.  Indeed we are very confident of who we are and what we will do.  However, with the kind of a leader that we have, in the person of the Prime Minister, himself, having such patience will not serve the nation.  Being patient, for example Mr Speaker, would not save the former Attorney General, a very experienced and well educated Solomon Islander from losing his job. 

Mr Speaker, from the judgment of the High Court, the former Attorney General was not at fault.  He did not commit any offence.  Rather, as the Court went into the first five pages of the judgment to explain - he was merely doing his job, notwithstanding, with the kind of unprincipled leader that we have in the Prime Minister; a leader who says one thing and does the opposite - we could not wait. 

Mr Speaker, with the kind of erratic decisions we have seen from an unprincipled leader, we could hardly wait.  If we did so, Mr Speaker, it could happen that he might have someone else sitting in your place instead of a duly elected Speaker in the person of your goodself.  In other words, Mr Speaker, patience would cost the country in terms of finance, but more importantly it will cost the country dearly, in terms of the lives of our people whom the Prime Minister enjoys trampling on.  Even for national parliamentary leaders of this country, Mr Speaker, this Prime Minister would not wink an eye to dismiss them, even when they are ministers of the crown.  Mr Speaker, we have a Prime Minister who does not ask for a second or third opinion before he axes people.  Mr Speaker, this is a man who does not consult, but this is a man who enjoys dismissing others. 

At first, Mr Speaker, hr might have thought it was an accident.  The second time it could have been a coincidence.  On the third occasion it might be nothing but a habit, a bad habit.

Mr Speaker, the Opposition would like to save the nation through this vote of no confidence.  In the last five months we have the Prime Minister at the helm of this country and this nation suffers more than in any five months of any of our previous administrations. 

Mr Speaker, in this vein, the Opposition is not only carrying its mandated duty but the Opposition is being duty-bound to attend to saving the lives of each and every person in Solomon Islands.  We have been mandated to save this nation and we have done that.  And just when we were hoping to rebuild this nation, we have a Prime Minister who comes along and starts shooting all our efforts down, all government’s efforts, and all of the Opposition’s efforts in rebuilding this country. 

Mr Speaker, today the Opposition is responding to the cry of this country, more especially we are responding to the cry of members of the public in Honiara before the Prime Minister destroys everything that we have.  Therefore, we cannot wait.  The life of this country and the lives of Solomon Islanders and the lives of our children, as I said in dedicating this motion to our children, that they should have a future.  Mr Speaker, if we allow him to do whatever he wants to do, he might end up ruining this country.

 

“SOGAVARE LEADERSHIP”

 

Mr Speaker, if we look at the leadership we have at the moment, as I have said it is the person of the leader and his style of leadership that is central to this motion of no-confidence today.

            Mr Speaker, there is nothing wrong with the air in Solomon Islands.  There is nothing wrong with the soil and the trees in our country.  There is nothing wrong with the marine life or the environment in which we live in.  What is wrong is the person of the present leader.  That is what is wrong.  With the present leader, we have inherited a crisis of leadership.  This crisis of leadership has hatched into a national crisis.  This is the major factor behind this motion of no-confidence, and this is what the Opposition brings, in the name of the people of Solomon Islands, for Parliament to resolve once and for all.  That is what all Solomon Islanders expect their parliamentary leaders to do – to do the right thing to change the leadership of this current government.

            Mr Speaker, the present Prime Minister is a person who assumes what he thinks and what he says only is a right thing.  In fact, what he thinks and says - that is the only thing, even if it is not necessarily right.  Any person’s opinion or experience is immaterial.  That is why Mr Speaker, it is very dangerous, so to speak.

            Mr Speaker, unlike former Prime Ministers who were embracing and consultative in their style of leadership, we have the opposite as reflected in previous decisions over the last five months.  It is what he says that remains a command.  Unlike other Prime Ministers who seek the opinion of his colleagues or consult widely with their technical people behind their decisions, we have a Prime Minister’s style of leadership that is very questionable. 

            Mr Speaker, this Prime Minister has a style of leadership that speaks fear in the hearts of his colleagues and subordinates.  This is a leader whom anyone joins at his own risk. 

 

‘ABUSE OF NATIONAL SOVEREIGNTY’

 

Mr Speaker, the other reason for this motion is the abuse of national sovereignty.  This is a Prime Minister who talks so much about the sovereignty of this nation.  If the leadership of this Prime Minister does not change, this is not all.  This Prime Minister abuses the sovereignty of this nation for his own ends.  This is a person who sells the sovereignty of this country, although in the same breath, he pays lip service to the importance of national sovereignty. 

            Mr Speaker, sovereignty in short can be defined as “the possession of ultimate legal authority”.  That means we are legally recognized to do our own things, as legitimized by law, as long as our actions (or inactions) do not affect or offend other countries or other nations, states or persons.  There is a sense of sanctity in reference to the sovereignty of this nation.  It is a notion that is practiced with pride.  We call ourselves Solomon Islanders, we call our nation Solomon Islands.  And we are proud of what we do and who we are. 

            Mr Speaker, sovereignty is not mere rhetoric.  Hemi no word nating.  It is expressed through our actions and practices.  If we say that we are sovereign but fail to show that in our practices, especially in our everyday practices, then we should question whether we are truly sovereign or not. 

            Mr Speaker, when the present leader exposits sovereignty, he either means something else or has an incomplete understanding of the word.  I said this because when the Prime Minister expresses sovereignty, he believes it in such a way that he blindly pursues his course to the end, regardless of the consequences.  In so doing, we have a Prime Minister that undermines the very sovereignty that he wants to uphold in the first place.  Take for example, Mr Speaker, the case of the Attorney General designate.  In the name of sovereignty, the Prime Minister had afforded diplomatic immunity to the Attorney General designate in Solomon Islands Embassy in Port Moresby.  Why?  Mr Speaker, he is not a citizen.  That is abusing our sovereignty. 

In so doing, the Prime Minister has entangled his assertion of our sovereignty with the work of Law and Order in PNG.  This had caused a huge diplomatic uproar than the Prime Minister has expected. 

Sir, we should not allow our High Commission to be used as safe haven for criminals, whether or not they hold high offices in this country or any other countries, for that matter.  Sir, this is a bad precedent. 

If the Attorney General designate is allowed to escape facing the PNG courts on the basis of our sovereignty, and which he had already done, then we can allow everyone else who wants the same, foreigner or citizen, holders of high offices or ordinary criminals to do just the same.

Sir, it is clear that the criminal action of the Attorney General designate is undermining the sovereignty of this nation that we talk so much about.  We are being made a laughing stock in the international community for protecting a criminal.  (The incident of yesterday reflects very badly on our sovereignty). 

Another example of abuse of our sovereignty, this time, is the twisted fashion, although no less serious, is the case of where the Prime Minister allowed a foreigner, in the person of the General Secretary of SOCRED Party to meddle in our politics.  Where is the sovereignty of our nation, may I ask Mr Speaker?  This foreigner is not yet a citizen but a secretary of a political party the Prime Minister is leading.

The Prime Minister had allowed his General Secretary so much allowance that recently he meddled and messed up with our banking institutions.  If this is not enough, this person had gone into the media and abused our women leaders.  Even then the Prime Minister had not done anything to stop this foreigner neither issue any statement to condemn his actions.  Mr Speaker, if this is not abuse of our national sovereignty by this foreigner, I am not sure what you would call this. 

Sir, when we want to restore our sovereignty damaged during the ethnic tension or which was only held by a few with guns in the name of sovereignty, for example, we want to rebuild this nation.  Sir, in rebuilding the nation we need RAMSI as an expression of neighborly support (helpem friend).  But we expel the Australian High Commissioner whom we have disagreed with, for one reason or another or even for our own personal reasons, we have undermined the effort required to rebuild the nation and restore our sovereignty.  And since Australia is a major neighbor and contributor to RAMSI’s operation, the Prime Minister’s ill-afforded actions shows that he had forgotten the capillaries from which we need in order to stitch back our nation and our sovereignty.  Why do we have very short memories for the attacks we did both outside and in this chamber?

            Mr Speaker, indeed, our sovereignty is not for sale.  In the same breath we must know more than that simple shibboleth.  We must know and appreciate the sinews, with which we build our sovereignty.  We must appreciate this especially after an ethnic tension as we have recently experienced. 

For sure, Mr Speaker, sovereignty for a poor and weak country, does not mean much.  Therefore, we want to build our country to make it strong, to make it a truly sovereign nation.  This Prime Minister undermines this whole process.  After that he then turns around and says that he is doing this to protect our sovereignty.

            Mr Speaker, saying all this is not realistic; it does not serve of purpose, especially when we are weak.  Not when Australia is our neighbor that is interested in making us strong.  Not when we base our decisions on rumors and hearsays.  Not when we fail to carry out diplomatic decisions in the expected fashion.  Unless the Prime Minister wants us to retain that indecorous label, like others have called us, a “failed state”.

            Mr Speaker, I again repeat our sovereignty is not for sale.  At the same time, Mr Speaker, it is a moving concept.  It needs to move with time, in such a manner that will make Solomon Islanders a truly sovereign nation.  From the way the Prime Minister has behaved we would drop down - dead - with sanctions before we realize that all along, we have failed to learn simple lessons from the maze of modern day diplomacy.  In other words, we will learn when it is too late that our sovereignty depends also on the support of our neighbors and our development partners. Mr Speaker, friends are, of course, the whole family of nations as we are part of the International Community.  Take for example, Mr Speaker, if the diplomatic standoff between Australia and Solomon Islands is not resolved and Australia finally withdraws her development aid package, what will happen, may I ask?  We will certainly lose out on valuable assistance in the areas of education, health, debt repayment, budgetary support and even food for patients in the hospitals.  The nation must hear that even the food our patients eat in the hospital are provided for under the Health Sector Support of Australia, and yet we do not appreciate that.  We have very short memories.  Australia repaid our loan arrears in 2004 and 2005 through its assistance program and yet we do not appreciate that. 

 

INTERFERENCE IN THE JUDICIARY

Mr Speaker, the other reason for this vote of no confidence, for the nation to hear, is interference in the judiciary. In the history of our young nation, as far as we know, read and we can recollect, this is the first Prime Minister who has unabashedly interfered with the work of the judiciary.  This is the first Prime Minister who has acted as a “court to himself”.

            Mr Speaker, the separation of power principle serves as an important purpose.  The concentration of power in one group or person always presents dangers.  Therefore, in our system of government, power is divided among the legislature, the executive and the judiciary.  Although there are overlaps, the three branches function within the ambits of their constitutionally mandated authorities.  That is why we do not have an autocracy in this country.  Not yet, and we thank God for that.

            Recently, Mr Speaker, the Prime Minister wanted to change all these.  He wants to have a bit of power from each branch - all at the same time.  When he took power after the April riots he began to experiment with judicial interference.  Realizing that two Members of Parliament who were very instrumental in his power play were taken into custody he immediately promoted them to become Ministers of the Crown

            Mr Speaker, how it would ever be possible for two Ministers of the Crown to deal with government matters when they are in Police custody.  It is an issue the Prime Minister alone can answer.  For mere mortals like us, Mr Speaker, we would find it hard, if not impossible, to comprehend such an action. 

Sir, if anything, the Prime Minister’s action appeared to have ridiculed the two MPs in custody.  We know that a person in police custody does not have freedom.  If this is not enough the Prime Minister then instituted a commission of inquiry into the April riots.  This is a sheer ridicule of his supposed intelligence.  The best our people would have expected was for the Prime Minister to institute a Commission of Inquiry into the recent ethnic tension, and not just the April riots.

            Mr Speaker, there is more.  When the Prime Minister began work on the Commission of Inquiry, the purpose of the inquiry was clear under paragraph 6 of section B of a leaked secret document, one of the major purposes of the proposed Commission of Enquiry was made clear.  Referring to the terms of the Commission of Inquiry, it states:

 

Paragraph 2 (d) & 2(e) are obviously contentious, and, Cabinet’s wisdom is crucial to guide the Prime Minister.  Whilst there are political motives behind the inclusion of the paragraphs, the paragraphs referred to as, especially 2(e) seeks ultimately to halt the investigation conducted by the police on the cases of our two detained colleagues and subject them to a proper, holistic and independent investigation by the Commission of Inquiry”. 

           

Mr Speaker, this exposes the purpose behind the Commission of Inquiry into the April riots.  In retrospect, this clearly shows interference in the work of the Courts.  This document, itself, is full of references that allude to the interference of the court.  Under paragraph 10 in section B, the document states and I quote:

 

‘It is becoming clear that the attitude of the court and the way it handles the case of our two colleagues is tainted within inconsistency and abuse of (due) process.  A clear example is the alleged collusion between the sitting Magistrate and the DPP on East Honiara MPs bail application hearing’.

           

Mr Speaker, this leaked document was produced while the two MPs case were already in custody, under police investigation.  Their case was already sub judice. 

Mr Speaker, I shall stop here because what the Prime Minister as a leader had done or failed to do has amounted to a blatant interference in the judiciary.   This shows a kind of leadership we have served under.  One that does not stop at anything until it achieved its aims or its ends, a leadership that pursued its aims, regardless of whether such aims are legal or not. 

Before I actually stop, Mr Speaker, I want to mention here that this habitual interference into the work of judiciary on the part of the Prime Minister knows no boundary or national limits.  Last week, Mr Speaker, we heard the Prime Minister again interfered into the work of the judiciary.  This time it was interference in the Papua New Guinea judiciary. 

Mr Speaker, last month again, the Prime Minister interfered into the work of the Police and the Courts in Papua New Guinea.  This happened when he requested the PNG Prime Minister to intervene on his behalf.  This was to save the neck of his Attorney General, his friend that he has personally selected.  No wonder he was flown into our country in breach of all the laws of this land. 

Mr Speaker, this is the Attorney General designate who was alleged to have given a private scholarship to a child of the former Chief Justice.  It was also alleged that, in turn, the former Chief Justice awarded this Attorney General designate with a QC status.  Mr Speaker, this is common knowledge amongst our people.  No wonder we are promoting them to higher offices in our government. 

Sir, if there is a lesson we can learn from all these, it is the message that, as leaders of this country, we must respect the sanctity of the ‘separation of powers’ that had served us well for so long.  We must ensure our judiciary’s independence remain unfettered or intact.  As ‘first among equals’, this is a lesson our Prime Minister should have heeded.  Unfortunately, this Prime Minister assumes he is above reproof. 

 

ABSENCE OF GOOD GOVERNANCE

Mr Speaker, the fourth reason for this motion is the absence of good governance.  In terms of good governance this is what the Prime Minister is good at professing with his Minister of Public Service, but extremely poor putting it into practice.  He has failed to model this nation and the people of Solomon Islands.  Good governance is not only government according to the Rule of Law, but in everyday language it is the government according to set procedures lay down and sanctioned through years of practice.  These procedures should be followed until and unless they are changed.  But while they are in place, it is incumbent, on us, especially leaders to follow them.  Many of these procedures and practices are derived from the laws of this law. 

Mr Speaker, the Prime Minister defies and infracts these procedures and practices at will.  Good governance means that if people are gainfully employed, you should not sack them unless they break the law of the land.  If they do, they have to be dealt with according to set administrative procedures. 

Allow me, Sir, to remind us that in Solomon Islands, terminating the employment of people should not be taken lightly.  The wage or salary of a person who is employed is not only for himself or herself rather employment blesses more than just the people who work.  People are employed for themselves and their immediate families.  They are employed to assist their relatives and friends.  They are employed to help their in-laws, and even the relatives of their in-laws.  They are employed to assist with relatives who die and whose wantoks need assistance in one form or another.  In other words, employment in Solomon Islands is different from employment in Australia, New Zealand UK or the United States or any other Western countries.  We have horizontal employment in Solomon Islands.  These countries that I have just mentioned have vertical employment.  In contemporary Solomon Islands, Mr Speaker, giving employment to people involves giving sources of livelihood to them.  It is serious.  It is a good thing.  We should respect that.

Mr Speaker, this is what the Prime Minister has failed to do.  When he came into power, there were procedures in place to employ the Permanent Secretaries.  There were more than 80 applicants.  The Public Service and the Public Service Commission were going to process the application and set dates for the interviews and make the selection.  In the meanwhile, the Prime Minister was abroad.  When he returned, he scraped the whole process and put in his own candidates as permanent secretaries.  That was why we were questioning the process of the selection of Permanent Secretaries.  He ignored the whole process that was already in place, the conventional practice of appointments and selection of Permanent Secretaries as provided for under law.  He had inadvertently caused so many heartaches for those who have worked so hard organizing and submitting their applications. 

There is more, Mr Speaker, but I would like to end this part with the much publicized case of the sacked Attorney General.  Mr Speaker, just because we do not like a person, just because we do not like his forthrightness, just because he or she sticks to the Rule of Law against our miscued political aspirations, just because he takes on his role as Attorney General as well as representative of the crown where public interest is at stake, that is no reason to sack such a person.  The former Attorney General was a well educated and a very experienced lawyer.  His post is a constitutionally mandated post.  He has been doing the job for more than ten years, under four different administrations.  Mr Speaker, for the Prime Minister, these were not enough.  In the end he knows for himself that he cannot please his own self.  That is sad Mr Speaker.  

Just because he did not like the former Attorney General he sacked him.  Mr Speaker, we do not have to like everyone. We should not dislike anyone, for that matter.  Mr Speaker, we should sack people because we believe we can get legal advice from other people, outside the country, or other private lawyers whom we have vested interest in who are not accountable to us. 

No, Mr Speaker, good governance means following the rule of law.  Good governance means complying with set procedures.  Good governance means making sure people are employed in a legally sanctioned fashion.  And when they are terminated, good governance demands that this must be done procedurally. 

This is good governance, Mr Speaker.  Not because you happen to be the Prime Minister.  No, Mr Speaker.  Rather it is because you follow the rule of law.  It is because you follow procedures so that the work of this nation moves on.  And having done all these, you would prove yourself a worthy leader because in the end the country is served. 

On that score, Mr Speaker, the Prime Minister has failed us miserably. 

CORRUPTION

The fifth reason, Mr Speaker, is corruption is now beginning to brew in the administration.  Mr Speaker, this is a Prime Minister who comes into power on the promise that he would, once and for all, eradicate corruption in this country.  This is inserted under their “Ethical Leadership” policy agenda.  This Prime Minister has made us so hopeful when he said he would want to see things put right. 

Mr Speaker, he then went further.  When the Prime Minister came into power he even promised that he would put an end to what he had alleged as Taiwan’s “Check Book Diplomacy”.  This was his claim, Mr Speaker. 

Mr Speaker, what has come out of all these promises?  Not much.  Instead we have seen that he had recanted and reneged all these promises.   Was he merely making these promises in order to garner support to get into power, may I ask Mr Speaker?  We shall leave the public to be the judge of this proposition. 

Mr Speaker, if corruption is a priority, we have yet to see the anti-corruption bill introduced in Parliament.  Even the Taiwan’s “check book diplomacy” that he had detested had transformed into something else.  Instead, we have seen that the Taiwanese Government had given him a red carpet welcome when he recently visited Taipei. 

In the last week or so, Mr Speaker, Taiwanese doctors have visited us to assist with the sick, the blind, the diabetic, and those who have serious lifestyle diseases.  We appreciate that very much.  However, Mr Speaker in other words, as leaders let us not say things that we will later regret.  This is not befitting of leaders.  Leaders should say things that build their people, their words would bring more friends to the country, and leaders should discuss issues that would raise our confidence and allow us to work towards a brighter future. 

Mr Speaker, the Prime Minister seems to enjoy doing just the opposite.  Instead of arresting the issue of corruption, he seemed to have thrived on it.  Allow me, Mr Speaker, to enumerate a few examples.  As I have said where is good governance in all these?  He has hand-picked all his Permanent Secretaries, he has hand-picked the Commissioner of Forest, he has hand-picked the Commissioner of Lands, he has hand-picked the Security Services overseeing premises like the Prime Minister’s Office, the Department of Finance, the  Department of Infrastructure and others.  He has hand-picked the very controversial Attorney General. 

Fortunately for this country, Mr Speaker, for the last case, we still have a strong Legal and Judicial Commission that believes in doing the right thing. 

Mr Speaker, for all these appointments, “Why has the Prime Minister not followed right procedures even if he had earmarked his candidates for these posts?”  

This is not all, Mr Speaker.  There are others.  For a person to dubs himself, an anticorruption champion, this is just amazing.  All these, involved huge payments of our tax payers’ monies.  

I take here the example that was questioned this morning as well on the awarding of contract to a supplier in Honiara who provides new brand vehicles to the government, “Why was there no public tender, may I ask?  

I have information from the Public Tender Office in the Department of Finance that there was no tender put.  That is why I asked earlier on during the supplementary budget for the government to produce the notice of the tender to Members of Parliament.  Why did we hand-picked the supplier to provide those vehicles at $3.8million as stated by the Minister of Infrastructure.  Why?  I am asking, where is good governance.  We awarded it to a supplier who housed us during the election of the Prime Minister in April.  That is the case, Mr Speaker.  Where is good governance in all these?  Where is transparency, accountability?  I have no records of public tender for these vehicles.  May be out of this $3.8million there are commissions, there are kick backs - a term normally used in such deals - kick backs.  The government must come out very clear on this.  That is why I said that there is corruption brewing in the new administration now. 

In terms of the Social Security Company employed at the Prime Minister’s Office, Finance and other government properties, why was there no public tender?  There are dozens of Solomon Islanders involved in security companies.  Why don’t we give them money for the opportunity?  They are Solomon Islanders.  Why hand-pick?  Is this not corruption?  The contractor that was terminated earlier this year when the new government came in, is now suing the government for breach to its contract. 

Mr Speaker, is this not corruption?  Why is it not tendered out so that other Solomon Islanders can bid for it?  That is accountability, transparency and good governance.  Sir, we must put these things right before corruption becomes an overwhelming disease in the government. 

No, Mr Speaker, as I have said this is a Prime Minister who says one thing and does just the opposite.  The securities that are now providing security, I am told were the ones providing security at the Iron Bottom Sound during the election of the Prime Minister.  It is public knowledge.  Are we giving job for the boys because they supported us in taking the power of this nation?  Isn’t that corruption Mr Speaker, may I ask? 

 

HONIARA RIOT OR THE ETHNIC TENSION

Mr Speaker, the sixth reason for moving this motion is the Honiara riots and the ethnical tension.  When the Prime Minister announced that he would institute a commission of inquiry into the April riots, some of us were pleasantly taken by surprise.  We were asking, “What was so special about the April riots?”  Is there anything special about the April riots than other similar cases?  If there is a commission of inquiry into the April riots, why don’t we have a commission of inquiry for the whole of the ethnic tension?  Surely the April riot should have seen as a mere derivation or an aftermath of the whole ethnic tension.  But the urgency of the commission of inquiry into the April riot was for a different reason altogether.  Mr Speaker, it was so different from what ordinary Solomon Islanders would have thought. 

Mr Speaker, when the leaked secret document was read, the whole impetus behind the April riots was revealed.  The Prime Minister was so keen to have a commission inquiry because there are hidden motives of this commission of inquiry.  

Mr Speaker, allow me to say this here.  We do not have to instigate a riot or riots in order to measure the magnitude and the gravity of our peoples’ state of mind or their level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction.  If we do, we will merely indulge in mayhem, and in the end destroy ourselves.  Mr Speaker, that is not the way to run a country. 

Mr Speaker, that is why history and experience have shown that the Rule of Law must function.  If there is dissatisfaction, there are channels that people can use to vent their anger, their satisfaction or grief.  These channels are not perfect.  Far from it, but they work.  They work if we leaders make them work.  They will work if we refrain from committing crimes for the sake of gaining power.  It will work if we make sure that the system we received from Europe and Britain, works.  It will work if we develop on what we have and then improve and enhance on the institutions and resources in the country. 

Finally, Mr Speaker, it would work if Members of Parliament cease to think they know all, listen to the ordinary people and then work with their technical people, devise policies that will in the end give life to all of our people in the country.  These people include those who are born Solomon Islanders and those who come to live with us. 

Sir, no one, and the Prime Minister is no exception, should use this country, its institutions, its people as fodder for the power-play he/she wants to indulge in.  Mr Speaker, Solomon Islands, this country will forever remain.  We, by our very nature, will come and go.  We will go.  Therefore, we should leave this country in a better position than when we found it.  No one has the right to destroy it for the mere sake of gaining power.  On that very score, Mr Speaker, our present Prime Minister has failed us miserably. 

In conclusion, Mr Speaker, allow me to thank you all our good people of Solomon Islands for listening.  As I have said, this is a parliamentary democracy at work.  We must not fear to remove someone from any position of power if he abuses that power.  And, should we wish to remove him or her, let us follow the constitutionally mandated procedures. 

Today, people of Solomon Islands, in moving this motion of no confidence, I as the Leader of the Opposition group has followed established procedures as mandated by our constitution, the supreme law of our country.  We are doing the right thing. 

Mr Speaker, I therefore call on every Solomon Islander to respect the supreme law of this land.  If we finally manage to oust the Prime Minister, do not be afraid.  We will have more than enough leaders to take his place.  We will have another Prime Minister, even within the same coalition partner.  But this is not our concern today.  Our challenge today is to support this vote of no confidence to change the leadership of the government. 

Mr Speaker, I once again move that the National Parliament of Solomon Islands hereby resolves it has no confidence in the Prime Minister.  May God Bless Solomon Islands, Mr Speaker, I beg to move. 

 

(Debate on the motion commences)

 

Mr KEMAKEZA:  Mr Speaker, I too would like to contribute on this motion moved by the Leader of Opposition, my good friend against my good friend the Prime Minister.  In doing so, Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the understanding of the family of the Prime Minister, his people in his Constituency of East Choiseul, the Choiseul Province and the country.  I thank them for their understanding, tolerance and patience.  I too, in the past, came across no confidence motions.  In fact, the present Prime Minister is just facing a motion of no confidence, but I faced four motions of no confidence.  I thank my own family for their understanding during those situations.  I also thank the Leader of Opposition, and everybody for respecting the law of the land, and therefore I would like to thank the very close family of my friend. 

            In fact, the present Prime Minister when I was minister of housing and government services was my Commissioner of Income Tax.  He served under my leadership as his minister.  When he was prime minister in 2000, I was also his deputy prime minister and we did quite a lot of things for this nation.  We were successful in negotiating the ceasefire because I was instrumental as his peace minister, which led to the signing of the Ceasefire Agreement, the Townsville Peace Agreement and the Marau Peace Agreement.  So I have every respect for the current Prime Minister. 

            Mr Speaker, but when you look back at the records of this country’s succeeding prime ministers, including yourself, Mr Speaker, when people are caught up in some kind of problems, they have to make decisions in that instance.  You also faced such a consequence, Mr Speaker, along with the late Member for West Makira, now the Member for Parliament for Ranogga/Simbo, the now MP for Aoke/Langa Langa, the Minister of Finance and many others, including myself. 

This type of motion is not new to those of us who have held the post of prime minister. 

            When this PM takes office again in April this year, I have every trust and confidence in him.  But as times goes on, some new developments were beginning to take place   which is giving me another thought about my brother, the Prime Minister. 

The composition of the present government comprised many parties coming together to form the Grand Coalition for Change.  When developments are starting to happen, especially the removal of the Parliamentary Wing Leader of the National Party by the Prime Minister and a leader of the National Democratic Party which signed the MOU the PM talked about yesterday (I did not attend yesterday’s afternoon meeting because I went home to attend to some family commitments, but on my way home someone told me) when the Leader of Liberal signed the MOU, I started to think something must be wrong.  It is starting to smell. 

I started to question if leaders are signing the memorandum, why then are my colleagues on the other side still think nothing is wrong.  That is why it changed my position now to contribute briefly on this motion.  I am not going to personalize things but only to say that something is wrong over there. 

Sir, some new developments started to surface.  When the Prime Minister mentioned yesterday that a Cabinet paper was leaked from the PM’s Office, it only shows that even officers in the PM’s Office also dislike his leadership.  Something must be wrong starting from the party leaders to the PM’s Office.  And when the petition by the public and other institutions was presented, it made think, am I that bad after all?  Something is wrong somewhere. 

Then comes the National Council of Women issue. Because I live at my home village I often don’t read the Solomon Star, one or two that reaches me I have the chance to read, but article by article about things the Prime Minister is doing.  I think PMs are very good to be blamed.  Sorry, my colleague.  But things like that made me change my mind. 

When I returned yesterday I heard there was a bomb thrown in this House by a plane.  I do not know where that plane came from.  Has anyone died, Mr Speaker?  Lucky I escaped, but a bomb was thrown over this House yesterday by none other than the Prime Minister in his Speech.  Nobody wants to contribute because there was a bomb thrown in this House and everyone died.  

Has anyone died or anyone wounded?  I only found one person that is wounded yesterday.  That person is none other than the Prime Minister.  He was wounded and because he was wounded yesterday I would respectably ask the Prime Minister to resign.  You resign.

Let the Leader of Opposition to line up whatever he thinks.  But there is one thing.  Aiding and abetting of a criminal is a criminal offence under the Penal Code.  I want the Director of Public Prosecution to …..

 

Hon Sogavare:   Point of Order.  That is a serious, serious allegation and is criminal in nature.  Unless he has evidence to prove, Mr Speaker that the Prime Minister is involved in that, it is a serious allegation.

 

Mr Kemakeza:  Thank you Mr Speaker. I cannot withdraw that.  The actions by my brother, the Prime Minister, are public knowledge. That alone.  If this motion is not passed today, the law will take its course.  So it is good for well respected leaders on the other side of the House to think otherwise.  I lose nothing and I gain nothing from this motion. 

There is a plane that came to throw a bomb yesterday.  I thank the PM for mentioning that when he moved the motion of sine die without him realizing that he is talking about himself.  He is talking about himself and he was wounded and because of that bomb I ask him to resign respectably.  No more no less, sooner or later.  Aiding and abetting is complete crime.  There is no evidence to look for.  Nothing! 

But for information purposes, yesterday whilst I was traveling from Honiara to Savo, I heard it, somebody on the way at sea told me that he mentioned the behavior of some senior politicians on this side of the House, and I am one of them he referred to.   

            Mr Speaker, I do not come into Parliament to tap the backs of other people.  If that is what I am here for then I better be a pastor, a priest or a bishop so that I have the courtesy of saying ‘good morning son’. 

I was elected to this floor of Parliament to come and speak on behalf of my people, to talk about their welfare and the good of this nation and people.  That is my job.  

When my colleague talked about the behaviors of Members of Parliament, Mr Speaker, I started to think back to what happened on 18th April 2006.  He was talking about the behavior of leaders and so I am starting to question him on this. 

He should not have appointed the commission of inquiry.  Do you know who caused the riot on 18th of April?  It was none other than the Prime Minister.  I will prove that.  Let me tell you that that was caused by a bad behavior of a leader.  Let me tell you why.  

When their group did elimination of who is going to be their candidate for the prime ministership at the Iron Bottom Sound, and he was eliminated and the now Deputy Prime Minister was their candidate, he ran away from them and went to Pacific Casino.  He then came across to the Honiara Hotel told the Member for Marovo (I was the mediator that time) that he wanted to be a candidate for the group at the Honiara Hotel. He was refused that suggestion.  When we held the election of the prime minister there were three candidates and he was also one of the candidates. The first person to be eliminated on the floor of Parliament was the Prime Minister now.  Did you know what happened?  On the second round of voting he swing over to the MP for Marovo, and that caused the riot.  If he had gone back to his original position by putting his vote on the now Deputy Prime Minister, nothing would have happened to this nation.  Who then is the culprit of all these, Mr Speaker?  It is none other than the Prime Minister now. 

What do you want to appoint the commission of inquiry for?  It is a waste of money and resources.  It is the Prime Minister who caused the April riot because he was the one who swings his vote differently.  He then was appointed the Minister of Commerce by the Rini Government.  But do you know what happened?   There was no resignation made to the Governor General, the same morning he walked across on this floor of Parliament.   What courtesy is that?   What sort of behavior by a leader? 

He should have resigned as a minister of the crown with due respect to that important position.  That is not what he did.  He walked across because the opposition then needs only two Members to take the government, he made the right decision by coming over and became the prime minister because they sold the post to him.  The birthright of the Deputy Prime Minister was taken over by somebody.  This, in custom is a curse.  It is a curse and so do not be surprised because the Prime Minister now is starting to make some ill-decisions, which perhaps the Leader of Opposition has already covered.  I was outside when this was motion was moved and so I did not hear what was said.  That is a behavior. 

The Leader of Opposition covered appointments, but something about appointments, as a senior citizen of the country, Mr Speaker, you have also made your opinion like many others as well that proper procedures have not been followed.   This is a cowboy style appointment. 

            Mr Speaker, there are many things he did I am listing down here.  The appointment of Ministers that are questioned by the law, the appointment of the AG questioned by the law, the appointment of the Chairman of the Commission of Inquiry also questioned by the law. These appointments were all done without going through proper processes, without getting due diligences from their home countries, as they are not citizens of this country.  It only needs a little bit of courtesy.  But there is no courtesy by this person.  Whatever he wants that is what he is going to get.  That sort of attitude and behavior raises suspicion to some of us.  Something must be there and that is why you insisted on this very much and went on to now commit an offence.  That is a curse. 

You terminate the Governor of the Central Bank from the Commission of Insurance, you deport the Australian High Commissioner, which again shows you have no respect to protocols and conventions.  One was what happened yesterday when another bomb came.  The Director of the Civil Aviation said that it is a breach of protocols and conventions of the Civil Aviation. 

We are talking about something, which we ourselves breach.  I don’t think the Minister of Communication and Civil Aviation did this.  He didn’t give the orders for this.  If he did he would be fired - sacked.  At whose directive is it?  Here the Prime Minister denied it.  Any of you Ministers?  Surely, if some Ministers had done it, the Prime Minister must decide on his future.  I do not think any Minister has done those actions.  This all boils down to the boss.  It is the boss who gave the directive.  That is why the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea and the Minister of Justice of PNG are saying that they were not aware of this.  Then at whose directive, Mr Speaker was it carried out?  This shows no respect of protocols, conventions and treaties. 

Mr Speaker, talking about courtesy, we must show a bit of courtesy by thanking people who come and help us either by cash or in kind, by words or by service. 

            Mr Speaker, we are recipients of aid and we will continue to be so because we are graded as a least developed country.  Even big countries in the world are still receiving assistance.  That is why the ACP comes about – The African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. 

When you talk about Africa countries, Mr Speaker, they are such big countries with a lot of resources.  Their budgets are not in the millions but in trillions, but still they need assistance.  For a country, like Solomon Islands, we are very small. 

Mr Speaker, when you were the DC on Malaita and I was a Police officer at that time, we used to drive from Auki to Malu’u and back before lunchtime.  The roads were very good during those times.  That was during the colonial times.  But when we take over our people are now using ships to go to Malu’u now and not by road.  Mr Speaker, we used to drive down to Lambi from Honiara and we came back before 12 noon.  Nowadays we cannot even get down to my place at Visale.  

These are sad state of affairs of this country and here we are saying, ‘we can do it’.  Our friends have the courtesy of helping us but why do we turn around and slap them on the face?   This is bad for the future of our country and people. 

What about our children who are now studying in Australia and New Zealand?   What about our students who are still being funded to study in universities and other overseas institutions by this donor?  What about our sick patients who are still receiving treatment in Australia?  

A bunch of politicians here cannot enter Australia now.  Even if you want to visit your children in Australia, you are not allowed.  You cannot go there.  It is coming.  Sooner or later they are going to do it.  They have done it to North Korea, I heard it yesterday.  No one from North Korea is allowed to enter Australia now.  No visa is to be issued to North Koreans.  That will very soon apply to citizens of Solomon Islands.  You bet me on this. 

Our sick people in the hospital here, what is going to happen to them?  The patients’ food is funded by money from this aid donor.  The behavior of one person is now causing multiple effects in the country. 

Mr Speaker, you know it yourself that once you were the Chairman of the MPC.  I appointed you because of your capability.  You are a statesman and the father of the nation.  Through the advice and the collective ideas of many leaders, we asked our friends to come and help us because we cannot help ourselves to restore law and order. 

I thank RAMSI and now we can interact with each other.  Our economy starts to pick up, law and order is restored and people can now travel freely.  We can now go and sleep in the bushes in Guadalcanal and Malaita.  On Savo Island, we can now sleep outside at night without any problem.  In the past we cannot do that.  Who is going to sell his life sleeping outside at that time when guns are around?   

The three years from 1998 to 2000, why didn’t we leaders in Solomon Islands do it?  When we talk to our sons, daughters and relatives, no one listened.  When RAMSI came in, our lives are restored to where they used to be in the past.  Now we are on the process of rebuilding our nation.  Build the road from Auki to Malu’u, build the south road, build the roads in east and west Guadalcanal, build the roads in Savo/Russells.  You build the roads before this subject you talk so much about – the bottom up approach, comes and lays down on top.  Then we can start to talk about the economy.  It is just simple mathematics that you do not need to go far to get the answer. 

Solomon Islands is a small country to lead with a small population.  But you are saying I am not going to back down on such people.  Please have some courtesy.  My concern is, what would the future hold if my brother continues to lead us?  I am starting to have questions.  He has already tarnished the image of Solomon Islands. 

We might say only Australia, but I tell you, Mr Speaker, that they are much better in wantok business than us.  The EU, British, New Zealand, Canada, and even the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are going to join in.  All these countries and institutions are going to meet in Canberra first before coming to see the Prime Minister.  They are going to have discussions there first before coming here.  Don’t tell me that they are not going to do it.  I know it because I was the Prime Minister for the last four years.

All assistances will come to a halt.  Not only that, but it will also affect the investment environment in this country. People will not come into invest because they would be concerned about the leadership.  They will hesitate to come into invest because they would be concerned otherwise Australia withdraws its taxpayers’ money and RAMSI withdraws from the country.  If that is the case, are we ready to pay for it?  Are we going to meet the bill, Mr Speaker? 

We might think these are small things, but they have big effects caused by the leadership of my best friend.  Is that the future?  

Stop talking about the bottom up approach.  Stop talking about it.  For the 50 constituencies that you want money to go through, where are the 50 substations?  Where are the houses for public officers who are going to work in the 50 constituencies?  Where are the roads, the bridges, the wharves, the telephones, the electricity, the water, the ships, the airfields that are needed in order for work to start?  Where are you going to get these?  I tell you these people work in syndicates.  They are going to wait until the next election in 2010.  So who is going to suffer?  Our people.  And if they suffer, please I beg us, the 50 Members not to go for re-election.  No, only I will contest the 2010 election and not every one of you.

What have you done as a Member of Parliament during the four years?  Mind you, Mr Speaker, that 80% of the Development Budget is funded by our development partners.  The Solomon Islands Government only funded the recurrent budget but also a certain percentage of the recurrent budget is also funded by donors.  For example, rations for prisoners, rations for sick patients, grants to schools.  Don’t think that we pay for those services?  Stop telling me that.  Those are the effects I am afraid of, which made me to start consider the leadership of the boss, my best friend. 

I have no personal grudges against him.  No, not at all.  I do not want to be a minister too because I used to be your deputy last time and I shall be the deputy speaker for the next four years.  The Prime Minister just comes and goes and you will never sack me.  I lose nothing and gain nothing out of this motion. 

What I am concern about are the people of this country, their affairs, their future, our children, our sick people, the education of our children, my roads, my airfields, my wharf, my clinic and my school.  Those are the things I am concerned about because we cannot fund them internally from our own budget.  No, we cannot.   

We, the 50 Members of Parliament, how are we going to go about this?   This is quite serious.  The common words of the PM are ‘very serious’, and ‘underlying principles’. 

Mr Speaker, those are the reasons why I am going to support this motion.  There is nothing personal.  As I said, during my time, a motion of no confidence was moved against me only after three months I was in office.  Just after three months.  Do you know why?  I was blamed as incapable of controlling law and order in this country.  No!  That is why I tried my best and RAMSI came into Solomon Islands and law and order is back to normal.  But now the leadership of the present Prime Minister is going to repeat what happened in 2000 to 2002.  This is the second time I say this, and it will happen.  Last time it was guns but now it is going to be money. 

            Finally, Mr Speaker, those of you on that side, just support the motion and put one of you in that place and you go ahead.  Are you still honeymooning?  I am saying this because of new cars, new houses, new conditions, you party and relax.  It is almost nine months but you have done nothing yet.  I shall bring that up in the sine die motion today. 

Sir, even if this motion is not passed, it will happen.  And if for a good reason he resigns because aiding and abetting a criminal is a criminal offence.  I will ask the authorities to look into that.  I want to tell you that even though you are a prime minister, a Governor General, a Minister or whatever, if anyone of us commits an offence, we are the same - nobody is above the law.  We will all face the law. 

Do you think bringing in a new Attorney General will make things better?  Not, at all.  Let me tell you that I checked for that particular provision last night.  It is a wishful dream.  The Attorney General has no power, he can only recommend.  It is the Minister of Police who has the power, like he has released two prisoners already.  But it is dangerous to apply that because some of my brothers and sisters in the prison murdered people and if they are released what would happen to the relatives of the victims.  Even though there are no guns but they are going to kill that person.  Let us not look at this one sided and forget the other side of the coin.  As I said I have no personal confidence in him because of the sequence the events happening and the future of the country.

With that, I support the motion.

 

Mr GUKUNA:  Mr Speaker, today those of us on this side of the House are stretching our hands in the most peaceful manner to terminate a government that has a compelling passion of confrontation determined by self fear and hypocrisy. 

            In doing this, Mr Speaker, we are bringing a government to account for its arrogance and unilateral decisions it has taken, and to ask why it has seen fit to use the entire powers available to it to bypass our institutional laws yet unmoved by wider public concerns. 

            Mr Speaker, these, we did against fears of possible violence in here in Honiara. We did this in the face of threats and intimidations and significant increases in the policing of our streets and around this Parliament building. We nevertheless move this motion of no confidence on behalf of the majority in this nation that had hoped for a true government that is more compassionate, more appreciative and is more embracing. 

Sir, what we have instead is a government with a mission to appease, and we must be frank to appease former militants and protect prosecutable leaders, if we can call them that.  The result is that this government, has since come into office spend its entire energy pursuing an agenda that is dictated by former militants and their dubious leaders, and the only way of pushing this agenda is to dictate Cabinet and our institutions that they could not care less. 

            After the violence in April 2006, Mr Speaker, we expect the Government to do a lot of things.  There are a lot of things that it could do but instead the Government has gone down the road, in particularly its leadership, that they could not care less.  It embarked on the agenda that is entirely intimidating to friends.

            Mr Speaker, the only thing that has provided this country the opportunity to get back to its knees, has been RAMSI.  I said in this House before that the best thing that has ever happened in this country over the last few years is RAMSI.   That is the truth.  Equally true, Mr Speaker, RAMSI has created a lot of pain for the minority who happened to possess arms in this country. 

I know too, Mr Speaker, that RAMSI is dominated by Australia.  It is very easy for me as a political leader of this country to stand up and beat my chest and join the government to accuse them of all sorts of things.  Colonialism, bullying, and what you may call them.  But I also know, Mr Speaker, that Australia has put their fathers and their mothers and their children on the line to give this ugly country one more chance to get back to its feet. 

Mr Speaker, the cost of RAMSI, the entire bill of giving us a chance is paid for by hardworking Australians who have nothing to do with the mess that you, as a long time politician in this country, helped to create.  I don’t care if they take back some of the money, it is their money anyway.  But I am quite happy with the peace they paid.   

Sir, this is humanity at its best for us.  After all we are all human beings.  But some of us saw no humanity in all these Mr Speaker.  We came into this Parliament, take government and look for a fight. 

Mr Speaker, if you look at the behaviour of the government over the last few months, you would realize that the only thing that has been pre-determined is the intention to confront Australia.  Mr Speaker, we, and the majority of this country see your intention as a direct challenge on RAMSI.  But this country cannot afford to do this, and if this is your intention we will not allow you to continue.

            Mr Speaker, if you are serious about sovereignty, allow me to remind you that sending in 10, 20, 30 or 200 soldiers into this country amounts to the same interference in our sovereignty. 

            Mr Speaker, how can we even talk about sovereign when we are employing foreigners to key positions in the government?  Mr Speaker, you take their soldiers away and RAMSI will not collapse.  You take 200 soldiers and that is the end of RAMSI in this country.  Also Mr Speaker, you take the funding out and the whole RAMSI thing is collapsed.  Our jails will swing open.  The former militants and their leaders will roam our streets.  That will be the end of peace that has been given to us. 

            Mr Speaker, for your information, if you do not know this yet, Australia provides most of the funding to personnel of RAMSI.  

Mr Speaker, I stress again that this is not the time to talk about sovereignty and RAMSI must not be intimidated.  It is time to rebuild, it is time to showcase this country and tell the world what we have been able to achieve as a post-conflict country, and most importantly it is time to provide the proper signals to those who may be interested in investing in this country. 

            Mr Speaker, I advise this government that this is not the time to adopt a foreign policy of selective engagement.  We need as much friends as we can get.  So let us make enemy to none.

            Mr Speaker, it is clear that this government and its leadership have been giving hope to former militants, and their leaders.  Sir, with this motion, we intend to simply disrupt a system of leadership that has been supporting an infrastructure that seeks to destroy delicate peace in this country in order to bring our people back to their knees.  That is all we simply want to do here. 

            Mr Speaker, the majority of this country is hoping for a positive result today.  They will accept the outcome of these proceedings whatever in the most and in the only way they know, and that is peace. On the other hand, Mr Speaker, the minority and their supporters who stand to lose from all these, together with the anti-Australians in this House, this country is not theirs to mess around with.  It belongs to every one of us.  But still, Mr Speaker, I will look at you straight in the eye and tell you that when RAMSI is out, when this peace is taken away from this country given graciously to us by our friends, our people will not go down alone. 

Make no mistake, Mr Speaker, that you, who agree with this motion but could not support it for fear of losing your ministerial benefits or fear of losing your chairmanship benefits, will go down with us and it would be too late for you to serve the people you are supposed to serve in this Honorable House. 

            Mr Speaker, that is my short contribution and I support the motion.

 

Hon TOSIKA:  Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me the floor of Parliament to contribute to this motion of no confidence on the Prime Minister. 

            Mr Speaker, as new a Member of Parliament for West Honiara Constituency, I heard a lot of finger pointing in this Parliament now and even in previous terms of Parliament.  I thought elected MPs should be mature in mind, in actions and in words, but some of them, who are in this Parliament, cannot progress further.  They almost indulge themselves in petty politics, which does not help this nation. 

Sir, we, as leaders should stand firm for the betterment of our people and nation.  I am quite sad indeed on this occasion that our government has only been in office for five months and then a motion of no confidence was placed on the government.  I, as a new Member of Parliament, I am not here for money – I am not enticed by money. 

When I contested the election I stood by my own, nobody supported me.  Some people came to me and asked me to join their party but I refused.  When I won the election people came to my house and asked me to join this party or this group.  I told them that I have seen them from top to bottom, from the tip of the hair to the tip of the toes, and I made my stand. 

Today, even if everybody on this side joins the Opposition, I will still stand with the Prime Minister.  Why follow a straight road and when there is a deviation or detour you disagree with the detour for the right and sovereignty of this nation.

            Mr Speaker, to say “you are like the leader in Iraq” is not a good word to use in this Parliament.  The standoff between Australia and Solomon Islands is covered well under the Vienna Convention.  The Government has fulfilled all the requirements in that convention.  If somebody steps on your shoe, will you allow him to wear your shoe as well?  No! 

The word ‘criminal’ being used in this Parliament is not substantiated.  Donors use the term ‘failed state’ for our country to get money from other sources so that when money comes through, they dish it out and get it back to their own country.  They use failed state so that they can make proposals to get money to support themselves.  They continue to use Solomon Islands as a failed state to support them. 

Will you continue to say that Solomon Islands is a failed state when people are not hungry.  We are not beggars in this country.  We have no beggars.  We have plenty of food to eat.  We can dive in the sea and get fish.  We can eat fish just like a millionaire in other places. 

Sir, I do not quite agree with this word ‘failed state”.   Solomon Islands is not a failed state.  Most MPs have used three to four times the rural constituency fund, as well as this millennium fund, if these are properly given to our people, there will not be any need for other money to go down to the rural sector.  There will not be any need for other money to go down to the rural sector, because those funds rightfully belong to the people.  

The rural constituency development fund, you have to start small, from the top of the tree and you go down to the bottom.  You have to start from a small seed which will then grow to a big tree and will bear more fruit.  I have done it. 

 

            Mr Speaker, I think it is not the Prime Minister himself who made decisions.  But it is the concerted decision of Cabinet and Caucus on issues that were highlighted on the floor of this Chamber.  To merely finger point the Prime Minister and asking him to resign without any good reasons, is not in the best interest of this side. 

            Mr Speaker, before I resume my seat, I want to respond to the release of prisoners made under my power, which one of the speakers has alluded to.  I was not influenced by anybody.  I made the decision based on a submission made by the lawyers of the prisoners.  I must make this very clear.  I am not here only for the Police and Prison Services but I am here for the prisoners as well. 

Do you want a prisoner to die in prison before you release him in a coffin?  When a prisoner cannot go to the toilet or to the bathroom himself but needs the help of someone to get him there means something is wrong.  Do you want him to die and be inside a coffin before you take him outside?  It is inhumane for us to do that. 

I as the Minister responsible based on that fact released this lifetime prisoner.  I have power to consult with the Chief Justice to release a lifetime prisoner.  I did that for the good of the family and for the prisoner as well. 

That was the first time ever a Minister did it.  And when I did it, it was the first time and so everybody saw it as signaling something.  Why didn’t you do it?  The law is under your ambit.  Why can’t you do it to save a prisoner?  Two or three prisoners have died in prison and there was no compensation.  They were just taken back to their homes. 

Some have been in prison for 21 to 30 years.  As far as the prison report is concerned a lifetime prisoner can be released after serving 9 years or 13years or 17 years.  Why are these people imprisoned for more than 21 or 30 years?  Why are they sick but just kept in prison?  

            Mr Speaker, with that simple reason, I release this man.  And I have a genuine mind and heart for doing it.  I am not doing it because the Prime Minister says so nor am I doing it because other people influenced me.  I did it based on my conscience. 

I have already told you that even if all of you on this side, on the government side goes to the Opposition side, you can go, but as for me I will not because I stand on my principle.  I don’t need money to make my decision.  My decision is with me and I stand by that principle and live by that principle. 

With those few words, Mr Speaker, I oppose the motion.

 

Hon SOLAOI:  Mr Speaker, I rise to contribute to the motion of no confidence on behalf of my colleagues from the eastern block - that is Makira and Temotu Provinces. 

I also would like to thank the Opposition Leader for the motion.  I would like to thank him for any good intentions for moving this motion, Mr Speaker. 

Firstly, let me say there is nothing new in the motion moved today by the Leader of Opposition.  Everything he mentioned was already mentioned in the media.  Two speakers from the Opposition side who have already contributed also mentioned everything that people have read in the media and so there is no need for us to keep repeating them in this House.  I think it would be more appropriate for them to work in the media too. 

Mr Speaker, I will be brief and to comment on some of the areas highlighted in the motion and I will resume my seat. 

Firstly, on the issue in regards to the former Attorney General, I would like to support my other colleagues in saying that the decision was made, because people have been confused by Members of Parliament that it is a decision made by the Prime Minister alone.  I would like to say here that that is a Cabinet decision.  And so it is not a valid point to make in the motion. 

Mr Speaker, commonsense will also tell us that any person holding the post of Attorney General has to be somebody the Government has confidence and trust in because he is a person who sits down and listens to all proceedings in Cabinet. 

Mr Speaker, Ministers can only be drawn together and feel secure to contribute in Cabinet if they know that nobody is going to release the proceedings taking place inside Cabinet.

We know, Mr Speaker, that members of the public are only entitled to Cabinet Conclusions, and no more no less.  We, Cabinet Ministers including the AG, take oath to protect the proceedings in Cabinet. 

I would like to say here that the decision taken to replace the AG is genuine.  Every Solomon Islander needs to know that you cannot appoint someone who sits in Cabinet today and tomorrow releases everything happening inside Cabinet to the public. 

Mr Speaker, I do not accept the government being labeled as corrupt against because as you know, Mr Speaker, most of us are new Members of Parliament.  I would like to ask the Opposition Leader to apologize to the new Members for saying that.

I say this because we talk so much about the past in this honorable House.  In fact, if we continue to look at the past when we are at the present, looking at the way we are going Mr Speaker, we have actually lost the future. 

Do not think your spirit lives in the past, the body in the present and then trying to look into the future.  If that is how we are going forward as leaders of this nation, we are simply telling our people that they do not have a future as far as our leaders are concerned.  We cannot continue to dwell on the past only to realize there is no future ahead. 

Mr Speaker, I would like to say that we need leaders who have vision and who have the courage to make decisions of any degree, because we have been mandated by our people to make these decisions on their behalf. 

Mr Speaker, I am also sad to hear a week ago, the call by the Opposition for calm in Honiara in the lead up to the motion and during the motion.  Mr Speaker, I see no reason for a call for calm in the midst of calmness. 

I see this kind of call, Mr Speaker, inciting in some sense.  As mature leaders we should be careful of statements we are making in this House.  I don’t know whether I feel free walking about in public if people hate me, but I seem to be enjoying being part of the public in Honiara. 

I don’t see any tension in Honiara, Mr Speaker, and that is why I said that those calls for calm are inciting and there is no sense in calling for calmness in the midst of calmness in the city of Honiara. 

I also did not accept this motion being deferred until today.  I think the public knows that last Friday Members of Parliament were paid sitting allowances worth $200 but we did nothing on that day because the motion, the only item on the Order Paper on Friday was deferred.  Therefore, I did not accept the fact it was deferred until today.  I would like to ask all Members of Parliament to refund that $200 to the government.  Mr Speaker, it might sound funny, but this is serious.  Small it might be, the $200 is public money. 

Mr Speaker let me say this is a new government and must be given time and support in order for it to deliver to people of Solomon Islands, the majority of whom are living in the rural areas. 

Mr Speaker, the level of the standard of living of our rural population today or the people of Solomon Islands is a reflection of past regimes, is a reflection of the types of leadership, policies and development strategies that have been employed by past regimes.  We are here to continue from there and this government has plans, it has policies and development strategies that are sensitive to the different development needs of this nation.   

I find it hard to believe that there are leaders here who cannot distinguish, who cannot draw lines between diplomacy, bilateral relations and personalities.  I as a Member of Parliament do understand after being with fellow Health Ministers recently, is free of politics.  Health has no boundaries and for me to hear in this honorable House some Members saying, ‘do you think that man will not touch the bilateral relation’, I can say that he is only a human being too.

If a leader cannot distinguish between the lines, Mr Speaker, then we have a serious problem with our leadership and with us as Members of Parliament in the current House.  I am not saying that I am one of the best MPs in this House, but I am saying there are leaders in this House who cannot draw between the lines. 

If we are saying this is an easy thing to do, I do not understand why it is hard for us to understand simple things that come through this House during this Sitting.  Some of the bills we have debated, I thought are just simple, but people twisted it making us to just waste Parliament’s time and make it look complicated.  People outside listening in to us will question whether we are still all right or not.  

As I have said, Mr Speaker, as a new Member, I am surprised to see the style and way our senior colleagues talk inside this chamber. 

Mr Speaker, what kind of corruption are you leveling at us?  When you say that the approach of the current government is not new, it only belongs to you, and the Speech from the Throne is a speech of what the past government has done, I would like to say that this is a government that is creating the linkage for us to build on what has been started already. 

The style and characteristic of leaders is to come in and create new things altogether and start all over again.  Mr Speaker, we come in and destroy what has been established and we create new ones and another one comes in and destroys and builds another one. 

This new government, the Grand Coalition for Change is advocating a change in approach and we want to build on from what is good that has been started already.

It is surprising to me to see some Members not appreciating the fact that we have an opportunity to build on further from here. 

Having said that, Mr Speaker, we leaders must not confuse our people.  Listening to some debates in this House, the bottom up approach of this new government seems to be irritating to some Members of Parliament.  What is wrong with the bottom up approach? 

I believe this approach is the only way we can give our rural people the power to be able to purchase things they cannot grow in the gardens.   

I find it hard to understand the MP for East Are Are saying, ‘can you explain the bottom up approach’?  Goodness me, children in primary schools understand what a bottom up approach means. 

Mr Speaker, some of the things I am saying might be funny but they are serious issues that we leaders need to carefully address.  Some of the things we say in here might make us look like hypocrites. 

I appreciate the fact that you have the liberty to control us in here, but if I can be allowed to continue, Mr Speaker. 

As somebody who comes from the rural area, it is only this year that I come to town when I won as a MP in my constituency.  I know my people have trust and confidence in me and they have mandated me to make decisions on their behalf.  

I think this is a change or a shift in a new direction which looks promising for this country.  I hope if I can learn from my senior colleagues here, in the new future I can make a good politician. 

Mr Speaker, having said that, we need to develop to become a statesman rather than a politician all our lives.  I say this because politicians merely fight for the next election, forgetting the next generation. 

Mr Speaker, I do not want to respond to some of the things mentioned by the mover of the motion as they are public knowledge and I don’t want to repeat them here.  But I just want to contribute on behalf of my other colleagues from the Eastern side of the country just to re-emphasize here that our solidarity and support for this government is based on our belief in the policies and development strategies this government is advocating.  

We are also surprised too when our Prime Minister was treated as a criminal.  Some of you are saying to us that we too are like criminals because our boss is like a criminal.  

I find it hard, Mr Speaker, to understand that it was our academics who are saying those things confusing our illiterate population, the uneducated people but they seem to understand much better the simple things that we leaders fail to understand in this honorable chamber. 

Another issue I would like to mention is in regards to the Attorney General, which every day up until yesterday some people are still asking me about it.  Mr Speaker, let me say that some of the things that have been happening and only the government was targeted and attacked in media and anywhere in the streets, looking at it, Mr Speaker, it is a direct misconduct and abuse of office.  I believe the Leadership Code Commission is aware of what I am saying.

I understand that as a lawyer an AG cannot represent any other client except the government.  When I explain this to some of our people in the streets they understand me, but I find it very hard to believe that this argument about the AG is still continuing in this chamber. 

Mr Speaker, let me say, on behalf of my people, that we fully understand what is going on and we support the current Grand Coalition for Change Government.  We are optimistic that the current approach taken by this new government is the answer to improving the livelihoods of our people living in the rural areas.

Some Members of Parliament are saying that this is a ‘check and balance’ mechanism, but it looks like it is uncivilized politics.  We cannot continue to go by precedence.  The truth is that if there is something terribly wrong with the government, our people will also see it and there is no need for it to come from us.

Without going any further otherwise I might confuse those who are easily confused, I would like to conclude by saying that I fail to see any genuineness and means of check and balance in this motion of no confidence Mr Speaker, and therefore I oppose the motion. 

 

Sitting suspended for lunch break

 

Sitting resumes at 1.30 pm

 

Hon BOSETO:  Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity.  I will be brief and give some thoughts.  I know that we are facing so many problems that need addressing.  

My contribution will be just to share a few thoughts, which I believe is not only to gain votes, I don’t yes or no, but to try to see the situation even if it is a worse situation from the political ways or from religious or from judicial.  Perhaps this is a situation that will help us see our future.  I believe God always does the best out of the worst.  We therefore should not try to confine ourselves very much to blame or accuse our leader.  I believe that we are all leaders and we can be accused and blame either under the laws of the land or the laws of God because He is the last judge of heaven and earth. 

Mr Speaker, last night I spent a little bit of time in my devotion and meditation and reflecting on what I have been doing in Australia.  It is good to spend sometime to look at the will of God as the source of creation. 

Sir, first of all I thank the mover of the motion, my friend and brother, the Leader of Opposition.  I checked a number of things that he said were not only addressed to the leader of Grand Coalition Government but to all of us on the government side too. 

First of all, I would like to read the preamble of the National Constitution because it is trying to look holistically at a vision.  Sir, I am very happy that you were the Chief Minister at that time who led the political groupings and you are the foundation of the constitution that went to England.  

Sir, I take this preamble as embracing the wisdom and the culture of our people under the guiding hand of God.  Therefore, I am going to speak very briefly on how I see this in this messianic age.  We are now in the messianic age, I am going to emphasize that and this is God’s time too.  If we are not careful we will come back again within the next four years perhaps or even next year we come back and whether the Opposition will remain there and we will repeat ourselves once again, we are going around in circles.  But God always points to the future and takes a positive move. 

The preamble says, “We, the people of Solomon Islands, proud of the wisdom and worthy custom of our ancestors, mindful of our common and diverse heritage (that is diversity) and conscious of our common destiny, do now under the guiding hand of God establish the sovereign democratic state of Solomon Islands”. 

Mr Speaker, I been looking at the world in struggling.  The world is struggling and looking for ways and also this world continues to be, some people begin to say, under the judgment of God.  Natural disasters are not like before.  There is flood, cyclone, earthquake, and all these become a part of our struggle.  If you want to see this world harmonized and stabilized in the name of democracy you have to apply militarism too. 

I closely watched what is happening in Iraq during the time I spent in Australia where everyday terrorists attack more than hundred times in Iraq today.  This is in the newspapers.  Perhaps you have been reading this in the newspaper.  So we are part of this groaning creation according to Paul.  The creation is in labor for a new baby a new heaven and a new earth. 

It doesn’t matter that we come to plan for another five years development plan.  That is good because that is helping people, but at the same time we must listen more and more to our Maker and Creator of the world.  The groaning creation is in fear because nations are afraid of each other.  But because we apply nuclear power and therefore today there is a debate going on about North Korea’s testing of nuclear power.  Why?  Perhaps they are afraid of USA and so they want to defend themselves in order to maintain their sovereignty. 

I do not think we would be able to do that.  We do not have an army in Solomon Islands.  Fiji and Papua New Guinea have armies.  We have been at the mercy of Australia.  We thank Australia for being part of the Regional Mission to Solomon Islands at the time when we really need outside help to help us.  So I acknowledge the presence of RAMSI for leading this group, the Coordinator and all our other friends for continuing to provide security.  The world is becoming more and more militarize because to stabilize is to militarize, and it is a pity. 

Before I forget, what role will Solomon Islands play in the technological world to help other countries?  I do not know what to call it let us develop a zoo park of peace.  Zoo is a place to keep wild animals to make them become friendly, if you like.  But I will come back to that because that is a messianic promise in Isaiah 11.  One baby will lead them and that is humility.  Only one baby will bring together the lions, the leopards, the sheep, and the cows to eat together because we are all humans. 

An Islamic country is a human community.  In the first society we are all humans, part of Australia, part of America, part of England, part of New Zealand, we are the light.  What about our friends in the Middle East? They are humans too.  But why did they continue to fight?  The strategy is to destroy.  The Bible says too that ‘you destroy before you build it’.  That is God’s strategy too. 

In the name of democracy, Iraq must be destroyed before it is rebuilt.  That is a strategy too.  But we do not want to do that, we do not want to see bloodshed, as we have experienced during the time of the MP for Aoke/Langa Langa, the MP for Savo/Russells and the MP for East Choiseul.  Those days are very difficult times. 

Let me put on my hearing aid first because that is why I cannot hear you properly. 

            For the last few weeks I have been really struggling in coming to terms with this motion.  I was thinking about what is my answer to this motion of no confidence against the Prime Minister.  What if I go and join the Opposition.  Those are thoughts I have been thinking about. 

But then I say, the 50 of us are elected Members, and may be out of this worse situation, from a legal point of view or from whatever, God is leading us to see a new vision or perhaps a new direction. 

I have been saying to my wife and some people that perhaps out of this, we change the number to 70 or 71.  So that instead of going through the election, women should be given five seats so that during debates we can hear their voices too.  That is what I am saying, and this is biblical. 

When Moses was about to commit suicide – (Leviticus 11) - because the people were complaining about good cabbages, vegetables and meat that they used to eat Egypt but they have left Egypt and moved out.  Because of that Moses said to God, why was I born to this world, just kill me so that I die.  Perhaps Moses is very close to God and so he applied the voice of God every time.  We are not like Moses, we are very different, but I can see that we need delegation, consultation, working together, as we face the many future challenges. 

I am in the Ministry of Lands and I know my weakness, but I see my staff doing very well in trying to address the unauthorized settlers who are part of us and so we have to find ways to work with the Guadalcanal Province, the Honiara City Council and the Town and Country Planning Board.  We have to cooperate and work together.  The three honorable Members of Honiara must work together.  Two are still in custody but the Minister for Police is here.  But we must see each other as belonging to each other 

Sir, let me say that as a Christian country we must put God first.  Mr Speaker, our National Anthem says, ‘God save the Solomon Islands’.  Thanks to Pastor Balekana for composing the National Anthem.  The Head of the Commonwealth Countries, the Queen of England also puts God first in the song, ‘God save our Queen’.  In our promise to be loyal to the Queen we put God first too, and so we say at the end of our swearing in, ‘So God help me’.  In our court rooms we also put God first when we say, ‘we promise to tell the truth and nothing but the truth’.

            Mr Speaker, if there is a moment of our special need of God, I believe this is the moment that God is still expecting us to look to Him.

Sir, one thing I discovered, perhaps theologians might have also discovered this but I was not told about this in the one or two Theological Colleges that I have attended, and that is God did not create human beings during the six days.  He only created heaven and earth, the sun and the moon, the cow, goat, fish, the light and day but He did not create human being during the six days.  He did not say, come on, you work, you help me create the world.  No, that is not what He said although we must be part of creating, recreating and the renewing of humanity because He has given us the task to continue the work of salvation, the work of uniting people.  But I discovered that He created human beings on the day of rest.  He created us on the seventh day. 

What does that mean?  God was not exhausted, He rest and He continued.  After creating the world He enjoyed His work of glorification.  And in glorifying Him, the human being must be part of His rest.  He linked humanity to eternity.  He wants us to continue to listen to His voice, and to continue to see His original purpose of creating the world. 

That is what I discovered.  It was only us who are so busy with the fast gripping programs of technology and sophisticated world.  But we must have time for God.  This brings me to the thinking that perhaps both sides of the House should spend one week with the Churches praying together.  It is not good just to go in and out of church on Sundays without praying together.  Let us kneel down. 

One of the great leaders in America knelt down every day because he knows of his lack of experience.  He only looked to God – Abraham Lincoln.  I have been reading his prayers, he was a great man.  He knelt down before God every day and prayed.  Are we going to do that?  I believe so, we can do it. 

SICA has organized and dedicated us to move forward and so I believe SICA can organize us to go to an island and spend a whole day in praying.  We come here every day and every morning a little prayer was said by the Clerk, which is a good start to a day.  But after reading Abraham Lincoln was a great leader because every morning before he goes to the office he knelt down and pray, I think that is what we should also be doing. 

Mr Speaker, I must emphasize God’s importance of creation linking us to eternity, we must continue to listen.  We have to set a model too.  We must not think that we are a small nation or country that we could not help the world.  We can create a place where all kinds of people come and be reconciled. 

I thank RAMSI for encouraging people to reconcile.  This program must continue in the Weather Coast in Guadalcanal, in Malaita and everywhere.  We must continue to reconcile and continue to witness reconciliation.  This is like God in Christ reconciling us to the world, to Himself, reconciling the world to Himself.  Therefore, Mr Speaker, I believe I must share a little bit about what I have experienced during my meditation in solitude.

Mr Speaker, your predecessor, the former Speaker of Parliament, during our first two weeks orientation in August 1997 told us the new comers that our loyalty must be to put God first, our people second and our constituency the third, but they are interrelated.  That, I could not forget. 

Therefore, Mr Speaker, the promise of blessing to all families of the earth I believe will guide the Churches in the country, politicians, all the good servants both in the provincial centres and national, our good people in the villages.  God’s promise to Abraham is that through Abraham He will bless all families.  That is a bottom up approach blessing - a blessing to all families.  

This has been the goal and aim of both the national and international programs, I believe.  The law is to point and to be fulfilled into two organic divine laws of God.  I speak more from the biblical perspective, namely the love God and love your neighbor as yourself.  This is a doctrine of friends to all and enemies to none.

The fulfiller of both the promise and the law is Jesus Christ who carried through our hopelessness, worry, powerlessness, fear and confusion to the cross of Jesus Christ.  And how do you carry through?  First, He understands His family.  He spent 30 years before He tried to convert theology, politics and judiciary.  He served the people.  In other words, it is to convert religion, politics, judicial to serve the people.  

I only speak from the point of view of the one who expressed in theology his experiences - Saint Paul.  I found out that Jesus Christ tried to put the emphasis because every time He is the Man of the people.  He is the mediator between God and man and therefore, I believe He is the model of servant, He is the model of washing each others’ feet, He is the model of humility and He is the model of using His highest position to come to the people.

            Mr Speaker, sometimes I wonder what is this bottom up approach and then I begin to see that perhaps our graduates from the universities whether it be Australia or New Zealand, Fiji or wherever should be given some preliminary or so many years to go to the rural areas to learn more, to apply their knowledge in relation to the people because that is where the majority of people are to be served by our lawyers in the future.  So those are some of the thinking of a layman.

            The experience we must see is the experience of the transfiguration where we see our God, the Creator will continue to speak to us and give us vision and give us His spirit of humility, His spirit of righteousness and justice so that we may be able to move forward.

            Mr Speaker, let me conclude by saying that when the MP for Savo/Russells Government came into power in December 2001 he said that his government is a Christmas gift to the people of Solomon Islands.  Our present Prime Minister said that he ‘rededicates Solomon Islands to the Almighty God’.  Here I see humility and sovereignty going together as we move forward.

Let me conclude by saying, Mr Speaker, not because I favor this side, but I want to speak to all of us to be together.  God can make the best out of the worst.  He says, ‘I am now giving you the choice between life and death, between God’s blessing and God’s curse and I hold the heaven and the earth as witness to the choice you will make, so choose life.           To choose Him and to choose no will not get us anywhere.  We must move forward after this situation.  May God bless us, and those are few reflections of my meditation.  Thank you Mr Speaker.

 

Hon TAUSINGA:  Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to briefly join in the discussion of the motion before us.  I wish to also thank the Leader of Opposition for seeing it fit to have it introduced to us.

            I am sure, Mr Speaker, those who architect the constitution have a valid reason for having the provision built into our constitution.  I am sure that amongst the duties of the Leader of Opposition, one that is paramount is the ‘check and balance’. 

            Mr Speaker, I think the provision we are evoking at the moment is not for purpose for check and balance, but I think it is to do with the removal of a leader, and thus the government.  Therefore, for speakers to suggest that this is a check and balance, in my view, is a wrong interpretation of the provision in the constitution.

            Sir, we have been called here today to entertain the provision of sections 34(1) & (2) and to pass judgment on the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands.  He has been accused of what appears to amount to incompetence - incompetence on the basis of dictatorial exercise of his leadership over the Grand Coalition. 

We are living in interesting and challenging times because in the exercise of our various functions and as leaders, one thing is obvious, and that is for us to make choices of actions that we want to take in the interest of our people and the country. 

I think what is evident here is questioning the actions that have been chosen by the government, in particular the leader - actions believed to be in the interest of the people and the country.  These actions, form the basis of the judgment of the Leader of Opposition hence introducing the motion, and the introduction in themselves, had the charges leveled against the Prime Minister.  These charges are based on the following facts: 

·                     The removal of the Attorney General with a new appointee;

·                     The Moti affair

·                     The expulsion of the Australia High Commissioner from Solomon Islands; and

·                     The reaction of the Australian Government on the expulsion of the Australian High Commissioner. 

 

That is the deteriorating relationship now emerging between the two countries.

            Mr Speaker, these charges were out on print in the media for the past weeks, and which appeared that the motion of no confidence was well underway in the public media and finally ended up in this chamber, perhaps to comply with the constitutional provision that will seem to attend the removal of the legitimate leader of the Grand Coalition for Change Government.  Thus the Leader of the Opposition has started his motion in the media and now provided us the opportunity to say ‘aye’ or ‘nay.

            The Australian Government too in reaction to the expulsion of their principal representation made no secret about their dissatisfaction on the leadership of the government and had cancelled multi-entry visa of parliamentarians.  The cancellation of the visa indirectly asks Members of Parliament to have no confidence on the Prime Minister and to disassociate themselves from him, as it were.

            It appears to me that the manner in which we use these issues had made them as the basis of the motion to remove the executive government (i.e. you remove the leader, you remove the government) is not quite in order in the circumstance. 

I say this because the timing is wrong.  It comes at that time when Australia and Solomon Islands are having relationship problem - a problem that stemmed out from what Solomon Islands believed to be interference into the domestic affairs of a country.  Of course, Australia does not see it that way – thus the difference of opinion, which resulted in the removal of the Australian High Commissioner.  This means that the difference we have and that checks our relationship with Australia is amendable and discussion on the matter has started.

            The Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, whilst in the United States have already met with the Australian Foreign Minister in New York and had had discussions, which to me symbolizes the commencement to settle the matter.

            The Melanesian Spearhead Group has expressed its interest to mediate and has taken the initiative to explore the help the diplomatic impasse.  Therefore, the Government is waiting to normalize the relationship, not turning blind eyes, as it were.

            The Moti Affair is very recent and appears to emerge as a result of the dissatisfaction of him being the replacement of the former Attorney General.  From this perception, it is a little bit tricky because the motive to have Moti to be repatriated to Australia is one of criminal nature.  He is wanted in Australia because he is charged with an offence alleged to have been committed in the Republic of Vanuatu - a charge that was dismissed in the Court of Vanuatu.  But he is wanted in Australia to be tried for the same offence under the Australian Federal law.

            Well before he had the chance to prove himself as the new Attorney General of Solomon Islands, the campaign to smear his name commenced in the media locally and in Australia.  This smearing campaign reached the current stage where he became a fugitive wanted by the Australia Federal Police to face the charges that have been laid against him and sort under the extradition arrangement with PNG.

            Whilst Australia might be true in the application of the Federal Law and thus sought his extradition, Solomon Islands was well ahead in its arrangement for the Attorney General to assume the position but for the extradition order from down South. 

In other words, the news of Moti to be the new Attorney General was made well before Australia made him a fugitive – a wanted man, a man and a criminal.  One only needs to be reminded that the Commission of Inquiry is a subject that Australia saw to be not in the interest of Solomon Islands.  Despite of the fact that Solomon Islands regards the Commission of Inquiry as a relevant mechanism to help in the peace process, and Moti’s appointment is indeed a helpful evidence to further the interest of Solomon Islands including the Commission of Inquiry.

            I do nothing for a moment that the people will the Commission of Inquiry or the Government to interfere with the prosecution of those who have been held in custody and to be tried in respect of the 18th April 2006 riot related charges.  This is because to do so will amount to interference of the independence of the judiciary.  The judiciary in Solomon Islands belongs to the people of the country and we, in the forefront of the government must be seen to protect the integrity and the work of the courts.

            There are avenues to test the Prime Minister’s actions in respect to the issues that have been raised by the mover of the motion.  Action such as the Commission of Inquiry’s controversial terms of reference has already been determined by the court. 

I am also given to understand there is an appeal pending on the determination of the High Court on the issue that have suggested the non interference nature of the relevant terms of reference on the Commission of Inquiry.

            The other action, the replacement and the appointment of the Attorney General, is the right of the Government, no more nor less.  The Moti Affair, there are charges laid against him for illegally entering the country. 

            On the leadership style of the Prime Minister, no Prime Minister has the same leadership style and therefore one cannot assume that the present one is the same as the previous one.  But leaders are the head to the structured leadership enshrined in the constitution, and that is what the leadership of the present government is doing.  The structure that we entertain in our leadership is the Cabinet system.

            Of course, there may be times that leaders, because of circumstances, have to take decision.  When one sees that decisions are not properly made, one just has to consult leaders in order to discuss the matter.  In my involvement with the present Coalition, I have also tried to employ that particular strategy to make leaders know of opinions on specific matters.  I have done this with the present leadership and will continue to do so, on matters that I think are important for the country.

Mr Speaker, much of what have been talked about, particularly in relation to policies are something that we will have to discuss during the course of the year, in particular when the budget is in session.  So no one can tell us that the policies we have are wrong policies.  We have yet to put them to test but we believe they are right policies.  And so I also noted that the likely delay of the budget may perhaps be brought up for reasons for this motion. 

I am somewhat surprised at the ignorance of Members of Parliament because the delay will not affect the services or program of actions of government.  It merely means that the services and programs will continue but the budget shall be tabled on the first quarter of the next financial year.  Perhaps the fundamental consideration is the fact that the budget will be a government budget outlining both the recurrent and development programs. 

It will not be an opposition budget.  There is no such thing like that.  Thus the delay is to enable the government properly put into program, the development needs of the people and the country.  Therefore, it would be wrong to believe that by using the budget or the delay in tabling it for purposes of the motion and to have it made to believe that it is incompetence of the Prime Minister is somewhat incorrect. 

Mr Speaker, in deciding to move the motion and in moving it, the mover is establishing his interest to be the successor should the current leadership is removed by the passage of the motion.  In the first instance, Sir, he is the leader of the alternative government and therefore logically has vested interest. 

The implication is the groups that he shall lead have better policies, better leadership style and shall deliver goods and services immediately on assuming the office of the prime minister.  In my view, Sir, track records may show some good works but the test is the public’s view on that track record and one can only reflect on the sad incident on April this year.  However, if the mover of the motion believes in the contrary, to move the motion first and find the candidate later for the prime minister’s position, is a demonstration of indecisiveness and interested party - the party that seeks to remove the Prime Minister.  

How can one seek to remove the Prime Minister, yet not interested in the position?  Sir, how can one seek to remove the Prime Minister and yet has no candidate to fill the position?  Obviously, one has an interest to the position thus seeks to unseat the Prime Minister. 

The denial of the mover not interested in the position and the pretext that the motion is moved in the interest of the country does seem to me to be irreconcilable.  It does not make sense because the actions of the government that are now put to test and are now made to be the basis of the motion, are actions made in interest of the country also. 

Now let us come to the numbers game Mr Speaker.  We have on the government side, as evident today in this chamber, sufficient number to defeat the motion.  The mover of the motion knows this and therefore to move the motion knowing that such a motion will be defeated is in my view very, very wrong indeed. 

The constitutional provision must be invoked in circumstance that there is a minimum probability of 50/50 for the motion to go through.  As it is now there is none and thus those who speak will do so purely to smear each other, an exercise that leaders do not normally do.  So I do not seem to see any valid reason to support the motion, but I do appreciate the Leader of Independent to have it introduced. 

Mr Speaker, there is only one thing I can perhaps ask from the mover of the motion, and that is for him to support us implement the policies current in the government programs. 

Mr Speaker, I promise to make my statement short and I think I have kept to that promise.  I stand to pronounce that I do not support the motion.

 

Mr HUNIEHU:  Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the general debate of this motion of no confidence moved on the Honorable Prime Minister by the alternative Prime Minister – the Leader of the Opposition this morning.  I wish to thank the Leader of the Opposition for raising many important issues in relation to leadership when moving the motion this morning Mr Speaker. 

Mr Speaker, as a watchful opposition, we are duty bound by the Constitution of Solomon Islands to raise important issues we think the leadership of this country is taking us nowhere or is taking us to a point of disaster. 

In leadership there is such a thing as positive leadership and there is also such a thing as negative leadership.  When the principles of positive leadership are applied, everybody is happy, everybody knows where the country is heading, and everybody is assured of a better future.  But when you apply the principles of negative leadership, people are concerned.  

I would like to inform this Parliament that there are many leaders in the world who simply decide to apply the principles of negative leadership which causes international chaos and chaos for their own nations.

Adolph Hitler, Mr Speaker, is one of such leaders who apply the principle of negative leadership by refusing to listen to good advice and decided to create war with the rest of the world because of his stubbornness in not listening to good advice. 

Saddam Hussein, Mr Speaker, in recent times is a classic example.  Saddam Hussein, as we all know, is a stubborn leader.  He is a person who never listens.  He is a dictator who only believes in himself, only believes in his army, only believes in his own ego, and in the end we hear from the news everyday and we watch in the television the disasters he caused to his country.  This is nothing new to all of us. 

We also hear in North Korea and Iran of leaders who are beginning the process of applying negative leadership to their own people and in the international arena as well. 

In those contexts, Mr Speaker, where are we going now and where have we gone wrong?  Are there enough good reasons for the mover of the motion in moving this motion? 

As the MP for East Are Are, I have never participated in any motions of no confidence except one when I was on the government side.  I always refuse to speak on motions of no confidence because I thought why bother. 

Sir, I was asked sometime ago during my short time in Parliament to move a motion of no confidence.  I refused, Mr Speaker, and instead opted to move a motion to dissolve Parliament. 

When I think Parliament is inadequate, when I think Parliament is not delivering, then why waste time moving a vote of no confidence.  I want all of us to be dissolved and fight a new election.  I did move a motion to dissolve Parliament on the basis that Parliament failed to listen to the majestic voices of people, Parliament at that time, was involved in some kind of economic management that runs counter to the interest of the people with revenue declining, foreign reserve declining, and economic management and good governance in total absence. 

Because of that, Mr Speaker, I agree to move a motion to dissolve Parliament.  And one of the Ministers’s then asked me to have a fight on this floor of Parliament, because I told him he was telling lies to the people of Solomon Islands.  I refuse because I am diabetic and he was also diabetic and my advice to him was that I don’t think we should be involved in brawls and fight in Parliament, because fighting in words is enough, not physical fight. 

Mr Speaker, I am surprised at the quality of debate by some Members of Parliament.  They did not seem to understand what negative and positive leadership is all about.  I do not understand why such people are voted into this Parliament because they are supposed to make viable decisions on behalf of their people.  What we need today is viable leadership, and viable decisions on our behalf.  That is what is required of us. 

I am not saying that the present Prime Minister is like Saddam Hussein.  No, but I am trying to lead us into a positive debate of this vote of no confidence.  

This vote of no confidence is not about political expediency either.  No, Mr Speaker.  It is our duty as the opposition to move it.  I will inform Parliament that the government after the social ethnic tension, which is this side of the House, did all it can to navigate this country into prosperity.  That is this side of the House.  Mr Speaker, we did all we can to navigate this country out of the mess.  What did we do Mr Speaker?  We successfully negotiated an agreement with regional countries, which Australia was the main player to help us in the RAMSI operation.  We did it for this country, Mr Speaker, we did it through negotiation and not through confrontation.  Mr Speaker, that is a policy this side of the House will continue to defend in the best interest of the people of this country Mr Speaker. 

We negotiated peace when war was created by that side of the House - the social ethnic tension.  It was that side of the House that created it.  I was fortunate enough to be advisors to two Prime Ministers on that side of the House, and I rejected to be part of them.  I know too much and that is why I declined myself and decided to remain permanently on this side of the House.   

Mr Speaker, we negotiated peace, and peace has brought about fundamental changes in this country.  Peace was negotiated by none other than this side of the House.  And that is why people in East Choiseul, people in West Choiseul, people in Malaita and all corners of Solomon Islands are enjoying peace, which this side of the House negotiated.  We, on this side of the House, are the peace loving side of the House because we do not adopt confrontational policies in our leadership.  We employ reconciliation as a fundamental policy initiative in our policy framework. 

There was economic prosperity, Mr Speaker, during the last four years when we took over the government, economic prosperity in the sense that during the social ethnic tension, total government revenue was only $200million - $250million.  But when we left office revenue climbed up to as high as $700million.  Mr Speaker, is that a bad record? 

Record speaks for itself.  Is this what you call petty politics?  Is this what you call some Members on the other side of the House are too long in the House and so they are starting to talk stupid.  Who is talking stupid, Mr Speaker?  None of us of here is talking stupid.  If so then it must be you, Mr Speaker. 

We also negotiated for increased aid assistance from all our development partners.  Mr Speaker, as far as I am concern this side of the House has managed to bargain with Australia to pump in $800million to the rural economy.  But I am surprised to hear the Prime Minister criticizing a donor partner.  

And, Mr Speaker, one of the most unacceptable speeches I have ever heard in this Parliament was the motion of Sine Die moved yesterday by the Prime Minister himself.  The speech is full of arrogance, it is full of non repentance, it is too full of nationalism, excessive nationalism and paying little attention to the realities of life.  How can a Prime Minister do that?  How can a Prime Minister say that just to keep his flocks together?  Mr Speaker, that is negative leadership and not positive leadership. 

If you call that statement positive leadership I would like to see it reflected in next years’ budget.  I hope I will see that reflected in next year’s budget.

Mr Speaker, EU, New Zealand, Australia, and all our development partners, even America came to our assistance when we negotiated for increase aid assistance. 

Mr Speaker, even RAMSI was negotiated by this side of the House.  We negotiated for it to clear your mess.  The Minister of Mines and Energy knows it, and he is laughing because everything I am saying perhaps is true. 

But there is improved law and order in this country in the last four years.  There is improved law and order and that is why the MP for West Honiara can practice business because law was restored through the hard work of those of us on this side of the House, and many more businessmen.  Mr Speaker, the MP for Ulawa/Ugi is smiling on the other side for the wrong reasons, I think. 

Everybody is enjoying the luxury of being in business, the luxury of making profit and that is because somebody has to bleed the system, somebody has to do it.  Mr Speaker, we on this side of the House take pride in doing all these for the little people of Solomon Islands. 

With this kind of description, Mr Speaker, who is taking care of the interests of the little people in Solomon Islands?  Is it this side of the House or that side of the House?  Answer it yourself. 

This side of the House also began a good governance process because good governance is the ultimate goal in any leadership.  We have started programs, we have started employing people, getting in consultants to introduce the process of good governance.  Because without good governance who would dare giving increase aid assistance to the people of Solomon Islands. 

Who dares to give increase aid assistance to the people of Solomon Islands when Law and Order and good governance are not in existence? 

I am saying these as background information to Members of Parliament after having heard them contributing this morning and they seem to forget the past.  I think if the Minister of Finance was here he will tell everybody that what I am talking about is the truth.  

Mr Speaker, in the 2006 general elections, the people of this country voted for continuity, they voted for the continuation of these policies because we have not finished the task.  And so they voted for continuity.  We won the election, Mr Speaker, on the premise that if we were to take on the government again, we will continue the policy of good governance, the policy of economic good management, the policy of law and order, the policy negotiation to increase more aid assistance to induce more investment in Solomon Islands.  Because when the economy improves, when government performance improves and increases with credibility, the flow of investment that we need for this country will come in.  These things go hand in hand together.  

If a lawmaker fails to understand his basics, Mr Speaker, the best thing for him to do is to resign today and go back home because he is not qualified enough to be a member of parliament. 

Mr Speaker, the problem started on April this year when that side of the House, the government side, decided to take over the government in a Rambo missing-in-action type.  

Mr Speaker, it is Rambo all through when the new Attorney General was flown into the country in a military aircraft with no immigration clearance, no aviation clearance and without a passport.  Mr Speaker, this is Rambo missing in action style.  Shame on us, Mr Speaker!

 

Mr Speaker:  Perhaps since you are using Ramo, you might interpret it so that we all can understand it.

 

Mr Huniehu:  Mr Speaker, I mean Rambo.

 

Mr Huniehu:  Ramo and Rambo mean the same thing.  Ramo, in Malaita means a wire miss man.  He is a bit wire miss and his actions are a bit like a cowboy but a little bit beyond the marks of a cowboy.  That is the meaning of Ramo.  But when Rambo and Ramo are combined, it is very fitting.  Yes, Super Rambo because when Rambo acts in a movie, he jumps up, higher up in the heavens and swims right down into the deep blue ocean and he makes every people believe what he does. 

When we pursue the principles of negative leadership, I can describe that as Rambo and Ramo kind of leadership. 

The problem we are facing today started on April when that side of the House was not happy because this side of the House took over the government.  There were plans in advance to take over the government within the pretext of corruption, which resulted in the burning down of the Chinatown - the Chinese Community. 

Mr Speaker, but in the policy statements of the government, they continue to say this is one country, we are one people, we must be united in purpose and we must cause development to happen.  What a contradiction!  It does not reflect what happened in April of this year. 

It was planned, Mr Speaker, but it is fine that you have taken the government but lead us to where you want to lead us.  For goodness sake that is what you want.  We have no complaints, but only lead us to where you want to lead us.  But only two were arrested and are now awaiting trial, the rest are not.  And it is the rest who are still here that continue to cause destabilization in government at this time because of the fear that they would be arrested anytime and put in prison.  That is the reason why we continue to argue that the best Attorney General to come and work here is Moti because you believe that if he is employed he will free the two in custody and will free all of you.  That is why it is very impossible and very hard to make sense out of this kind of government.  It is very hard.

 

Hon Darcy:  Point of Order Mr Speaker.  As the Member of Parliament for Gizo/Kolombangara, I am just not comfortable with the way the MP for East Are Are is implying that this side of the House was involved in planning the April riots. 

This House is not for us to come and level accusations.  If you have evidence you must prove it.  You prove it to this House, prove it to this House. 

When you talk about economic mismanagement, I can tell you that there are people on this side of the House who have allowed their resources to continue during the darkest hours of this country.  How can you continue to make that kind of accusation?   

I am making this statement because I think it is a very, very sad thing that you continue to make that kind of accusation in this House without providing evidence.

 

Mr Huniehu:  Mr Speaker, can I continue on with my speech?

Mr Speaker, I take note of what the Minister for Development Planning has said, but this is my time.  This time is allocated to me and please just allow me to say my piece of mind because when it comes to your time I will sit down very intently and listen like everybody else, Mr Speaker. 

Mr Speaker, I was trying to point out what I think is the problem which led to the tabling of this motion in Parliament. 

This is Parliament and not the courthouse so that I should provide affidavit like the Prime Minister when he wanted to table an affidavit of a conversation between the Magistrate and somebody else, I don’t know.  This Parliament is for Members of Parliament to express their views and concerns freely. 

I do not deny that some Members on that side of the Government have also contributed to the good economic management in the last four years.  Everybody has worked together for the good of this nation. 

What I am implying is that it was this side of the House that was responsible for bringing in RAMSI, responsible for initiating good economic policies, responsible for good governance, and therefore it should be given credit where it deserves. 

And I was only saying that the problem that is causing destabilization in politics and political instability has to do with the unfortunate 2006 April incident.  There is no secret about it.  Investigations are going on and will be concluded.  

I did not mention names of any person who might be implicated.  I am just saying that investigation is taking place on those who induced the rioting and conclusions will come up.  

As a Member of Parliament I have the right to say that.  I have said at the outset of my speech that what this country needs is positive leadership and not negative leadership.  And I am just trying to quantify what I mean by negative leadership. 

The biggest issue was from April up until now and so why should we hide it on the floor of Parliament when it is public knowledge.  Why should we be ashamed of it?  Why should we fear?  Do not be afraid of your shadows because your shadows cannot fight you?  They are only shadows.  If you have nothing to fear then there is nothing to worry about.  If you are not involved in the riot then have peace of mind. 

Sir, the five months the Prime Minister has taken on leadership is interesting.  Many of us decided to work with the Prime Minister.  When the Government’s statement of policies was released we thought that was the way to go because it was precise and was talking about the little people in this country.  But then all of a sudden you deviated from attention and from the focus of leadership, positive leadership.  

From day one, the Prime Minister decided to take on the legal fraternity head-on.  He started on this floor of Parliament by asking the Speaker if he could produce and table an affidavit in this Parliament.  An affidavit is for the courts to look at and not Parliament.  

Then comes the issue of the Attorney General.  In view of objections raised by the public, the government went on to do what it decided to do.  I don’t have to continue to dwell on that because it is all well covered in the press media - the Solomon Star, the SIBC, and you name it.  It is all public knowledge. 

That was a direction intently decided by the Prime Minister and the government to pursue.  That was well and eloquently covered by the mover of the motion.  We are now side tracking from the good policies that we have established during the last four years and moving on to un-chartered waters. 

Questionable cabinet/government decisions, I know what a cabinet/government decision is.  The decision of Cabinet is done by Cabinet and those decisions should not be tampered with. 

I know the process of recruitment, and handpicking is not the way of applying good governance - handpicking of people.  The Leader of the Opposition said it all this morning.  There is handpicking of the Secretary to Cabinet, handpicking of the Director of Forests and others as well.  And the way the Minister of Public Service answered questions this morning implied that even Permanent Secretaries were also handpicked.  Mr Speaker, these are misdirection, in my view, and the people of this country must know. 

The consequences of those decisions will be felt by the people.  We have now decided, as part of our confrontational policy with our development partners, to start accusing Australia and other development partners of their aid policies and aid programs to Solomon Islands.

Mr Speaker, why should we do that?  These are people funding our projects.  If you do not want their money then tell them we do not need your help.  Tell them courteously.  If you do not need their assistance just tell them like, ‘can we negotiate to shift your assistance from this sector to that sector’, but not criticize their aid assistance, labeling it as boomerang, senseless or whatever. 

Many times I also criticize Australian aid, but the way the Prime Minister did it is out of context in the sense that whilst the little people of this country still need Australia’s assistance, we are saying it in a language, in an environment that will be seriously felt in our development budget. 

The Foreign Affairs Minister and the Prime Minister of Australia have both said that they will take robust actions against Solomon Islands on its non compliance of good governance process.

How come the Australia Government continues to pump in millions of dollars into this country and we continue to make cowboy decisions in this country?  Mr Speaker, I am sorry to call this government Rambo, but that is what I heard on the streets.  People were calling this government Rambo and it was not me who is saying that statement. 

These actions, I am definitely sure, will have serious implications on the level of aid assistance to this country by some development partners.  The investment flow will also be seriously affected. 

I have heard from reliable sources that some billions of dollars worth of investment have to be suspended because of fear the investment could be seriously affected by government actions and policies. 

Sir, the people of Solomon Islands depend on this Parliament to make and to pass the right judgment in this motion of no confidence.  If the government thinks that things will improve, I will go along with that.  

In fact, Mr Speaker, I wrote to the Prime Minister in my capacity as the Chairman of the Bills and Legislation Committee saying that I would like to work tirelessly reviewing the laws of this country that have loopholes for administrators to practice corruption.  The Committee is thinking of making recommendations to Cabinet – the Government to start making amendments to all the laws.  One of such laws that need reviewing is the Land and Titles Act to find out why is it that one person can own two to three hundred plots in Honiara.  Why is it that Solomon Islanders win land on tenders but are reselling it to foreigners?  Why is it that some of us find it difficult to obtain land for development and land to build our houses when others are enjoying all the privileges?  These are issues of the hour.  

My committee also wants to review the NPF Act to see whether its lending policies are consistent with the original act that establishes it.  My committee also wants to review the Provincial Government Act to see the things that need change.  My committee also wants to establish an architectural act because all the buildings in Honiara are not built according to standards.  Anyone can just build and do whatever he likes.

My committee wants to review all the Acts of Parliament - the transport acts, the fisheries acts because in last year’s sitting of Parliament, we were informed through reports by the Accountant General of massive corruption taking place in those departments.  Little do we realize that it is these acts of Parliament that have given leeway for administrators to do whatever they have done.  And many more Acts of Parliament need reviewing.

I wrote to my Prime Minister telling him that I am ready to work, but these issues came up again, which could hinder my committee’s work.  The very same laws that we want to review are now being debated and challenged, which is going to affect our work. 

This vote of no confidence, Mr Speaker, is all about principles.  For me, Mr Speaker, I pass my judgment in the interest of the people of East Are Are.  If I think that government policies will affect projects in my constituency, I will be able to explain myself to my people that I supported the motion because of this, and seriously I begin to see this happening. 

It was not my intention to be a Member of Parliament to send development aid money away from within the reach of my people.  But this is exactly where we are heading.  

It is sad to see Members of Parliament calling themselves representatives of people in the rural areas, speaking pretty languages in this Parliament saying ‘I represent the people of so, and so’, when we are doing something to the contrary.  I would like to do the best for my people but we are now engaging in a tug of war, which will deprive our children of educational funds they need and for the Ministry of Education to implement the educational programs. 

Sir, you may disagree with me, Mr Minister, but what is happening now is leading to that direction.  This year may be is a good year for you but if you cannot reconcile our differences, it will all happen.  That is why we are sounding out this message to all us. 

Mr Speaker, I want to conclude by saying that the intention of this motion, we believe, is to redirect Solomon Islands, and not to succumb to overseas influence.  No, that is not the intention of this motion.

Sir, as I have said many times in this Parliament, Solomon Islands is not an island in the sky and therefore our approaches and conducts with our development partners must be conducive and we must continue to engage them in ways that they will continue to assist our people of Solomon Islands. 

I hope many Solomon Islanders who are listening to the debate in Parliament should not take what I am saying out of context.  I think the mover of the motion had genuine concern about the leadership in this country and although it is only five months since this government took power, it is better to check you up in the embryonic stage of leadership. 

If you have to continue to lead for the next three or fours years, the sound warnings have already been fired on the floor of Parliament.  Many of us here would like to see the Prime Minister and his government, if possible, to change direction - if you can in the best interest of the people of this country.  That is what this motion is talking about because I can see that many projects will be seriously affected. 

With those few remarks, Mr Speaker, I would like to thank you for allowing me and I would like to thank all Members of Parliament for listening. 

If I have said something that someone of us doesn’t want to hear, I can only apologize to you, but that was said inside this Chamber but outside we are good friends again.  Thank you very much.

 

Hon SIKUA:  Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the motion.  I speak on behalf of the Guadalcanal Block on this side of the House.  Before I continue, Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the Honorable Leader of Opposition for bringing this motion for debate in this honorable chamber.  I realize and do respect his right for bringing this motion as a mechanism of check and balance for us in terms of our parliamentary democratic system.  I think it is a healthy one and it is one that we should use as such.

Mr Speaker, just as he dedicated the motion to the children, women and people of special needs, I would like to share and say that the policies this government has put out and the framework we are going to implement those policies is dedicated specifically to improve the lives of all Solomon Islanders, including children, women and people with special needs. 

In introducing the motion, the first reason for moving the motion was on the PM’s style of leadership - his style of leadership is erratic and unprincipled. 

Mr Speaker, I wish to dispel any notion that the PM’s style of leadership is erratic and unprincipled.  Never at anytime have I felt that his style of leadership does spell any threats or speaking fear in the hearts of any of my colleagues and so I dispel that notion.

Sir, on the issue of abuse of national sovereignty, if indeed national sovereignty is a moving concept that has to change with time, if you look at it carefully this is exactly what this government with its current leadership is trying to do. 

What the other side is showing is trying to resist change, Mr Speaker.  We have been used to going the same way and here we come trying to challenge the old ways - the same old ways of doing things, the same old ways of approaching and talking to our donors or how we treat them in terms of our diplomatic relation. 

Here comes this government under the leadership of the Prime Minister and says, look I think we need to rethink and recheck ourselves as to how we relate to each other, and it is that change that I see as being resisted by the other side and therefore is complaining because it is uncomfortable with how we are treating one of our major donors. 

Mr Speaker, in terms of interference with the judiciary and the thinking that the government is only pushing forward for a commission of inquiry into the April riots, is not true. 

If you read the Speech from the throne very carefully, there are two more commissions that are coming, and they are the commission of inquiry into the land dealings on Guadalcanal as well as the truth and reconciliation commission.  Those two are coming.  It is not just the commission of inquiry into the April riots.   

Mr Speaker, with the establishment of the other two commissions of inquiry, it is hoped that during the hearings and the deliberations of these two commissions of inquiry we can be able to know the root causes of the ethnic crisis on Guadalcanal.  You cannot say that we are just trying to push the commissioner of inquiry into the April riots for political expediency.  No, Mr Speaker, because there are two more commissions that will be established.

Mr Speaker, in regards to corruption in the administration and the appointment of Permanent Secretaries, indeed the Prime Minister has consulted his Ministers on the question of whether we want to keep our Permanent Secretary or we want to change him/her.  He has consulted all his Ministers, and there are Ministers who said they want to keep their current Permanent Secretary and there are Ministers who said they want another new one.  That is the basis of the consultation the Prime Minister has done with his Ministers. 

If you look carefully, Mr Speaker, about 90% of Permanent Secretaries retained their positions with only about three or four new ones.  If you compare that to the past it is always the other side of the House that has this reputation of saying this government is coming in with new Permanent Secretaries and doing away with old ones.  So it is not only this government that is doing that. 

I can tell you, Mr Speaker, that the Prime Minister has consulted widely on the issue of appointment of Permanent Secretaries.  So you cannot say that it is just him who handpicked these people.  No.

 

Mr Huniehu:  Point of order, Mr Speaker.  I just want to clarify that the last administration’s policy is to employ Permanent Secretaries who are from the system.  Most of the Permanent Secretaries were under secretaries and were promoted.

 

Hon Sikua:  But it is the same people who are still there and so there is no difference.  Whichever way you look at it, it is still the same.  The same people are still there. 

            Mr Speaker, I have been hearing a lot about ‘this thing we are doing is going to drive our donors away’, it is going to deprive our people of the much needed donor support that we so badly need.  I think that is too much of an assumption.  We will cross the bridge when we get there.  At the moment there is no cause for concern because we have not heard anything to that effect from any of our donors, including Australia.  So what is the concern? 

Just this morning, Mr Speaker, I met with the Head of the EU Delegation in Moresby and he assured us there is no problem in education, keep going, just clear the cloud and move on.  As a major donor, I think that is an indication that these things are going to blow away and subside in the course of time.  So do not worry too much about these things.  That is just a normal run.

            On RAMSI Mr Speaker, the Government’s position hasn’t changed.  The Member for Rennell/Bellona was concerned when he talked about RAMSI in his contribution this morning.  The Government’s commitment and position on RAMSI has not changed.  It says so in the Speech from the Throne that the Government is committed to continue to work with RAMSI in the spirit of true partnership and cooperation for the common good of our people.  So there is no shift in our policy with RAMSI.

            On education, Mr Speaker, as the Minister for Education, I have not heard any adverse signals from our donors.  We all believe without donor the future of our people depends upon the education of our greatest resource, and that is our own people.  I think it will be counterproductive for any donor, say in the education sector to do otherwise. 

What we are talking about is between governments and I do not think it is between people.  Let us make the distinction. 

Mr Speaker, I would like to say that this government has policies in place that will improve and increase opportunities of employment for our people.  I think in terms of what we are doing in education on technical vocational education and training, you can have policies at the employment private public sectors.  But I think the thing to do is to ensure that we have in place the necessary mechanisms for our people to acquire skills from the school system to equip them with skills that they can live with when they find themselves anywhere they can live or work.  Sir, I am sure this government has those policies in place. 

On the bottom up approach which the government is adopting in terms of its rural development strategy, I have written a PhD on the whole bottom up approach.  It is bias towards education but I have proved in my PhD that the bottom up approach is the correct approach to use as a development strategy in Solomon Islands.  So if anybody is interested to know and have an argument about that you come and talk to me.  I am an expert on that one.

            Mr Speaker, I do not want to spend too much time and so with those few comments I on behalf of my colleagues from the Guadalcanal block on this side of the House oppose the motion.

 

(applause)

 

Mr TANEKO:  Thank you, Mr Speaker, for allowing me the floor of Parliament to contribute to this very important motion on behalf of my people of Shortlands Constituency.  I am going to be very brief, Mr Speaker, and I will talk in general and speak on the points. 

            Mr Speaker, before I continue with my speech I would like to take us to Proverbs Chapter 11, which is today’s date because today is a very important time to make a decision on the leadership of this nation on where we are heading to.  I quote, “A city becomes great when the righteous give it their blessing; a city is brought to ruin by the works of the wicked.  Proverbs 11:11.  There is a lot we can derive out of that verse.  

            Mr Speaker, I would like to thank my people of the Shortlands Constituency for having as their Member someone who has experienced the bad times.  When I came in year 200, I wanted to represent my people in a peaceful government of Solomon Islands.  But when I came in the home was not in order - our home Solomon Islands was not in order.  Offices were destroyed and there was no administration.  It was sad to see those things at that time and the leadership has to make a decision on where it wanted to lead Solomon Islands.

            Mr Speaker, may I say in here that we are going to make a decision, all of us in here, Members of Parliament whether to give our support or not to the motion, but it is each one’s decision.  I believe our own conscience is very important at this time.

            Mr Speaker, it is through the constitutional process that we experienced what happened on the 18th April.  We had a lot of experience on that event.  I thank God that I am on the Opposition side of the House, and I also thank Him for the government side as well.  But as a leader we have to know exactly how we want our nation to go.  This is very, very important.

            Mr Speaker, you will remember that I was the Minister for Police and Justice during that time and we went through all hardships, taking risks and talking to militants with guns.  I can remember the time we talked with militants in the Guadalcanal Plains and we were in tears.  I cried.  This is reality, Mr Speaker.  Here we are now enjoying peace that this side fought so hard for and therefore there should be appreciation for this side of the House.

            But, Mr Speaker, I have not heard any appreciation and thanks to this side of the House for making this nation into a peaceful nation to where we are now.  Can’t you just say thank you or appreciate us a bit? 

You can see the man talking to you now, I went through risks and hardships talking to militants so that peace would prevail in our country, Solomon Islands.

 

(hear, hear)

 

Mr Speaker, I found it hard to give directive and make decision as the Minister for Police and Justice at that time because there is problem in law and order.  There was no security in the nation Solomon Islands.  Children were crying, they were homeless, there were no foods.  People were running looking for shelter as refugees just finding a place where they could find peace.  Here we are coming again to select a leader.  I believe, Mr Speaker, that we want to select a leader that is like a father with loving and open hearts and arms to receive the nation of Solomon Islands.  Not only within the ministries, the 20 cabinet ministers or backbenchers, but he should receive the 50 Members of Parliament as well as the nation of half a million people with open arms as a leader.  That is the type of leadership we want - a leadership that will open his heart and receive the nation of Solomon Islands - a leadership that you will receive and listen to the cries of the people. 

You have been talking about the bottom-up approach but just go down and have a look at classrooms in the Shortlands.  It is reality and practical. 

I wish the Minister for National Planning is here.  The leadership that we want is like a father giving directives to his ministries to go and visit the constituencies and see what is needed in there.  That is the kind of leadership we want. 

            We do not want us to come and be divided and rule because that is destruction.  The opposition is an alternative government and so we have to make sure the leader that reigns and rules this nation is doing the right thing.

            I thank the Almighty God, Mr Speaker, because here we are enjoying and acknowledging RAMSI and other partners.  I have been there in the Ministry of Police and Justice twice, and I can remember people who came into the office wanting to give their support to the nation of Solomon Islands because of the law and order problem.  We have made the right decision for bringing RAMSI in and now they are helping us and so we thank and acknowledge them.

            Mr Speaker, I can remember the day when there was discussion to bring in RAMSI into the country on June 5th 2003.  It was not easy at that time Mr Speaker.  It was a decision we made at that time to make sure we bring in our fellow big brothers to come in and help us salvage the nation Solomon Islands, a sunken vessel, an empty vessel with no cargoes.  We should appreciate and thank them.

            Mr Speaker, I for one believe in the appointment of the Attorney General of Solomon Islands.  I believe there are many academically qualified local Solomon Islander lawyers in the nation of Solomon Islands who can be appointed to that post.  But again it is a decision by the government.

            Mr Speaker, this very important motion that we are debating must be seen from many angles on how we are going to come in to select a leader that will lead this nation peacefully and receiving the nation as a whole, receive his cabinet, the backbenchers and the opposition.  The leader should summon them because that is the only way we are going to lead this nation to where we want.  It is indeed a very hard thing, Mr Speaker.

            As a nation of different constituencies that we represent, with different cultures, diversity, beautiful Solomon Islands.  However, it totally lies on the voting of the leadership today. 

I believe that we come to our own consciences so that we can vote whom we want to be our leader.  It is a difficult thing, Mr Speaker, because the party system divides us and the Westminster system brought in by the colonials.  When they came in with the Westminster system after independence, from day one, we are divided.  From day one there is an opposition and there is a government.  From day one someone is going to criticize you.  But in the Melanesian culture as well as Micronesian and Polynesian, people come together and sit down, they argue on points and reasons, and then they come to the best solution and decision from a meeting.

The law says that we abide with the constitution of Solomon Islands from day one.  The Westminster System we adopted is inside our holy book, and so that is how we live.  It is a very hard thing, Mr Speaker, and I thank you for leading the nation to independence and after and we did not have any problems.  Our beautiful nation was growing, growing and growing and there were changes.  But after 22 years the nation collapsed.  We had a problem in year 2000.  But I believe that this afternoon we are going to make our own decisions on how we are going to select our own leader.  It is a very tough thing.  It is very hard to make a decision.

Mr Speaker, during the tension time, every day I sit in my office at 8.00 a.m. I would expect gunmen, big stones, big timbers to come flying to destroy the office.  That was the experience I had, Mr Speaker, at that time.

You will also remember, Mr Speaker, the time we went to Tamboko.  I was in tears when I saw how our people made our nation into problem.  It is now our time leaders, not to make the nation of Solomon Islands repeat the problem that happened in the past.  We must not repeat that problem.  

We are here today to be of one mind making sure our leader leads us and gives us peace and harmony for this nation to be united together as one nation.

What does that mean, Mr Speaker?  There needs to be more consultation.  A leader must consult with his people more often.  He must consult with spiritual people.  If that is what the leadership of this government does, I think he have enough security because of his consultation with people.  He must be willing to listen and receive advice.  Advice is best and is a cure for everything.  Listening and receiving good advice is a difficult thing to do.

Many times we come across problems in our own families.  We must look at our own background where we come from.  We must look at our families, our constituencies, and see how we can rule and reign in there Mr Speaker.  It is just within us. 

Even though we are against each other in this House in words but when we go out we are still one.  Let our hearts be one as one nation of Solomon Islands.  That is how we can change this nation for our people who have given us powers and mandated us to represent them in this House so that Solomon Islands is a peaceful nation to live in. 

Our time is running out.  We are people who just come and go in this House.  But if we lead our people in the right direction, one day when we are finished there will be memories and revelations telling us that we have done something good for our nation and for our people. That is a very big thing.

As the Minister of Health alluded to earlier on today Mr Speaker, there are some new Members in this House but when you come in here whether you are new or old you must share the best wherever you can to help our nation.  So young minister, continue to build this nation Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker, our time is running out but the decision we are going to make is totally in our streets.  I just want to put it this way.  We must select a leader according to our own conscience.  I just hope this government will lead our people so that they will enjoy their nation peacefully, accept our neighbors, be a friendly nation, rebuild and return this nation to the once happy isles one more time.  We do not want to repeat the events of the past four years.

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

 

Hon SOGAVARE:  Thank you very much Mr Speaker.  I am beginning to hear repetitions on the things we are saying.  After listening to those who have contributed to the motion, I can basically see what they are talking about.

            Sir, I am now in a position to respond.  The level of debate and the things we are saying in here, there are some serious allegations raised that we cannot prove.  For example, such allegations as the Prime Minister involving in aiding and abetting, this side of the House was involved in the 18th of April riot, and so on. 

We set up the commission of inquiry to look into those questions, and before we even could reach the end, we have already made conclusions and are very judgmental in the way people have been talking when contributing to the motion.

            Sir, the issues that are raised in here are not new, as speakers in this House have said.  Those are issues that we have been seeing in the media.  The motion of no confidence actually started already in the media, in here and also abroad. 

            In listening out to the debates, Mr Speaker, I was right that the very same issues that was canvassed in the media, in here and abroad were again raised as issues to try and convince this Parliament to vote out a Prime Minister that was duly elected by this very Parliament. 

            Sir, to do the right thing, at the outset I would like to thank the Leader of Opposition for moving the motion and for all that he has said about the Prime Minister.  As the leader, what he was saying is basically what the Group have met and discussed and used as the front lone attack, which would be supported by subsequent debates by members of the Opposition.  And I know where he is coming from and roughly know what is actually driving him to move the motion.  My only fear, which is reflected in the contribution by the Deputy Prime Minister, is that we could play right into the hands of somebody. 

            This parliament is the parliament of the people of Solomon Islands, and we are required as duly elected Members of this honourable House to act responsibly in making very crucial decisions like this, especially when the country has only a few small problems with one of our major development partners.

            I am saying this because I am going to prove this on the floor of parliament today where I feel this side of the House can see where this motion is coming from, and the interest this motion is creating in people who have vested interest in the outcome of the vote that will be taken, in about may be three hours from now.

I hope those who have sponsored this motion will be able to sleep tonight after they will come to their senses that they have acted irrationally and allowed their vanity to take the best of them on the floor of the people’s parliament today.  But before I delve into the substance of this motion, I would like to express my observations on what we consider as driving this motion.

Sir, the motion is moved under the authority of Section 34 (2) of the National Constitution and therefore in terms of law it is in order.

A motion of this nature is very serious, and I hope the mover had given serious thought to it because what he is basically saying is that the very parliament that voted unanimously for a Prime Minister and his Government that had the support of the people in May of this year (in just a matter of 5 months ago), is again requested to vote that it had no confidence in that very person.  That is a bit problematic.

            Unlike other countries where the government is effectively voted into power by the people on election day, the situation in Solomon Islands, as we all know is that it is Parliament that elected the Government. 

Why am I reminding us of this fact?  I want to drive the point that it is that very power that Solomon Islanders resented giving to the legislators as clearly demonstrated on the 18th of April 2006.   People regretted that they gave that power to the hands of legislators.  I think this is driving some very interesting policy issues that we need to think about in giving this power to the people, and not us because we cannot decide. 

What the people were actually saying on that day was that parliamentarians were totally incompetent to make any sensible decision on that matter. 

The picture changed on the 5th of May 2006 when the present incumbent, this very person now standing before you, Mr Speaker, was elected by this very Parliament.  There was overwhelming approval as clearly demonstrated by the people themselves on the streets of Honiara.  Peace was restored.  Burning and looting was put on check and the residents of Honiara can once again live in peace.

Sir, I am seeing the repeat of what happened in June 2000, when the present incumbent was also elected by this very Parliament to take over the leadership of Solomon Islands Government during one of the most trying times in the history of the Solomon Islands politics.  Peace was restored, of course with the support of the Member for Savo/Russells, who was then my deputy.  He did a fine job.  The warring parties were willing to start to talk about peace and tolerance, and life returned to normal in Honiara.

Sir, what I am trying to get at here is that the people of this country have demonstrated on two separate occasions that the parliamentarians’ choice of the Member for East Choiseul to the office of Prime Minister received their approval.  This is a government of the people.  That is a very important message to this Parliament, which we must not carelessly disregard. 

Sir, the significance of this scenario is that in personally attacking the Prime Minister in the person of the Member for East Choiseul, the Leader of the Opposition is fighting against popular demand.  I make no apologies whatsoever for making that statement here in this Parliament. 

Apart from all the garbage that we see in the Solomon Star and foreign newspapers, which were purposely designed to be biased against the government, there was no open revolt against this government by the grassroots in Solomon Islands nor was there any withdrawal of support for the leadership of the present government by the people of Solomon Islands. 

I stopped reading the Solomon Star now, as if the Government does not exist.  All the writings on the papers were just against the government, against the government, but by just a very few people and not everybody.  Very few people are writing on the newspapers and they keep printing the articles.  That proved beyond all shadow of doubt that the people of this country have no problem with the leadership of this government.

Sir, I listened with amusement to the call by the leader of the Opposition to the people of Malaita (I am also married to Malaita too) to refrain from expressing their disapproval of any outcome that would not be acceptable to them.  I join those who have spoken before me that, that call is totally unnecessary and sends a wrong signal to the people as to the real motives of the motion.

 

Mr Fono:  Point of Order, Mr Speaker.  That call was made based on rumors.  I stand by my call as a leader.  The current Prime Minister is using the ignorance of the populace in Honiara, and not the rural areas.

 

Hon Sogavare:  I can understand the feelings here.  He has his time to respond to this motion.  I did not interrupt him when he moved the motion this morning.  Let us be fair.

            Sir, what I was saying was that call was totally unnecessary, and I will explain.   If you are doing the right thing, why call on the people of Solomon Islands to refrain from expressing their approval or disapproval?  Or are you expecting the people to express disapproval?  If that is the case, then there is something really sinister about this motion.

Sir, I am not surprised because the personal nature of this motion augurs well with the threat issued by the Prime Minister of Australia, when he said that there would be personal consequences to this Prime Minister as well as his government.  In fact, the involvement of Canberra and the Prime Minister of Australia personally in this motion is no longer a secret.  It is as clear as clear.  And I would like to quote from Rick Kelly’s article, “Canberra’s Dirty Tricks Ahead of Solomon Islands No-Confidence Vote”.  I quote as follows, “Whatever the outcome of this week’s parliamentary session in the Solomon Islands, the Howard Government has made clear that it will stop at nothing to oust Sogavare and impose a government more in tune with Australia”.

He went on to say, “The Australian Government has stepped up its campaign to unseat the Solomon Islands’ Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, and strengthen its neo-colonial grip over the country.  Canberra orchestrated the provocative arrest of Julian Moti, the new Solomons’ new Attorney-General, in Papua New Guinea on Friday, and has issued a series of threats ahead of today’s reconvening of the Solomon Islands Parliament”.  End of quote.

Sir, the report has placed beyond all shadow of doubt that the political crisis that Solomon Islands is currently experiencing is engineered by the Australian Prime Minister.

 

(hear, hear)

 

            I quote, “The political crisis has been engineered by the Australian Prime Minister and his Government, which targeted the Solomon’s Government after the Australian High Commissioner Patrick Cole was expelled earlier this year for meddling in the country’s internal affairs”.  End of quote.

Sir, this is a very serious situation indeed and calls for a concerted effort by all Solomon Islanders to protect our country from the grips of re-colonization.  We must not allow this Parliament to be used as a tool to undermine a democratically elected government of the people of Solomon Islands.

In case we forget, this Parliament belongs to the people of Solomon Islands, and it is their concerns and aspirations that take precedence over any other concerns.  It is treason to conspire with aliens to overthrow an elected government of the people.

I felt sorry for the Leader of the Opposition because he is being misled by a very superficial and carefully designed public opinion that is hyped up by an aggressive media propaganda campaign both in the local and Australian media following the removal of the Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands.

It is a grossly careless act that is motivated by pride and vanity, and the Leader of the Opposition and his supporters on the other side are too blind to see that they are being used by a foreign government to get at the Solomon Islands Government.  Where is our sense of national pride?  Where?  This Prime Minister thinks for his country.  I will protect it with my life.

Sir, in line with the concerns raised here and after listening to the Opposition Leader’s reasons, the motion should really be worded as, “That the National Parliament of Solomon Islands resolves that Canberra does not have confidence in the Prime Minister”, or alternatively, it should be worded “That this Parliament resolves that the Leader of the Opposition, Canberra and a handful of his disgruntled supporters do not have confidence in the Prime Minister”.

Of course, these people never have any confidence in the Prime Minister from the very beginning and therefore it is not surprising that they now make this position very clear in public, and for very personal reasons, and for that reason beg Parliament to share their point of view.  This side of the House will not share their point of view.

Sir, this is akin to banging one’s head against a brick wall because this side of the House is not convinced that the issues the Leader of Opposition is accusing the Prime Minister about, have anything to do with his ability or commitment and zeal to get the GCCG to deliver on its program of action.  That would have been an issue worthy of consideration, not personal attacks. 

What this motion is really concern about is the feelings of Australia.  What about my feelings?  What about the feelings of this government?  What about the feelings of Solomon Islanders?  Are you not concerned about us? 

Sir, in fact, the actions and decisions he is complaining about were taken in the interest of getting government to deliver on its promises, and therefore are crucial decisions as far as the government is concerned.  Of course, they hurt some people, even within our group.

Unlike the Leader of the Opposition who is capitalizing on these decisions and actions to make his point, this side of the House took them professionally.  We are grown up leaders – professionals.  They are normal day to day matters.  I am surprised the Leader of Opposition is making a fuss out of them.

Going back to my earlier point, it is a fact that this Prime Minister is not popular with Canberra.  This was made very plain and clear by the former head of the Australian Mission to Solomon Islands in an email that the present Prime Minister and the immediate former Prime Minister, the Member for Marovo were disappointing choice to this office.  So I am not surprised at the position taken, and the very personal nature of this motion.

As a matter of fact, Canberra hated the guts of this Prime Minister, calling him eccentric, madman, karate kid, unfriendly and all the adjectives you find in the English dictionary, and are banking on this motion to get him off their face.

This is one of the inferences of the Prime Minster, Howard’s advice that thee will be serious consequences for me personally, and my Government due to the actions to remove the head of the Australian Mission to Solomon Islands.

Sir, I guess what I am saying here, is, as leaders where do we stand?  Do we just allow foreign governments to do whatever they like in this country and get away with it?  You make your choices, but as for this Prime Minister, he will not allow these bullying tactics to go unchallenged.  There is so much at stake here and we cannot afford to be careless in the name of peace and stability.

In fact, it is already a talk around the Canberra circles that they are not in a hurry to replace the former High Commissioner because they are looking at re-posting him as soon as the Opposition group takes over the government at the passage of this motion.  That clearly demonstrates Canberra’s vested interest in this motion and would stop at nothing to ensure its passage.

That being the case, in consenting to be the agent of Canberra in Solomon Islands, the Leader of the Opposition must be prepared to defend his Masters on the floor of this Parliament.  As a matter of fact, I consider this motion as invasion of sovereignty by an alien, authoritarian regime.  They would rather be comfortable with a puppet that they can control. 

That is understandable because that was their attitude of the government then ruling from 2001 – 2005, which the Leader of the Opposition was part of.  The reversal of that status quo is considered threatening, again for narrow, selfish strategic reasons.

For the disgruntled few, it is just personal vendetta, which is very sad.  It demonstrates that we are yet to grow up in politics.

For the Leader of Opposition personally, I am surprised at the very quick pace in which he changed his position on the matter of confidence in the leadership of the Member for East Choiseul.  I am raising this point because just a matter of 6 or 7 weeks ago, he expressed in no uncertain terms to me personally that he would support the government under my leadership.

When I heard about his intention to move this motion, I was wondering what had happened to the expression of confidence just weeks ago.  I realized after giving it some thought that the expression of support was made to me when the government was going through some very difficult times due to the disciplinary action I took on one of my Ministers.

In fact, I also had a visit by the Member for Rennell/Bellona.  He called on to me at my office expressing the same kind of support (we are all with you).  I now learn that these so-called supports are not genuine.

I am making this revelation, because at that time if I had offered some ministerial portfolio to them they would have jumped for it and would have no concern whatsoever for any Ministers that would have become victims of such an arrangement.  So much for team work.

Sir, but this Prime Minister is not stupid.  I am not stupid.  Sir, I want to declare on this floor of Parliament that I owed what I am today initially to the loyal 27 Members of Parliament who took that vital decision on the 5th of May 2006 and later the support I got from the Opposition Members who crossed the floor and are now with the government.  I stood on principles and came out of the crisis unscathed.

This scenario exposed a serious weakness of the Opposition Leader and his supporters.  That is, they would be prepared to sacrifice anybody for their personal gain.  Therefore, the proposition advanced by the Leader of the Opposition of “outem leader nomoa and iufala goet” is a manifestation of glaring hypocrisy.

They never had any principles.  This is clearly demonstrated in the positions they are now taking.  The sad truth is, they have sold themselves to the cunning device of Canberra and have become their hopeless victims on this floor of Parliament.  This is very sad and demonstrates total lack of national pride.

Indeed, this is proven by the very personal nature of this motion and the fact that the issues that the Leader of Opposition is now advancing as the basis of this motion are the very garbage that we had been hearing in the Australian and local media outlets.

It proved beyond all shadow of doubt that the Leader of the Opposition and his supporters have consented to be agents of foreign interests to undermine the political leadership in Solomon Islands.  This is nothing short of treason.

Sir, I am seeing here an attempt to repeat what happened to my counterpart, East Timor’s former Prime Minister, Alkatiri.  He was a victim of a well-designed strategy to rescue the dwindling image of an intervention in East Timor, which did more damage to that country.  It is only the quick intervention of the United Nations that is now returning some hope in that country, a position that Solomon Islands may need to look carefully at.

In that respect, the motion before us borders on treason and shows the real colors of the kind of leaders we have in this country, who would stop at nothing to satisfy their own personal egos at the expense of peace and national unity.

I am therefore not surprised that the motion is not about the program of the government but a personal attack against the leadership of this government.  In fact the Leader of the Opposition made that position very clear when he moved the motion based on the reasons that, if I have time, I will discuss in the course of this debate.

Again, it demonstrates how selfish, narrow minded, anti-development and we can basically say power hunger a person can become that they are even prepared to go to the extent of sacrificing sanity and common sense.  It is amazing the desire to serve our own selfish interests could do to a nation.

Just look at us, this Parliament is being held up by people who could not tell the difference between narrow selfish interest and national interest, or tell the difference between serving our nation Solomon Islands and serving the interest of foreign governments.  And I would like to urge all of us to wake up leaders.

Sir, I am saying this because the issues that the Leader of the Opposition is going on about are the very same issues that Canberra is concerned about and capitalized on by a few disgruntled supporters of this motion.

Sir, it is conveniently constructed to isolate the Prime Minister form the members of the Grand Coalition.  This is not a new trick, as I will expound on, if I have to, in the course of this defense.  My question to those who are intending to support this motion, is, how can we leaders be that cheap.

I want to inform this House that I am not cheap.  I have never been and will never be.  When it comes to a point where I need to make a decision between serving the long term interest of my country or the interest of foreign governments, I have decided to stand with the people of Solomon Islands.  Sir, I want to make it very clear to this Parliament that, that has been the premise upon which I carried the decision of this government to the letter.

Sir, I make no apologies whatsoever for all the decisions and actions I took on behalf and at the advice of Her Majesty’s Cabinet in the interest of protecting our sovereignty and to uphold the principles of Cabinet Government system.  This is clearly contrary to the unfounded allegations by the Leader of the Opposition that the Prime minister failed to consult with the members of the Coalition, which I must, I must refute outright.

In this connection, I am also amazed at the amount of interest, as I have said, shown by non-Solomon Islanders in this motion.  We are hearing comments like, “If we do not win this motion this time round, we will have to wait for another year”, a comment by foreigners.

You do not need to have a Masters Degree in Business Administration or a qualified political scientist to conclude that this motion is all about protecting the interest of somebody else.

Sir, I want to make it abundantly clear that this Prime Minister will not allow that to happen, and I do not care what foreign governments are saying.  They can say whatever they would like to say about this Prime Minister, but it will not change my resolve to ensure that Solomon Islands remains a sovereign nation and be respected by our guests in this country.

Talking about treason, Mr Speaker, I am seeing its manifestation in this motion.  If we do not see that, then something is really wrong with us.  I am not surprised, because when people are blinded by false sense of nationalism and concern for good governance, they will do anything, including undermining what we represent as a nation.

Sir, the reference to false sense of nationalism is to counter the extremists who are advancing the concept of ‘Solomon Islands for indigenous Solomon Islanders only’.  This Prime Minister does not share that narrow view because there are non-citizens and non-indigenous who are more Solomon Islanders in their thinking and action than Solomon Islanders themselves.

This motion is a perfect example.  It is nothing more than a desperate attempt, and indeed part of an evil strategy, to protect the strategic interests of foreign forces under the garb of nationalism.

I am also concerned, Sir, in this regard, that the universal principles of good governance have been severely prostituted that they become justification for suppressive actions by foreign interests in this country.  For example, RAMSI was allowed into this country by this Parliament in the name of good governance and yet when the government pursues programs in pursuit of these very principles, we are criticized and abused in the media.  What is wrong with us?

It becomes a situation where if the exercise of good governance would expose foreign interests’ weaknesses in this country, it is considered an unfriendly act and therefore must be discontinued immediately.  One begins to question our real motives. 

Sir, it is also clear that this country is reeling in confusion between the demands of two regimes, and we are approaching a point in time, where if we continue to be careless, the fine line between the two regimes would become extinct.

The first regime is the Solomon Islands duly elected Government, whose leader is now facing a foreign influenced vote of no-confidence and the second regime is the one established under the Facilitating Act, which allowed the unreserved control of the legitimate systems in this country by foreign governments.

What is shocking is the visible attempt by the foreign backed regime to systematically nurture Solomon Islanders into disliking their own elected government, through a well planned strategy that ranged from discrediting leadership to branding the government as incapable of delivering to the people because it is eye-deep in corruption.  To guarantee a foot-hold, the country is conveniently branded as a ‘Failed State’.

            The sad thing is that the local sponsors of this motion are not aware that they are being led into it by people who do not give a damn about good governance, transparency and accountability in this country, as is clearly demonstrated in the way Canberra is stopping at nothing to destroy the Commission of Inquiry into the April riot.  (And I am not ashamed to say that)

            Sir, it is clear that there is a network both locally and abroad that is masterminding this motion, however, the Opposition may want to deny it.  For example, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) did not hide the fact that the Leader of the Opposition and his group is supporting Australia in the latest actions of the government.

            The partnership is bent on achieving its objectives through an aggressive media campaign conveniently targeting the ignorant population of Australia and Solomon Islands.  Solomon Star has become an important partner in the political propaganda, publishing only anti-government articles.

            This is very clear in the number of deliberate misreporting that is going on in the media, both locally and in Australia, and a tactic of one sided attack on the government by the print media.  Letters to the Editor and private view column in support of the government were not published.  They would have done the same in the SIBC if it were a private institution.

            Sir, it is sad to see that a once reputable paper, the Solomon Star Newspaper has allowed itself to be an agent in this process, and directly working against the people of Solomon Islands.  I am not surprised because foreign interests have their agents there, right there in the office.  There is a deliberate strategy to prioritize issues against the government by giving these issues the front pages.  This is how desperate they are.

            If anybody knows about how newspapers are arranged, matters that appear in the front page are considered important.  By putting government’s responses to public queries in the middle pages, the Publisher is actively taking sides with those who are anti-government in the media debate.  As the Minister responsible for media in the country, I am watching this development with great concern.

            The pertinent question is, why would foreigners who are nothing more than guests in this country take interest in this motion and are actively involved in getting support for it.

            There could only be one reason.  There are people who stand to lose if the GCCG under the strong leadership of this Prime Minister continues in office so they are throwing their support behind the Leader of the Opposition and his very small group and see this motion and the Leader of the Opposition as their savior.  The sad thing is that the Leader of the Opposition and his group are too blind to see.

            I am surprised that the Opposition Group in Parliament can be so naïve to agree to be their agents.  Where is our sense of national pride?  Where?

            This country is sick and tired of puppet governments that have allowed themselves to be pulled by the nose and are willing to sacrifice our sovereignty.  That is indeed the alternative government that the Leader of Opposition is impliedly proposing in this motion. One cannot be any more careless than that.

Sir, we are behaving as if this country has not suffered enough yet.  It is about time that somebody stands up and says enough is enough, and return the ownership and control of this country to Solomon Islanders.

Indeed, the actions and decisions that I will be obliged to explain in the course of my response, and which the Leader of the Opposition is now questioning on the floor of this Parliament, were taken and made in the best interest of returning that control and ownership to Solomon Islanders.  I make no apologies whatsoever for making them.

Sir, it begs the question whether the Leader of the Opposition and his group still consider themselves Solomon Islanders and have the concern of Solomon Islands and its people at heart because the way they have been reacting and behaving themselves suggest that they should immediately stop calling themselves Solomon Islanders. 

I must again ask this question, where is our sense of nationalism and pride as Solomon Islanders?  What the Leader of Opposition was moaning and groaning about and wasting Parliament time has nothing to do with the ability of the Prime Minister to lead as mentioned earlier.  He is confusing strong leadership with dictatorship.

I am also flabbergasted by the thought that the Leader of the Opposition has allowed his vanity to take the best of him.  It is a well-timed motion, capitalizing on the public reaction to the series of tough decisions that were taken by the Prime Minister on behalf of the Cabinet.  That brings me to a very interesting point and that is, while the focus of this motion is usually on the Prime Minister, very little attention is normally given to the mover.  I consider this to be a very important point.

I am saying this because in moving the motion, the Hon Leader of Opposition and his group are effectively saying that a better option is found in their group.  This is a challenge that I dare not pass without sharing my thoughts.

All this nonsense about “outem Prime Minister no moa and iufalla go het” is just a smoke screen.  The Deputy Prime Minister says it well: How can a person who contested the prime minister’s post and even went to the extent of resorting to acts that border on undue influence to win the race will just give away this office if this motion were to be successful.  It is nonsense.

Sir, I would have no problem accepting his proposition to resign or be voted out of this office if I can be convinced that I am an hypocrite, dishonest, weak, indecisive, lacking in vision, a puppet of foreign government influences, having no concern for the people of this country especially those in the rural areas, undermining the country’s sovereignty, and a threat to peace and national unity.  You prove that to me and I will agree to that proposition.

Sir, I challenge the Opposition to prove that I am found wanting on these scores.  So far, nothing at all.  I believe these are issues that really matter.

Sir, I am seriously concerned about being accused of the foregoing which what this motion is really saying.  But I would like to challenge the Leader of Opposition and his supporters to be honest about themselves regarding these qualities and issues.

Since he is personally attacking the Prime Minister’s quality based on the principle of confidence, and has been heavily involved in questioning the moral life of the new Attorney General, he must be prepared to hear and face up with his own political and moral standing.

The wording of the motion itself is interesting, “That the National Parliament resolves that it has no confidence on the Prime Minister”.  The key word here is “confidence”, which literally means “trust in a person or thing”, or “trust or a trustful relationship”, and therefore carries with it a range of personal qualities and leadership issues, including leadership style.

In other words, the Leader of Opposition is literally begging Parliament to doubt and question the Prime Minister’s worth; reliability; honesty, steadfastness, commitment to principles, respect for the rule of law, honesty, respect for the country’s sovereignty, and the list goes on.

In other words, what the Leader of the Opposition is saying is that the Prime Minister is a person that simply cannot be trusted because he lacks all the qualities of leadership as outlined earlier. By whom may I ask?

Sir, I sympathize with the supporters of this motion because they are caught in a situation where they need to be honest with the people of this country that they are indeed concern about them.  The people of this country are not stupid, as we would like to think.

In fact, the more we are acting like this, it is us who must indeed be concern about our behaviors in this House.  Our people are reading our actions and decisions like open books.

They know who is hypocrite, dishonest, weak, pretends to be concern about them when they are in fact advancing foreign interests, indecisive, lacking vision, and puppets of foreign governments and the list goes on.  I guess what I am saying is, let us not make a total fool of ourselves in this House and pretend to be speaking on behalf of the people when we are not.

I am taking this line of debate because in preparing for this motion, the Leader of the Opposition and his supporters are even going to the extent of pursuing a tactic of blackmailing and lying.

The MP for Rendova and Tetepari was approached by the Leader of Opposition with a message that the Prime Minister was going to sack five Ministers when he returns from New York.  A prominent supporter of this motion approached a supporter of the Member for East Makira to beg him to cross the floor and has been actively doing that to other members of the government bench.  Only desperate people go to that extent.

 

They are even stupid enough to try to get the support of the Member for Temotu Nende, a staunch supporter of this Prime Minister and the tough decisions we are taking on national issues.

Sir, I would be concerned about this motion if I am being accused for undermining our national interest, but I am not.  My decisions, which were taken on the advice of Cabinet, painful though those decisions may have been to some people, were taken in the best interest of this country, especially those who have been so attached to the foreign regime. 

To those people my advice to them is Solomon Islands is their country, and they must now start to see things through the eyes of Solomon Islanders.

Contrary to what I am hearing from the Opposition, I am not a Prime Minister, who takes pleasure in sacking Ministers for personal reasons, nor am I depending on outside advice and influence to take such actions.

Sacking is an action that is reserved only for cases where a Minister’s actions or inaction amounts to gross negligence or where by such actions, the Minister is implying that he or she can no longer be a faithful member of Her Majesty’s Cabinet.

I have so far taken that action on the former Minister of Commerce, Industries and Employment, because, as I read it, his actions were clearly contrary to the joint position of the Grand Coalition and therefore a serious breach of the fundamental principles of Cabinet Government System.  But I am just putting him on hold.  I’ll decide later on to move him through the system and back to Cabinet.  It is just a small disciplinary process.  That is how this side of the House does business.  It values all our human beings.  As time goes on, we will do it.

Sir, I was surprised to hear that the reason why I took the action against the former Minister was because I was trying to protect the General Secretary of the SOCRED Party, who it was claimed is living illegally in Solomon Islands and was involved in Solomon Islands’ politics being a non-citizen.

These allegations are groundless, and we were legally advised that the restrictions contained in the work permit could be successfully challenged under the Constitution and therefore constitutionally incorrect.  The person concerned has a valid immigration document.  In any case, the court is open for any one who does not agree with our views to challenge it, instead of moaning and groaning about it.  This is a perfect example of people trying to justify their actions and not willing to admit their weaknesses.

I am saying this because the recent behaviors and comments by the proponents of this motion clearly demonstrate that they have no concern for national issues.  These people are only concern more about issues, which are personal to them and have nothing to do with advancing the welfare of Solomon Islands and Solomon Islanders.  It begs the question whether we deserve to call ourselves Solomon Islanders. 

On the question of worthiness, this Prime Minister does not believe in boasting about himself and his achievements, although I can without reservation say that he has served his country well as a committed public servant and politician.  He was raised through the ranks of the public service from the humble beginning as toilet cleaner and tea boy to the Commissioner of Inland Revenue, Permanent Secretary, Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition and Prime Minister of this country through nothing less than hard work and sweat.  And so understands the hardship that many low paid workers in this country have to go through to make ends meet.  Not like some people who from the university come and hold the big posts. 

This Prime Minister comes through as a toilet cleaner.  But he initiated the first major tax reform in this country that saw a major shift of the burden of taxation from direct to indirect tax and the introduction of the goods tax, which he researched, and drafted the effecting legislation without the help of the Attorney General Chambers because they do not have the slightest clue of what to do.

He had guns pointed to his head many times during the ethnic tension when he was the Prime Minister during 2000 – 2001 but did not ask to be decorated with medals and titles, and we can go on.

I guess what I am trying to say is, let others praise you if you are worthy to be praised.  When somebody starts to talk about himself, he is having a serious problem.  I am hurt when my personal worth as a Solomon Islander who served this country well and is serious about the long-term survival of this country as an independent sovereign state is called into question. I have not at any stage let this country down, and I must refute any allegations to that effect.

Steadfastness is a serious matter too.  It carries with it the idea of a focused sense of direction; a steady leader that is not easily swayed by pressures or the desire to be somebody.  This Prime Minister is committed to ensure that the development program of the GCCG is carried out fully by Ministers who have been assigned these responsibilities, nothing more and nothing less.

This is a serious collective responsibility, which we as a government had committed ourselves to and we would be simply irresponsible to treat it lightly.

Our goal is rural development and this government will not be swayed by anything, or anybody in our endeavor to attain that development goal.  It is a goal that the GCCG is committed to achieve under the leadership of the present Prime Minister.  By moving this motion, the Leader of the Opposition is effectively rubbishing our joint commitment.  Nothing more could have been very insulting, arrogant and a slap on the face of every grassroots of this country as this motion.

Commitment to principles, which the motion also impliedly question, touches at the very heart of what strong leadership is all about.  I feel insulted when somebody just out of the blue alleged that my Ministers and I are not guided by any principles.  In this regard, I am totally disappointed at the continual allegation that Solomon Islands is eye deep in corruption by the Australian Prime Minister and his Foreign Affairs Minister.

Sir, I made it very clear when we took office in May this year that this government is committed to deal with the issue of corruption head on.  What I meant was that the government will be supporting and work very closely with the established system to hunt down those who are corrupt.

In fact, we are surprised that we have been accused of not doing anything about it, when the targets of the accusation of corruption are politicians.  We are just as desperate to see the RAMSI Anti-Corruption Unit do its work quickly and lock up corrupt leaders.

In respect of this matter, we are also concern that while Australia is so concern about transparency and accountability in the operation of government system, it is prepared to sacrifice them for its own good.  I am sure the Australian taxpayers would also like to know and indeed are entitled to know how their taxes are being used in Solomon Islands.

We are concern about a possible situation of cronyism where the agencies employed are reported to be close associates of certain political parties in Australia.  If this is true, what we have here is legalized money laundering in Solomon Islands.

Respect for the Rule of Law that the government under my leader is impliedly accused in this motion is a serious allegation.  In fact, I must refute any slightest thought by any one both here and abroad that this government takes pleasure in deliberately trampling upon the laws of this country.

I am not surprised at the allegation of disrespect for law because the Opposition has been going around saying that the Prime Minister along with some of his Ministers would be arrested very soon for their involvement in inciting the April riot. 

The Opposition was actually quoted as saying that this information comes from a reliable source.  I am surprised that we can be so blinded by our hunger for power that we are willing to sacrifice our nationalism and become helpless victims of foreign interest.

There is also the allegation that the Government has misused $1.8 million.  What $1.8 million, may I ask?  There have also been allegations that the Prime Minister operates a “schemes and cults”.  I am shocked by such unfounded allegations that were based on nothing more than the motive of looking for reasons to tarnish the image of this Prime Minister.

I am also shocked to learn that the government is soliciting support from the logging companies to support its efforts to defeat this motion of no confidence.  They are even talking about the government asking $400,000 from logging companies.

I am not surprised at such an allegation because this is the kind of strategy they have been employing when they were in Government, may be.  The Opposition Leader himself as proven by documents that we have in our possession attempted to bribe certain Members here, and I do not want to go into that. 

I am raising this concern because I am sick to my stomach when I hear people advancing themselves as Mr Clean when they know fully well that they have a lot of cleaning up to do.  If the Leader of Opposition and their foreign masters think that this side of the House is involved in soliciting the support of financiers to defeat this motion, you better think again.

I want to make it clear that as far as this Prime Minister is concerned, this Government was established by divine intervention and we do not need to bribe Members of Parliament to commit their loyalty to the government.  That would be clearly contrary to the will of God and an insult to him who is our protector.

Sir, he opened the Red Sea when all hope is gone for the nation of Israel.  He made water to flow from the rock, manna to fall from Heaven, and quails to fly into the camp of Israel when the basic survival of the nation of Israel was at stake.  The walls of Jericho came tumbling down and all that Israel had to do was to walk around the city when Israel had to establish its foot-hold in Palestine.  With all these marvelous deeds of God, how could I resort to sorcery, devil priests and bribery to fight this motion?

The outcome of this motion is in the hands of God.  The God that we Solomon Islanders profess to serve and under whose name, oaths and pledges are taken by Members of this Honorable House to be loyal to course of our people.  How would I a mortal human being, who has personally experienced his leading throughout my life-time, will doubt him now.  So much for that.

Honesty is a serious matter.  It is an embracing principle that extends to the way we conduct our selves inside and outside of our official duties.  It extends to the way we relate to our families and our wives.  This Prime Minister does not claim that he has no problem on this front.  My actions are open but the difference is that the affairs of this Prime Minister are transparent.  It is dealt with through the courts system of this country. 

Can the Leader of the Opposition look me in the eyes and say the same about himself?  I mean we can go on and talk about issues of personal integrity because that is what people normally jump to in their assessment of leadership quality.  What have been reported to me are serious Leadership Code issues, which we will leave it at that.  If people want to pursue it they can pursue it.

It was televised in the ABC that the Solomon Islands Opposition is siding with Australia in the recent diplomatic row between Honiara and Canberra.  I am not surprised because the present Opposition was in fact the puppet government that ruled from 2002 to 2005 who wasted four precious years allowing others to run this country. 

I can understand that Australia would obviously feel comfortable with them because they are amenable to them, not with this Prime Minister.  This Prime Minister stands for national interest and will defend it with his life.

Having made those general comments, I am now obliged to make some explanations leveled at the Prime Minister by the Leader of Opposition and his supporters. The Opposition’s allegation can be neatly categorized into five points, as rightly pointed out by the Leader of Opposition.

 

(1)                The Prime Minister abused the sovereignty of this nation in his handling of national issues;

(2)                That the Prime Minister interfered in the work of the Judiciary in the setting of the Commission of Inquiry into the April Civil riot in Honiara and his public statements on the country’s Judicial system, and alleging foreign interference in the judiciary;

(3)                That the Prime Minister used corrupt practices in governance, for example, hand-picking of public servants, employing own security service at the Prime Minister’s Office;

(4)                That the Prime Minister has misplaced priorities.  Instead of inquiring into the whole ethnic tension, he merely wanted to look into the China Town riots;

(5)                That the Prime Minister has failed to properly address corruption allegations waged by the Government and supporters on the opposition groups;

 

These are serious allegations and I would like this House to bear with me for some minutes because I would like to explain, may be some of them.

On allegation of abuse of sovereignty, the Opposition must be joking when they say that the actions of the Prime Minister amount to abuse of sovereignty.  Are we all right, Mr Speaker?  This is a perfect example of the confused state that the Leader of the Opposition and the supporters of this motion have allowed themselves to be in.  Are you telling me that the action of declaring the former head of the Australian Mission to Solomon Islands who has been directly and actively involved in undermining our sovereignty is abusing our sovereignty?  I cannot understand that.

By the same token, are you telling me that the action taken against the former AG, who with malicious intentions exposed confidential information is abuse of sovereignty?  We cannot be serious because these actions were taken in the very interest of protecting our sovereignty.

If the reference to abusing sovereignty is the way this Prime Minister used that argument to take the controversial actions and decisions then I must express my deepest concern about his loyalty to this country.  He apparently does not appreciate being a member of this Honorable Chamber.

On misplaced priorities:  Inquiry not enough to address cause of ethnic crisis, and I think the Minister of Education has cleared this point and so I need not to go into detail.  On the allegation of misplaced priorities and failure to address the cause of the ethnic crisis, I can only refer the Leader of Opposition to His Excellency’s Speech.  The Commission of Inquiry to the April riot is part of a comprehensive strategy to address the cause of the crisis.  The other two Commissions are the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as pointed by the Minister for Education and of course inquiry on lands in Guadalcanal.

On leadership style:  The Leader of the Opposition alleged that one of the grounds of the motion is that the Prime Minister is dictatorial, but not really defining what he meant by the term.  But reading from what he is on about, the Opposition is claiming that my alleged interference with the work of the Judiciary, the Police and the Legislature is being seen by them as dictatorship.  It is very possible that one could confuse strong leadership with dictatorial.

In his latest media interview, the Leader of Opposition alleged that the Prime Minister is too proud and does not consult with his Cabinet and Caucus colleagues before taking controversial actions and decisions.  I feel personally insulted by such a branding.

I do not blame the Leader of Opposition for being very narrow minded in this matter because he was part of a puppet government for most of the Seventh Session that he is shocked when this Prime Minister took the stand to remind Australia that Solomon Islands is a sovereign state and cannot bow to the dictates of foreign governments.

Sir, I must also refute his allegation that I did not consult Cabinet in all the decisions I took.  This is a perfect example of basing arguments on rumors.  This is the highest decision making body of the land and we who find ourselves privileged to be its members are expected to act responsibly.  You cannot just go around making unfounded allegations to support your cause.

Contrary to the unfounded allegations of the Leader of the Opposition and his supporters, this Prime Minister is a staunch defender of Cabinet government system, and the rule of law, and will not tolerate those who think they can undermine it and go unpunished.  So I do not know where this allegation of the Prime Minister not consulting his Cabinet comes from.

On the Commission of Inquiry: the controversial Terms of Reference and Interference with the work of Judiciary.  Public debate on the Commission of Inquiry was deliberately taken totally out of context, and unfortunately driven by the determination of the Australian Government to see that the Commission of Inquiry is frustrated to protect their narrow selfish interest.

This is very sad, indeed, because RAMSI, which is dominated by the Australia Government, was allowed into this country by none other than this very Parliament in the name of good governance, transparency, accountability and responsibility.  By actively undermining the COI, the Australian Government is basically saying that it does not believe in what it says.  This is very confusing to me.

This brings up a whole lot of question on the commitment of Canberra who is very heavily involved in the Regional Assistance Mission.  The ball is in the court of Canberra to tell the region that it is committed to the process of good governance.  What is demonstrated so far is saying the very opposite.

The question of the Commission of Inquiry (COI) interfering in the judicial process is a non issue, as far as this side of the House is concerned because the court has ruled loud and clear.  To question that process on the floor of this Parliament would amount to contempt of court.

The Government however is seriously concern that the discussions and arguments on the COI has been unfairly narrowed down to the issue of the controversial TORs without appreciating that the COI is part of the country’s comprehensive peace process which included that Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the inquiry land issues on Guadalcanal under the former TPA.

It is the conviction of this government that lasting peace cannot come to Solomon Islands, until and unless all the underlying issues are fully addressed.

The purpose of establishing the three commissions is to approach the peace process through a comprehensive strategy to inquire into the causes of the problems that the country is now struggling to cope with.

The reason for this comprehensive approach is clearly demonstrated by the fact that the suppressive strategy entertained by the country thus far did not work.

I made the point in my address to the nation that one need not to have a formal degree on conflict resolution to know how to address our peace process.  It must be fully understood by all Solomon Islanders that the issues that sparked the ethnic crisis are cultural and custom in nature, not legal.

For any foreigners to think that they will address peace in Solomon Islands by a heavy handed legalistic approach is a wishful thinking.  Indeed, if the mere existence of law and order is a strategy to address peace in Solomon Islands, then it certainly failed us.

Law and order was in existence in the period leading to 2000 but it quickly collapsed when Solomon Islanders themselves decided to take that very law and order into their own hands.  Here is a perfect example of the fact that the issues that promote unity and understanding far outweighs the enforcing of the law itself and is more sustainable.

It is on this premise that the government is concerned about the heavy-handed, legalistic approach to addressing the problem of this country, as clearly manifested in the way the country’s peace process had been handled.  Unless this trend is reversed now, we will be in danger of driving this country down the path of another ethnic conflict that could be more serious.

The Engagement of Julian Moti as the New AG:  People are talking about the former AG.  If there is anybody who has very close affinity to the former AG, it is this person.  Mr Speaker, he is my in-law.  He married my daughter.  The concerns raised are that the Prime Minister does not have a heart.  He sacked people left and right.  He does not care about people. 

On the issue of the new Attorney General I can only comment on the question concerning the manner in which he is appointed.  The engagement of the new Attorney General of Solomon Islands was done constitutionally and procedurally, contrary to all the nonsense I am hearing in the media. 

It makes me sick to my stomach to hear Solomon Islanders pretending to be concern about procedures and the laws of this country when their very act is supporting the arguments to the contrary makes them total hypocrites.

The manner in which the new Attorney General was appointed to the post was consistent with they way all former Attorney Generals were appointed to the office.  As a matter of fact, the office of the Attorney General is a public office established under the Constitutional, and Section 42(2) of the Constitutional is very clear on how appointments are made to the office.  The Judicial and Legal Services Commission makes the appointment acting on the advice of the Prime Minister.

His manner of appointment to the office of the Attorney General is consistent with the constitutional rationale that the constitutional office of the Attorney General is held at the pleasure of the Government of the day, because he/she is the principal advisor to the Government and Cabinet.  Neither the Constitution nor Solomon Islands law provide otherwise.

It is important therefore in that context that the holder of that office must be trusted by the government.  The position of trustworthiness is so powerful that it ranks above any other arguments including localization because it is totally possible for a local incumbent to be untrustworthy.  Therefore, in addition to the incumbent being holder of relevant legal qualifications, he or she must be a person that the government can work with.

Concerns are expressed that a non-citizen would leak out state secrets because the Attorney General has access to Cabinet Meetings and confidential documents and therefore a local incumbent is advisable.  I have this to say that the Government had just gone through hell with a local incumbent in that regard.  He has no regard for state secrets.  So where does that leave the Government? 

I am therefore baffled at the groundless concerns raised by a number of Solomon Islands citizens including senior citizens about the manner in which the case of the former Attorney General was dealt with.

The two former Attorney Generals did not make any fuss when they were asked to move out of the office, and I cannot just see any justification in the very protective attitude of the immediate former Attorney General.

The fact that Australia is making a lot of fuss over this issue brings up a lot of question.  What interest does Australia have in the work of the office of the Attorney General?  Considering the fact that the Attorney General is the principal legal advisor to the Government and Cabinet, it is just logical for the Government to be concern when the behavior of the incumbent is antagonistic to the Government.

The Office of the Attorney General plays a crucial role in the implementation of government programs and therefore the incumbent must be tuned and amendable to the direction to which the Government of the day is taking the country.

This is where the Government is most concern when the former Solomon Islander incumbent was clearly working against the Government on the Commission of Inquiry and in doing so working against a very important peace strategy.

If a so-called indigenous Solomon Islander who is supposed to be concerned about the long-term peace and stability of this country is working with the Australian Government against the Solomon Islands Government, where does that leave us?

Do you expect the Government to just fold its hands and give in to the dictates of foreign governments and do whatever they like?  Over my dead body, Mr Speaker.  This is my country and I cannot just sit down and allow the Australian Government to continue to bully us over issues of national importance like the proposed Commission of Inquiry.

This is where I find the new Attorney General different.  Although he is not an indigenous Solomon Islander, he has more heart for Solomon Islands people than Solomon Islanders themselves.

In this respect, I am extremely disappointed at the attitude of so-called well to do Solomon Islanders, openly working against their Government, pretending to be concern about issues of good governance.  They ought to be ashamed of themselves.  It is obvious that many Solomon Islanders have yet to come to terms with the problems that this country has gone through and behaving as if everything is just normal.  This is shocking and I am asking leaders to start acting like real Solomon Islanders.

I guess you have to be in Government or even be the leader of the government like the Member for East Choisel during the time when there was virtually no law and order to fully appreciate the seriousness of the issues I am talking about now, and the need to come up with strategic policies to address the situation.

I am surprised and extremely disappointed that some Solomon Islanders and surprisingly educated Solomon Islanders cannot simply see the wisdom in what their government is doing to address lasting peace in this country, but would rather work with the Australian Government to undermine these very important programs.  We should stop calling ourselves Solomon Islanders and migrate to Australia if that would help you get over your misery.

My point here, Mr Speaker is, this Government of the people of Solomon Islands has a program to address lasting peace in this country and we expect every public officer to work with the Government to implement this program, not working against it.

It is just common sense, if you cannot work with the Government than it would be simply inappropriate for the Government to continue to keep you in service.  This is commonsense, and you do not need any formal qualification to understand.

This is where I find the Country’s new Attorney General different.  He is determined like the government to go to the underlying issues that caused this country to collapse in year 2000, which to date have yet to be fully addressed by the Solomon Islands Government in partnership with RAMSI.

It is obviously that Australia is scared of this appointment, and this is very clearly said in the newspapers, and is making every attempt to frustrate it.  This was clearly demonstrated in their latest action to arrest him in Papua New Guinea for issues that have long been settled.  They should be ashamed of themselves for working against the elected government of Solomon Islands.  What kind of Helpem Fren ia?

The absurdity about this whole thing is that Mr Moti has been going in and out of Australia for the last 10 years after he was acquitted by the Vanuatu Magistrates Court and yet no attempt was made by the Australian Government to arrest him if indeed the alleged crime committed by Mr Moti was serious, as it now appears to be.

The raw truth here, is, that Canberra is not worried about Mr Moti or any one for that matter.  In fact this drama is not about Mr Moti or the alleged crime.  No.  Rather it is a manifestation of how far Canberra is prepared to go to frustrate the proposed Commission of Inquiry into the Honiara April civil unrest.  That is the issue here. 

They are prepared to even shoot down their own citizens and tarnish their image as they did with former justice Marcus Einfeld, who has given 40 years of outstanding service to the Australian Judiciary Service, and it is only when he was appointed to head the Commission of Inquiry that he became a criminal.  He has 40 years of powerful service. 

The Government is aware of a number of high level corruption that were conveniently brushed under the carpet all these years by people who have direct interest in these issues.  They are dead scared that if Mr Moti took up the office of the Attorney General, he will expose these corruptions.  Just wait for it. 

I must at this floor of Parliament condemn in no uncertain terms the latest action of the Australian Government to arrest the Solomon Island’s new Attorney General.  This is a grossly unfriendly act and a direct attack on our sovereignty, and a disrespect of the constitutionally established institutions in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.  It is as intimated earlier, a clear demonstration of the extent to which Australia is willing to go in pursuing its own interest and agenda in Solomon Islands.

It now brings into question the genuineness of Australia’s involvement in the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands and whether it is now time for the Solomon Islands Parliament to exercise its powers under the Facilitating Act to review Australia’s participation in RAMSI, and may be it is now time to involve other regions as Asia in the area of law and order and the development of the Judiciary.

I want to make it abundantly clear on the floor of this Parliament that the Solomon Islands Government will not take this unwarranted attack on our sovereignty lightly.  It is not right. 

In fact the government is seriously concerned about what is clearly a strategy of selective justice entertained in this country as well, and unless it is put on check now, we will face up with the consequences in the not too distant future.

In this regard the government is seriously concerned about the un-Solomon attitude of some well to do Solomon Islanders and until these people come around to appreciate these problems and where this country is heading, we will be forever controlled by foreign governments.  A perfect ingredient for revolt and lawlessness.

It needs to be appreciated that what happened on the 5th of June 2000 is a result of people’s dissatisfaction of development strategies that were simply insensitive to the feelings of Solomon Islanders.  We would do well to learn from the lessons of the past. 

I am extremely disappointed at the attitude of leaders regarding this matter and as long as I am in position of responsibility, I am determined to fight these injustices and return the control and ownership of this country to the people of Solomon Islands.

On the 100 Days Program (allegation of non delivery of Promises. 

The GCCG is in for the long haul and does not entertain the childish attitude of political point scoring at the expense of our people.  The 100 days strategy is nothing more than a load of political garbage which adds more to confusing implementers who would in all cases confused with what the government of the day is trying to say in its 100 days program.

We have, as you would hear from the Speech from the Throne delivered by His Excellency, moved forward in our joint policy statements to formulating a work program and a development plan that would address medium and long term strategy of the country.

I would like to take this opportunity to assure all Solomon Islanders that your Government is fully committed to deliver on its development strategies which has as its important focus rural development.  We therefore have no time for this motion.

Reference is made by some Members of Parliament that the GCCG is talking too much about rural development and the bottom up approach development and yet has delivered very little.  This people are either deaf or blind or are simply stubborn and irrational.

This Government is just five months old.  Rural development and the bottom-up approach to development are a major redirection in national development strategy and need a lot of preparation.  Moreover, it needs a budget to deliver.  Most, if not all, members of the Opposition Bench and the president of the National Party of Solomon Islands who criticized the government openly in the SIBC are fully aware of the budgetary process.  The 2006 Budget does not belong to the GCCG, and therefore our hands are tired when it comes to the use of the allocations.

It is simply stupidity for anyone in this Honorable House, especially the Opposition to insist that the GCCG must deliver on its election promises immediately.  I am surprised that people can be so blinded by personal hatred of the Prime Minister and are even willing to throw away their sanity.

Of course, the government is entitled to tell the nation what its national development plans and strategies are.  Nothing is wrong with that.  In fact what we are telling the people of this nation are what we are planning to deliver through the implementation of the 2007 national budget.

That does not need an expert in government finance to appreciate.  I can understand if members of the opposition bench and their agents outside criticize the government during the implementation of the 2007 budget.  You are barking too early.

The Australian High Commissioner:  The issue of the expulsion of the former head of the Australian Mission to Solomon Islands has been extensively debated in the media and the government has taken the initiative to explain it to the people of Solomon Islands and Australia for that matter and therefore we consider it an expired issue.

I am surprised that some people in this House continue to discuss this matter and are over protective of the former head of the Australian mission to Solomon Islands.  I have this to say to these people, grow up and have some sense of pride in your country.  This person does not deserve one ounce of sympathy.  As a guest of this country, he has no right whatsoever to meddle in Solomon Islands domestic affairs.

As a former Solomon Islands High Commissioner to Australia, the Member for North Vella La Vella, should remember that Solomon Islands did not make any fuss over the children over board issue, the AWB scandal, the abuse of Aborigines in prison cells, the mishandling of the East Timor intervention, lawlessness in the streets of Sydney and the list goes on.

Just imagine how Australia would have reacted if we had asked our High Commissioner in Canberra to go around in Australia and campaign against these issues.  He would be sent home on the first available flight.

Handpicking People for Appointment to Public Service posts:  I was also accused of handpicking people to fill important posts in the public service.  I have this question to ask, Mr Speaker.  Do we have any good things to talk about?  If the Leader of the Opposition is thinking that the Prime Minister will chicken off and make excuses on this allegation, well I am not.

I stood by the people I appoint to public office.  If you can convince me that what I did was illegal, I do not see why people are so concern about that style of appointing people to public office.

People who jump up and down on such an issue do so without giving the matter enough thought.  There is a tendency to associate such appointments with nepotism, cronyism and corruption.  I am fully mindful of that and if it can be of any comfort to anyone, this Prime Minister is not naïve and stupid to be easy prey of people who are so narrow-minded to only look at the negatives in life.

In case we forget, the GCCG is a political grouping that owes its existence to its ability to deliver on its promises.  This is a reality that people who are quick to criticize government’s actions on this matter do not appreciate.  In fact it is easy to criticize when one is not directly responsible for government’s inaction and failure to deliver.

Political governments survive or fall on their ability or inability to match their election promises with positive actions.  It is important therefore that the people who are entrusted with the responsibility to assist the government to achieve its election promises are trustworthy and serve the political government with utmost commitment and loyalty.

A sensible way of getting the right people is by way of direct appointment to these important offices.  This is exactly what the government has done in the appointment of the Permanent Secretaries, Attorney General, and political posts in the Prime Minister’s Office.  And for the record, I make no apologies whatsoever for taking that action because it is done in the best interest of the Government and its development program.

Relationship with Colleague Ministers: I was accused for entertaining a dictatorial style of leadership and therefore my relationship with my Ministers and colleagues have deteriorated.

Are we running out of any good reasons to justify the moving of this motion?  I am saying this because I fail to see how I exert my role as the coordinating Minister to amount to dictatorial.  There is a difference between strong leadership and dictatorial.  Strong leadership carries with it the notion of responsible leadership where error is called by its name and dealt with firmly.

Dictatorial is irresponsible leadership where the ultimate objective is absolute power.  I do not see how this Prime Minister could even contemplate such a thought when our system of government demands and operates on collective decision making process.

I must refute in the strongest possible terms that I ever exerted my authority over my Ministers to develop an inferior/superior relationship.

I am insulted by such inferences.  If the Opposition Leader is concern about my handling of matters relating to the discipline of members of the group then he is overstepping his jurisdiction.

On the allegation of failing to address corruption, I am surprised that the Leader of the Opposition is accusing the government on this.  We are also concern that the so-called ‘big-fish’ are still walking around.  We made it very clear when we took up office that we will cooperate with the RAMSI anti-corruption squad to address corruption.

On the fear that we may lose Australian aid, I have touched that issue during the moving of the Motion of Sine Die, and so I do not need to go through it again. 

In conclusion, on the basis of the arguments I have presented before this House, the only sensible conclusion as to the real motive of this motion by the Opposition is to please the Australian Government.  I am saying this because the domestic and foreign media were littered with the same issues that the Leader of the Opposition was moaning and groaning about in the media in support of them. 

He is now using the same issues in this honorable house to justify his argument to vote the duly elected Prime Minister of this country out of office.  I find his reasoning totally absurd, to say the least, because it directly contradicts his claim of caring about the future of this country. 

I am total disappointed that the Opposition Group who present themselves as the alternative government or government in waiting as the Leader of Opposition puts it, can be so selfish and arrogant so as to place the interest of foreign forces before the interest of this country.  In taking that position, the Opposition Group has declared itself before this House totally unfit to lead this country.

Their real agenda is to place this country further in the hands of foreigners.  I am not surprised because that was exactly what they did during their term in office.

They were so careless to the extent of giving the full authority to run this country to foreign governments who hide behind the guise of having concern for the welfare of Solomon Islanders, when in fact they were really concern about their own strategic interests in this country.  That is gross carelessness.

With all these, nobody in his right frame of mind would lend their support to this motion.  As long as I am in this position, I will continue to ensure that the country’s sovereignty is protected.

I have done nothing wrong, my actions and decisions are as open book for people to see.  I have adhered to the principles of Cabinet Government system and put the interest of this country before my own.  Accordingly, I oppose this motion.  God bless Solomon Islands. 

 

(loud applause)

 

Mr HAOMAE:  Mr Speaker, I shall be very brief.  I am prompted to take the floor of Parliament at the dispelling notion that the Member for Small Malaita is a chief or not a Solomon Islander.

            Mr Speaker, the motion of no confidence we are debating at this time is in order.  I have no problem with the motion.  That is the price we pay for deciding to be a democracy.  I am used to heated debate in this Parliament because the grass gets disturbed whenever elephants either fight or make love.  So I am use to such a situation.

            Mr Speaker, my intention to contribute to this motion is not to belittle anyone, especially my friend, the honorable Prime Minister.  I was his Deputy Prime Minister in a previous government when this country was at its knees.  I was also his Minister of Police, Justice and National Security at that point in time.  I was the deputy Government Leader to the Ceasefire negotiations, and with the honorable Member for Savo, I was then the deputy leader of the Government delegation to the negotiations of the Townsville Peace Agreement in Australia.  I was also the deputy leader of the Government delegation to the Marau Peace Agreement negotiations.  So I do not wish and it is not my intention to belittle anyone or even to criticize the honorable Prime Minister. 

            Sir, I will be speaking from the perspective of a personal conscience.  Not as a member of the government or a member of the Opposition group but on conscience, as the Member for Shortlands is asking every one of us.

            Mr Speaker, we have to use the mirror of the past to project in the future and so therefore, the issue of sovereignty has been raised in this Parliament.  My reading of that is that the definition of sovereignty has been made limited in its application. The fundamental or ultimate meaning or definition of sovereignty is the government as a country.  In that sense, Mr Speaker, I have served in a number of governments that run this country.  I stood head and shoulder with the Member for West Makira at that time, the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands to protect the sovereignty of this country.  So I am a Solomon Islander. 

To say that some members of the Opposition are not Solomon Islanders is not true.  I wish to dispel that comment. 

I have said that the definition of sovereignty has been made too limited in its application.  In the year 2000 we also have sovereignty.  From June 5th 2000 to 2001 I served in that government and at one point as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for National Security & Police & Justice under the present Prime Minister.  There is no member in here including the Prime Minister had their houses shot at and bullets just missing them inside their house.  That happened only to me. 

My small daughter got sick since that time until today.  I have gone long by around the whole Solomon Islands to Tuvalu to look for medicine for my daughter.  She was hurt during that raid at my house at Vavaya Ridge.  And so I know all these things.

I know we have sovereignty at that time, but is that the sort of sovereignty we want?  Yes, we have sovereignty at that time.  But is that the sovereignty you want or not?  I as the Member for Small Malaita do not want it.  Today my daughter is still sick from that kind of sovereignty and so I don’t want that sort of sovereignty.  What sort of sovereignty are you talking about?  Do not make the definition of sovereignty too limited in its application. 

The most important and fundamental of sovereignty is to make us have total power in our country.  At that time only Solomon Islanders run it.  There is no outside forces, no Australia, no New Zealand, no United States, not even our Pacific neighbors.  Is that the sovereignty you want? 

My family will say, no and the Member for Small Malaita will say, no.  As I have already said, not one of you, including the Prime Minister had his house shot at like my house was shot at, but that is when we have sovereignty in the country. We have sovereignty at that time.  Is that the sort of sovereignty you want or not, may I ask?  And so we have to be careful. 

The concern of the chief in Small Malaita and their Member of Parliament is that the peace we have at this time is only a bumble peace, which needs to be strengthened and sustained.  If we are not careful and that peace breaks down we will return to 2000 and 2001, when my house was shot at.  Is that the sovereignty you want, may I ask, Mr Speaker?

 I am not going to repeat what others have said, but I wish to speak on the particular point that is that the sovereignty we want.  The Member for Small Malaita said, no.  The people of Small Malaita do not want that sort of sovereignty. 

Today I am still watching.  I even went to Tuvalu looking for medicine for my daughter who was disturbed during that particular time.  So I know and nobody will lecture me on the direction this country is going. 

Sir, my reading of the situation in this country is that if we are not careful we are going down that road again.  There is no Minister in here that has moved an Amnesty Bill in Parliament, but only the Member for Small Malaita did that.  He also moved a constitutional amendment bill giving amnesty to ex-militants, as the then Minister for Police & National Security of this country. 

            Sir, I do not want to see anyone of us moving that kind of bill in parliament again.  I do not want the particular situation that existed in the country at that time to be revisited by our country again.  That is why I would like to caution my friend, the honorable Prime Minister and his government because collective responsibility Mr Speaker, if we are not careful can become collective dictations.

            I am supporting this motion, Mr Speaker, not because Australia told me so.  No.  Out of my assessment, I would like to caution the government to go out from the direction it is taking our country in at the moment. 

            Mr Speaker, the peace that we have now is very fragile and needs to be nurtured, sustained and worked on.  Like my daughter who is still sick at this time, Solomon Islands too is still sick, it has not fully recovered, and therefore for a sick person to go and fight, to me, is not right because you are going to be whipped down very quickly.  It needs the cooperation of everyone, the cooperation of the 50 Members of Parliament, and of our development partners.  

As I have said in my contribution to the Speech from the Throne, if the government’s bottom up approach, your reform or whatever direction you take the country to, if it is not supported by a wider public it will not succeed.  So the peace we have at this time is only bumble peace. 

If RAMSI leaves tomorrow we will get back to square one.  Because the fighting that happened during the tension period has nothing to do with Australia, it is none of Australia’s business, it is of our own making.  So do not blame other people for our own mistakes. 

Sir, you mark my words that if RAMSI leaves tomorrow we will get back to the same situation as in 2000 and 2001.  And then that is going back to sovereignty.  That is sovereignty.  But is that the sovereignty you want, may I ask one more time? 

As I have already said at the outset, Mr Speaker, that the definition of sovereignty has been made too limited in its application in this House.  We need to redefine sovereignty in the national interest of Solomon Islands.  That is my concern, Mr Speaker. 

If the Prime Minister changes direction in handling the situations, then well and good because I will come along and sit with him on that side.  As I have already said earlier on I was once upon a time his Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Police and National Security, and so there is no problem with that.  But we, Small Malaita people are worried about this.  I must tell you this.

I know the Prime Minister is an honest man because I served under him, and that is why I am talking honestly to him right now.  We are worried and this worry will provide the direction to where I am going to tender my support on this motion.  It is part of the checks and balances of our constitutional provision. 

I want to explain that my vote is not influenced by any other foreign forces.  No, not at all or by what they call carrot and stick strategy or tactic.  My vote is influenced and directed by the concern of my chiefs and people of Small Malaita and my assessment of the performance so far of the government. 

That is my short contribution and I want to assure you that I am a pure Solomon Islander.  My genealogy goes back some 10,000 years ago on Small Malaita and the Member for Small Malaita who is on the floor of parliament now is not a chief.   I feel a little bit hurt when comments to the effects that members of Opposition are as chiefs. 

As I have said at the outset I was not supposed to speak on this motion but because of that particular situation, I have to, on behalf of my people, explain to them where the position of their Member is at this point in time.  Mr Speaker, thank you and I resume my seat.

 

Mr HILLY:  Mr Speaker, at the outset I would like to make my position clear in regards to my position in this Honorable House.

            Mr Speaker, I represent the National Party in the Grand Coalition Government.  We worked so hard to form the government.  Unfortunately, the Party was dismantled by none other than the honorable Prime Minister on issues of very unimportant matter. 

The Grand Coalition has a very wide, very attractive policy guidelines redirecting development in the rural areas.  That attracts quite a lot of impression from the Opposition and from the public at large.  Unfortunately, the Party that tries to organize the government was dismantled.  The issue as I said is very insignificant.

            Mr Speaker, in leading up to the formation of the government, similar voices was heard over the radio that the majority of people who later form the government support mainland China.  This is in the tapes of the SIBC.  And it is this issue, the honorable Prime Minister, in order to explain matters to Taipei, has reflected the action he did by dismantling the National Party in the Grand Coalition.  It is very difficult for me as one of the founding members of the National Party to be allowed to go that far. 

Yesterday, Mr Speaker, the National Party Executive formally accepts the resignation of members of the National Party in the Coalition.  The executive of the National Party has worked very hard for these Members to win their seats in the last election both in supporting them morally and also financially.  Unfortunately, the Party now has no money because they borrowed the money, which they are still trying to repay until today.  And it was also yesterday that the National Party formally withdraws itself from the Grand Coalition Government.  In actual fact it was basically forced out of the Grand Coalition. So it is in this context, Mr Speaker, that I shall be making my contribution to this motion. 

Mr Speaker, in my more than 20 years of being a Member of Parliament, I spent quite a lot of time with …….  In the early days of our independence, I held several ministerial posts.  About 20 years ago, Mr Speaker, the Government budget was around $100million.  I could not recollect well. Today the budget is about $400million - the recurrent part.  But more than 20 years ago in terms of dollar strength, about $3 Solomon Dollar is $1 Australian Dollar. 

In terms of trying to compare the amount of money the government is voting for the services of people, in terms of dollar strength, it would seem that we did much better in those days than today. 

The population is quite small too unlike today it is much bigger.  One dollar is not enough in today’s term and this is why we want every government that comes into power to make improvements in such a situation.  It must improve the economy to provide for the rapid growing population that we have. 

            I had the opportunity, Mr Speaker, to lead the Government in 1993, though short-lived, but that is a record and I also had the opportunity to be part of the government that was forced out of office in 2000, which is also in the records.  It is my only hope that successive governments that takeover the running of this country must see that improvement are necessary for the development of our nation.

            Mr Speaker, I am very happy to be part of a very ambitious government that wants to direct development to the rural areas.  But what does that mean?  Because about more than 20 years ago, the whole country knows about land utilization, meaning people know where cocoa can grow, they know where coffee can grow, and they know where other crops can grow. 

The government started development in fisheries, sets up statutory bodies, cattle developments, livestock development, provided urban housing, which has been a problem area.  In those days, copra was the main stay of the economy. People spent their every day life making copra.  If you ask people at home how to make copra they know it very well.  But today all these things had collapsed.  CEMA had collapsed and every other development that past governments have tried to do have also collapsed.  Now that we want to redirect development, Mr Speaker, what are we trying to do?  These are important questions that I expect the government of the day to look at. 

Does it mean to encourage growing cocoa again?  Does it mean to encourage cattle farming again?  Does it mean to encourage fisheries again?  These are developments which for some reason or another don’t seem to work.  Or does it mean going into soya bean growing or ginger.  I mean these are end results of what the government would want to achieve when it establishes its policy guidelines.

            Mr Speaker, I find it very difficult to see how the government is going to carry out its promises.  It is a very nice and good policy, Mr Speaker, but I think the government is spending its time on a different priority.  Because of that, I do not believe the Government is going to achieve its policy ambitions. 

Whilst the government is very ambitious and has a very good policy, I want the government to prove me wrong otherwise.  If it can prove me wrong then that is actually what the country wants. But I do not think the Government will be able to fulfill its intentions in the policy guidelines of the government.

            Mr Speaker, the postponement of the budget is one of the weaknesses starting to be seen in the government.  Why postpone the budget? 

If you ask all the Permanent Secretaries they will tell you that the Recurrent Budget is now ready because there is not much to say about the recurrent budget.  Hospital services have to go on, civil servants’ salaries have to be paid, the Parliament has to continue.  Perhaps only 10% is added on to the figure and so there is nothing wrong and nothing difficult about it.  But one thing we must be careful about is that the development budget is still financed by outside donors.  We may not agree on asking our outside friends to help us because sometimes they have their own conditions to the assistance they give us.  But what can we do. 

Sir, if we want schools to go on we just have to accept the conditions.  If we want clinics to remain open we just have to accept their conditions.  And it should be, and I see it in the government policy reduction in aid dependency, as one of the many policy guidelines of the government, which is very good. 

To say that we totally do not want aid but failing to organize ourselves to implement programs in the rural areas that we want for our people then that is not telling the right thing to our people.

            Mr Speaker, what I would like to say here is that I do not see the government, in these few months it is in office, serious about its policies.  If the government is serious enough we should have the 2007 budget now.  There is plenty of time in our hands to come up with the budget. 

If the reason for the delay is because we want to properly organize our priorities, but where are we going to get money from because all our revenue is eaten up by the recurrent budget and our development budget is financed by outside sources. 

This leads me to another point, Mr Speaker.  Yes, we talk so much about Australia, we may say this is an Australian motion, but we know that every country in the world has its own interest first than any other policies.  We know that Australia is………………. throughout the Pacific.  It did not support the Kyoto Protocol.  It did not accept the idea put forward by Forum Leaders who wanted their people to go and work in farms in Australia harvesting fruits.  And so we all know that it is protecting itself.  But we know too that Australia is providing some help to us in our weak areas. 

Mr Speaker, I therefore think we should not over react in our international relationship.  We should maintain our relationship with the outside world so that whilst we know they have their own interest, as long as we have the understanding that we too are receiving assistance from them.  I think our relationship should be maintained at that level. 

Sir, this is my personal view on our international relationship, not only with Australia but other countries as well.  We must maintain our relationship with our international friends knowing fully well that they too have their own interests as well.  But as long as we can live in this world harmoniously trying to help each other, perhaps is the way forward now for us because we cannot just go on creating barriers with people who are helping us.

            Mr Speaker, there is a lot of discussion in this chamber about the weaknesses of RAMSI.  I am very sorry, Mr Speaker, that whilst the Facilitation Act provides for review of RAMSI this year, the government decided it is not time to do that and we skipped reviewing it this year.  I am very sorry because I was part of the Cabinet when that decision was made because I think there are many things that need ironing out in regards to the operations of RAMSI. 

Today we talked about boomerang aid and the only way to sort out the boomerang aid is through the review of the Facilitation Act.  But I am very sorry that we see it not necessary to review the Act this year.

            Mr Speaker, I do not want to use this honorable chamber as a court room to say who is right and who is wrong in regards to the legal arguments going on in the country today.  I think we have talked so much about sovereignty in this chamber and our laws are part of our sovereignty.   As lawmakers and legislators in this House, our first and utmost duty is to be law abiding people.  Therefore, if anyone breaks the law let the law takes its course.  But for us to attack each another in this chamber saying that someone is breaking the law or not, is not right because if anyone breaks the law, the law surely will catch up on him/her - the laws that we in this House pass for the betterment and smooth running of our country.

            Mr Speaker, the passage or defeat of this motion, whatever that comes after it would be the result of the decision of this Parliament.  If the passage of this motion will bring bad things to the country, then of course that is the decision of the Parliament. Or if the defeat of this motion will bring something bad to this country then that is also the decision of the Parliament.  Whichever way the decision will take us will tell us whether what we are doing is right or wrong.  Thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

Mr TOZAKA:  Mr Speaker, thank you for allowing me to speak on this very important motion moved by the honorable Leader of Opposition and honorable Member of Parliament for Central Kwara’ae. 

Sir, I thank him for moving this motion and to admire him of his tenacity, his bravery and his honesty. As a young emerging leader in our country he is moving this motion to raise some weaknesses of the government as the basis for this motion. 

Sir, this motion is perfectly in order according to the constitution and it is, as other members have spoken, a check on the operations or work of the government. 

Sir, I also will be contributing a little bit on why I also will be speaking in favor of this motion, and this is basically in regards to the leadership style.  There are three types of leadership that I can see.  One type of leadership is where we know there is a problem or there is something is wrong but we just overlook the problem or we turn a blind eye to it. 

Another type of leadership is leadership where a leader assumes everything is all right and so lives in a world of what is called a fool’s paradise.  In other words, the leader does not know or care about what is going on because maybe he is uninformed and also assumes everything is fine.

The third type of leadership is leadership that tries to find out, assesses and identifies problems and brings up the problem for discussion openly to see how to go about fixing the problem.

            Sir, some colleagues who have spoken mentioned that this motion was brought in too early as the government still needs time to settle down to implement its policies.  On that point, time really does not exist here, simply because time is our way of helping to organize ourselves to keep track on things.  I see this as an opportunity for us to assess the operations and work of the government since it came into power, from the day it took office until this time.

            Sir, having assessed the activities of the government from day one until this time, there are many disappointments.  A lot of disappointments have been expressed, and one of such disappointment being expressed generally here is an important task the government is suppose to be producing here for the House to consider and approve, which is the national budget.   If the Government had introduced the budget this year to this honorable House, I would have been very happy. 

I am saying this because the response I am getting from the other side of the House is that the reason why the Government fails to achieve this very important objective is because the government needs more time to do the budget. 

            What I can see here are two things.  One is the production of policies and the second one is implementation.  The government has competently, as stated by the honorable Prime Minister, produced its policies and programs which were already brought to the attention and knowledge of our people at home, especially the concept of the bottom up approach or driven policies of the government on the concept of the bottom up approach.  Our people are aware of this and they welcome this policy. 

Some MPs, like myself, have taken the opportunity of going home to explain to our people this policy the government of the day is going to introduce.  I told them that Parliament is going to discuss the budget for this particular policy for its introduction early next year during the budget session.  Now that is not happening at this particular time and the reason given for the delay was based on nothing more than operational matters - matters that have nothing to do with us or with those responsible to implementing this particular important task of the government.

            Sir, I can see us going back again to the old style of running the government where at the same time policies are approved we also want to start implementing the policies at the same time.  In other words, we interfere or manipulate very much our assistance and therefore the policies are not implemented.  That is one of my main disappointments at this meeting of Parliament.  

This motion by the Honourable Leader of the Opposition is questioning the operation of the government in this context.  And I think he is perfectly right in doing that.  As responsible leaders, I think we should listen to the weaknesses this side of the House is pinpointing to the government.

            Mr Speaker, there were a couple of things raised about the policies of the government, which I too am very concerned about.  The policies have been interfered with by the government that instead of leaving them to the responsible authorities to carry out, it has infringed into respective authorities, which created confusion to our people.

            Mr Speaker, one of my concerns too is in regards to donor assistance.  We talked so much about our heavy reliance on donor assistance.  I think we cannot deny that when we become part of a money economy we are part and parcel of the system. 

There is no country in the world or organization for that matter that does not depend on donor assistance.  It is a fallacy if we think so - if I may use that word - quite strong but it is true.  When we started ruling this country we depended heavily on donor assistance.  That is a healthy relationship with our partners, and that is the reason why we establish diplomatic relations with our partners because we must share each others’ resources.  We share with each other.  What we do not have we have to ask others to help us.

            Mr Speaker, I can see the point that we should not heavily depend on donors in our developmental activities.  I think it is very difficult for us at this point in time not to do that, especially at this time of rebuilding our nation, we have to work with our donors.

            Mr Speaker, on the point of rebuilding the nation, some of us will remember what actually happened to our sovereignty, which I am very proud of it too as a Solomon Islander, but I would like to see us as leaders taking control of this country.  But as you know we came to the time where we have utilized, used all our resources, and used all our means of addressing the situation our country was placed in during the time we had this problem, and we came to the point where all our means of solving the problem was exhausted in terms of our traditional system, our custom and our religion.  

The churches also took part and they also exhausted all their resources in addressing the problem that we had.  And in the end, we decided that there is no choice but to ask for assistance outside to come and help us.

            This assistance was catered for very well in our region through the Biketawa Agreement, and the Mission that came to help us came through that particular source. 

I think the people who have been helping us did so in goodwill and courage.  They come here with open hearts just for the purpose of helping us.  It was us, and may I repeat, us, who asked the Mission to come on our shores to help us.

            Mr Speaker, I have had the privilege of representing our country abroad, and I too look into this country and can see exactly the problems that we are grappling with at the moment.  And the problem I see is ourselves. 

The problem is that we know we needed help and we have the help here in our country now.  We have the donors here.  The donors are here, present in our country, in our soil right here.  And we also have the Mission that is giving us the guarantee of law and order and security.  But the problem I can see is that we are not able to come together.  We are not able to coordinate ourselves.  We are not able to speak.  We are not able to sit down and dialogue with the three organizations here in the country.

            Mr Speaker, I can see us as being so conscious about our sovereignty and we tend to forget that we need help. We need to rebuild this nation because we have lost our sovereignty.  We lost our sovereignty and our sovereignty was brought back to us by this particular Mission that came to help us here. 

I want to inform the House not to forget what had happened.  It was this House that requested this Mission to come and they are here representing their own sovereignties.  The 16 countries that are here representing the Mission also represent their own sovereignties.  They are so thoughtful about our situation that they came to help us sort out our problems as well as to rebuild our nation.

            Mr Speaker, I would like to ask the government through this motion moved by the Honourable Leader of the Opposition, to take stock and ask itself why are these things happening, and to ask the question whether we are making use of the Mission that has all the resources in the world that we need to rebuild our nation.  How can we use this Mission?  How can we work together with our donors? 

We do not have to ask them to come again because they are already here - they are already present in our country.  We do not have to apply again to ask them to come. 

Mr Speaker, I do not see the logic in us questioning the countries or the donors that are already here to help us.  The leadership should address these issues and problems directly.

            Mr Speaker, I would like also like to comment on the peace process.  Peace in this country is a collective business of the government and us.  What we are interested in is to see peace take place in our country.  I am very interested myself, as the Member for Vella, to work together with the Government to see that peace is achieved, sustained and lasts in our country.

            The question here is how are we going to achieve that?  Is the way we are doing things now as leaders going to achieve that peace?  I do not think so, Mr Speaker.  We need to talk together about this Mr Speaker.  Why don’t we come together, take this opportunity as leaders to talk about these issues.  These are the issues we miss talking about in Parliament when we come for Parliament meetings.  These are the issues we are missing.  We are not talking about the real issues affecting our people.  We are just interested in maintaining the status quo.  We are more interested on how to maintain our respective positions. 

            Mr Speaker, I would like to inform the House that the interest of those on the other side is also the same interest of us on this side of the House.  But we would like to see the issues raised by the Honorable Leader of the Opposition to be addressed by the leadership.

            Mr Speaker, the events that have happened and we are facing at the moment, is a great embarrassment.  We have imported international embarrassment into our country.  Don’t we already have enough problems in our country that we have to engage ourselves in another problem? 

Mr Speaker, is this the way we want to manage, run or conduct our international relations with other countries, may I ask?  No, Mr Speaker, this is un-Solomon Islands way.  That is not the way to treat people from outside. 

Solomon Islanders are known internationally and known in our country as well as very friendly people.  We are friendly people, and that is what we are known for. We are happy friendly people and we are very nice people.  Our country is a very nice country.  Some people call it paradise. 

That is what I know whilst living outside on how outsiders see our country.  I am talking a bit lengthy here on this issue. 

Sir, I am quite ashamed of myself that some ordinary Solomon Islanders have taken the initiative of showing good examples to us.  The ordinary people are doing this without any financial gain.  They are not getting any perks and allowances like we are receiving for doing that.  A good example of this is the ambassadorial work they are doing through our cultural source in Fiji – this is by our ordinary people.  The reading and writing is there.  They are saying to us that this is the way we want you leaders to run our country.  That is the message they are giving to us.

            Another ordinary people in regards to our youths is our soccer team, which is already in the international world, from nothing and they are going to take part in international competitions.  This is us, Mr Speaker, out of nothing. But it is out of hard work, sweat, commitment, dedication and discipline in their work.  They are showing good examples to us. 

Now what about us leaders?  Can we take these examples, Mr Speaker, and ask ourselves whether we are doing the right thing.  Are we directing this country in the right direction?  Is this what our ordinary people want from us?  Certainly not!  If the answer is no, then the next question is where have we gone wrong.  I think we have to go back to the basics - the very basic things.  We have to come back and humble ourselves and accept the fact, accept the position we are in, whatever positions that I am and you are in.

            Mr Speaker, I know some of the words we have used in this Honourable House, for example beggars, what can beggars do?  If you are drowning, what would you do?  We are not using this word in its negative concept. 

You see, we leaders always think and look at the negative side of things.  When the Member for East Are Are referred to Solomon Islands as a beggar and so what can a beggar do, he was saying that in the positive sense of the word.  He is actually calling for humility and acceptance. 

We know that at the end of the day we are still Solomon Islanders.  I am still the Member of Parliament for North Vella and nobody can take that out from me.  Surely not, Mr Speaker!  What we are saying here is, can we accept these situations and then look again and see whether we are doing the right thing.  Are we directing this boat in the right direction or do we need something else?

            Consultation, Mr Speaker, is a very important concept.  Consultation does not only happen with our advisers, not with permanent secretaries alone, and not with officials in the public service alone.  We have the economy.  We have many Solomon Islanders available who can help.  There are resources in the churches, resources from the civil society, resources from women organizations and resources from youth organizations. 

Let us consult with them.  When we are about to put into action a particular decision, we consult with the youths and ask whether they agree with us or not.  Why not!  But that is what I am saying, there needs to be a change of attitude.  Ask the youths, ask the women?  Is it right to introduce this bank?  If the women say I agree with you in principle but we think it should be done this way, then that is a message for you.  Why not, Mr Speaker?

Let us open up because after all we are not that many.  There are only 500,000 of us, the majority of whom are in the villages and only a handful of us in Honiara.  So this is not representational.

            Mr Speaker, I have spoken long enough but I would like to make those few points.  I have heard the response by the Honorable Prime Minister, and I can see the leadership qualities I have been talking about.  I think both sides of the House should look into these issues and try to improve more on them.

            The riots that have taken place in our country are not things that we should look at in the negative sense but they should be view in the positive sense.  What is the message there for us? 

The Honorable Prime Minister himself had said it.  Let us look at them and see what are they telling us to address, Mr Speaker, and we leaders collectively should address them.

            Sir, with those few comments I thank you once again for allowing me to say my bit on this motion, and I support the motion.

 

Mr FONO:  Thank you Mr Speaker, for allowing me to wind up the motion.  I am reminded to lower my voice, not to speak in high tones and bang the table as my Honourable good Prime Minister had done.

            In winding up the motion, Mr Speaker, I would like to thank every Member of Parliament who has spoken on this motion - both sides of the House.  I think what have been presented on this floor of Parliament, Mr Speaker, is very, very timely in order for the Prime Minister and the Government take stock of how they have led us for the past five or six months, and the leadership style displayed.          Mr Speaker, I want to categorically deny as totally false (whatever word is acceptable) the statement by the Prime Minister that this motion is sponsored by foreign aliens.  Never at any time, Mr Speaker, have I talked with Australian leaders about this motion.  We are purely Solomon Islanders, Mr Speaker.  We, the Opposition members are Solomon Islanders, and we have respect from our constituencies and that is why they elected us into this House.  We have a heart for our people to say that we do not have sovereignty at heart.  That is not acceptable to me - not acceptable.  I do not accept that.

            Sir, I am representing more than 20,000 people in my electorate of Central Kwara’ae, similar to provinces, like the Province the Prime Minister comes from, just one constituency only. 

Sir, I cannot accept the Prime Minister labeling me as a puppet of the Australian Government.  I just do not accept that or the whole Opposition Group does not accept the label that we are puppets of the Australian Government.  

            This motion, Mr Speaker, is not of my own.  It belongs to the Parliamentary Opposition Group, as provided for under the Constitution. 

Mr Speaker, I know the Prime Minister and certain senior Ministers have used this diplomatic standoff between Australia and Solomon Islands, and the need of upholding sovereignty in their context, to brush this motion aside.

            However, Mr Speaker, if one is to talk to the private sector, certain private sector representatives, they would tell you that they have fear that decisions now being taken by the government are creating insecurity to our nation.  Is that what we want in our promoting of sovereignty?  No, Mr Speaker.

            Mr Speaker, I am going to be brief.  I do not want to go over what have already been presented in the motion. 

Mr Speaker, I am not hungry for power either.  And so I do not accept too what my good friend, the Deputy Prime Minister alluded to that by pushing this motion I am trying to become a Prime Minister. Not at all, Mr Speaker.  Who wants security guards to follow him all the time so that he does not have freedom of movement? 

I do not aspire to become a Prime Minister, and so I categorically deny that statement or that sentiment alluded to by my good Deputy Prime Minister that moving this motion the Leader of the Opposition aspires to become a Prime Minister.  No, Mr Speaker, my time will come.

 

(hear, hear)

 

I have just turned 44 years old yesterday, and I am still young.  Of course, in the next election I will stand unopposed.

 

(hear, hear)

 

In the last election I only had one challenger compared to five and seven in the last two elections.

            Mr Speaker, as a responsible parliamentary opposition group, we must move this motion to tell our good Prime Minister, to please take stock of his leadership style because it is degrading our international reputation, it embarrasses the government and it embarrasses Solomon Islanders. 

Of course, we uphold sovereignty, Mr Speaker.  We know we are an independent nation, and we cannot compromise sovereignty.  But then again there are reasonable ways of addressing sovereignty, and not with arrogance.  No!

            Mr Speaker, I feel sorry for members on the government side.  Why?  Every time in that is the approach the Prime Minister is taking in Cabinet, which is also reflected here in Parliament.  Some Ministers told me that the Prime Minister bangs the table, which is creating fear amongst my good ministers.  If that is shown here in this chamber, it would be even shown in Cabinet.

            When we address issues or when we address you, Mr Speaker, I am now scared because instead of just speaking in our normal voices we are shouting.  Mr Speaker, that is the leadership style we in the Opposition have seen, which will not, in anyway help our nation to progress forward. 

Mr Speaker, when we say that decisions taken by the government must be in the best interest of the nation, we just have to look at the appointment of this foreigner to be the Attorney General.  Is this in the best interest of the nation?  Are there not qualified Solomon Islanders who can take up the job?  Mr Speaker, we have many qualified Solomon Islanders who can take up the Attorney General’s post.  Why are we so insisting on this foreigner with a very bad character internationally to become our Attorney General? 

Mr Speaker, it makes our country become a laughing stock to the international community.  That is why even the general public, and statesmen like yourself, Mr Speaker, want some credibility in the leadership of this nation.  Maintain credibility in the leadership of this nation so that it is not being made a laughing stock in the international forums.

Mr Speaker, I am cautioning the government that there seems to be a Robert Mugabe leadership of Zimbabwe here in the Pacific.  Those of us who have been listening to international current affairs will know that the leadership of Zimbabwe is very, very dangerous because whoever opposes the leadership will be attacked. 

Zimbabwe has been suspended from membership in the Commonwealth, and that is why I have to caution the good government to please let us not adopt the style of leadership like in Zimbabwe.

Sir, I made a call for calmness earlier because it is not you in the government side that will be threatened but those of us on the Opposition side.  The so much talked-about support the Prime Minister made here in this Chamber that he has popular support here in Honiara, and that is why they did not want this vote of confidence and so they use threats on us. 

The Police needs to investigate the raid on the properties of the MP for Roviana/Vona Vona, the same week he was suspended from Caucus to see if there is a correlation Mr Speaker or is it an isolated incident.

I was made a target, and this was made known to me by my people at the Border.  I was told that if I move the vote of no confidence and the Prime Minister goes down, my properties would be burnt.  My goodness, what is wrong with me?  Do you think they are going to threaten members on the government side?  No, because they are part of the government.  They want to maintain their government so that supporters are given their dues.

I was not given any answer to my question on why the security services at the PMO and Treasury were handpicked, Mr Speaker.  

Sir, I am giving this very warning that we do not want to create a Zimbabwe in the Pacific, a leadership that is using the ignorance of the masses to support him gain power.  That is very bad precedence.

Mr Speaker, I know the issue of sovereignty has made a lot of Members on the government side to remain firm with the Prime Minister so that he addresses the diplomatic stand off, which he himself too has created between Australia and the Solomon Islands Government.  May be for that reason I will not have the support towards this vote of no confidence.  But at least the ultimate aim of this vote of no confidence is to make the nation know that the Parliamentary Opposition Group does not accept the current leadership that is ruling the government at this time. 

Sir, I believe that leaders should be humble enough to accept our weaknesses and make improvement to our leadership style so that our nation can progress forward and satisfy the aspirations of our people who have very high hope on this government on its bottom up approach on rural development.

With those few remarks, Mr Speaker, I beg to move.

 

(applause)

 

 

Mr Speaker:  The question is that Parliament resolves that it has no confidence in the Prime Minister.  To satisfy the constitutional requirement, in that an absolute majority of the vote of Members thereof is met, we will need to call individual Members’ names to which you will respond appropriately whether you are for it or you are against or whether you abstain from voting. 

This is a constitutional motion which does not subject itself to the normal division votes under standing order 42, but in respect to its importance, I will use that procedure under that particular standing order to include ringing the bell for two minutes. 

I will now ring the bell for two minutes before the roll call or the counting of heads or however we make it continues.

 

The bell was rung and the House waits for two minutes

 

A division was called for:

Result

 

Ayes:                -           17

Noes:                -           28

Abstentions:      -           5

Total                -           50

 

 

Mr Speaker:  The result of the motion is in the negative and so the motion is therefore defeated.

 

(applause)

 

The motion on the vote of no confidence is defeated. 

 

MOTIONS

 

Hon SOGAVARE:  Mr Speaker, in accordance with Order 8(4) I beg to move an amendment to the sine die motion to substitute another date for the statement on the original motion as follows:

 

Mr Speaker:  Permission granted.

 

Hon Sogavare:  Thank you Mr Speaker.  That at the adjournment of Parliament on Thursday 12 October 2006, the present Meeting shall be concluded and Parliament shall then stand adjourned sine die.

 

Mr Speaker:  The amended motion before the House is that the sine die motion date is being amended to the 12th October instead of 11th October.  Are there any speakers to the motion?

 

Mr Fono:  Mr Speaker, there are quite a number of reports the government has tabled, and so it is only fitting that Parliament should be extended to next week to debate these very important reports. 

If the sine die motion is adjourned tomorrow, and these reports are not debated, I feel that they will not be discussed or debated in the next meeting next year. 

If the Government is serious about Parliament playing its oversight roles, then these very important statutory reports should be debated at this meeting Mr Speaker. 

I am raising this concern, however, if the Prime Minister and the Government thinks it has no urgent commitment so as to close the government business by tomorrow.  Thank you Mr Speaker.

 

Mr Speaker: The Honorable Leader of the Opposition is at liberty to amend the amended motion if he wanted to formally?  Do you want to amend the amended motion to another date because that is the only amendment we can do with this motion.  We can only alter the date.

 

Mr Fono:  In that respect, Mr Speaker, I move that we amend the sine die motion so that instead of Thursday 12th it is put forward to Friday the 13th so that at least some reports can be debated.  Thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

Mr Speaker:  The amendment to the amended motion is that rather than adjourning sine die on the 12th October, the adjournment be on the 13th.  The amended motion is open for debate.

 

Mr Huniehu:  Mr Speaker, as the Chairman of the Bills and Legislation Committee, I have given notice to commit the committee of the whole house to discuss a number of these reports.  In fact the first six or seven which came to us under the relevant standing orders of Parliament. 

Sir, I do not see the wisdom in extending Parliament to another day because these reports are very voluminous and therefore we would need about two weeks to discuss the reports.

            I just want to put on records, Mr Speaker, the importance of these reports.  Parliament is duty bound to do its oversight role in ensuring that reports tabled by Ministers are properly debated and taken into consideration.  Therefore, with due regards to the proposed amendment by the Leader of the Opposition, I consider it not enough and we will be doing a complete disservice to these reports.

            I believe, Mr Speaker, that most Ministers who tabled these papers in Parliament would like to see these reports systematically debated in the committee of the whole house, and therefore it would be in order to allow Parliament a further two or three weeks.  I am not proposing for another two or three weeks for sitting allowances, Mr Speaker, but I can see the importance of accountability and transparency here.  For example, one of these reports presented to Parliament is a special audit report into the Immigration Department.  It is very important that we know what is happening in that Ministry in relation to the accusations leveled at Ministers and public officers in that Ministry.

 

Mr Speaker:  Could I ask whether the honourable Member wants to amend the honourable Leader of the Opposition’s date to any other dates for us to consider?

 

Mr Huniehu:  I am sorry for taking Parliament’s time but I would like to further make amendments to the Leader of the Opposition’s motion for Parliament to continue  for another two weeks.

 

Mr Speaker:  The standing order is quite clear that you have to state the date that you would like to make the amendment, not just two weeks but you have to mention the date.

 

Mr Huniehu:  Mr Speaker, I would like to concur to the wisdom of the Minister for Education to allow Parliament to sit for another week and to adjourn on Friday 20th October next week.

 

Mr Speaker:  The amended motion as moved by the MP for East Are Are is for Parliament to rise sine die on 20th October 2006, next week is open for debate.

Hon Darcy:  Thank you Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this motion.

            Mr Speaker, I am inclined to agree to the Prime Minister’s motion, and that is to have the sine die motion amended to Thursday 12th October 2006.  I say this for the very reason that these reports are quite highly technical.  There are some datas in the reports, which I am sure Members of Parliament will require some time to go through, analyse and compare with other departments that have been implicated in these reports.  I think we should give time for Members to study, research and be prepared to come to Parliament and debate them.

 

Mr Speaker:  Honorable Minister you seem to be debating on the original motion.  We are debating the motion that suggested adjourning Parliament sine die on the 20th October.

 

Hon Darcy:  Well, in that respect I am saying that I do not agree with the motion that has been moved to amend it.  I think we should take a break now and then go and have some time to study the reports and then we can come back and discuss the reports at a later date when the Government will call Parliament to convene again. 

Mr Speaker, the fact that these reports are tabled now does not mean that they will be totally out of this Parliament.  They are still documents of this Parliament.  So even in future meetings, any Member can move a motion for Parliament to deliberate on these motions.

            In that regard, Mr Speaker, I do not support the motion to further amend the motion being moved by the Prime Minister.  Thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

Mr Zama:  Mr Speaker, I am inclined to support my colleague Chairman of the Bills and Legislation Committee. 

I am speaking here as the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee.  We have before Parliament the 1997 National Accounts which, in my view, should be put before Parliament to be scrutinized and all of these very out of date reports, Mr Speaker.  But with regards to the timing of Parliament and the duration it will take, although I support the suggestion that these voluminous reports need to be properly scrutinized by Members, I do not think Members will have ample time because they are quite technical and involved.  I think it would be good for purposes of good governance, transparency and accountability that these reports are properly debated in Parliament. 

In terms of the timing that is proposed by the Honourable Member for East Are Are and the Leader of the Opposition to try and move the Parliament Meeting for a further week, in my view, would be impractical in terms of government business and what the Government has to do in its work program.  I would therefore agree with the Prime Minister that this House be adjourned sine die tomorrow.  If he then gets the concurrence of Members of Parliament that we have another meeting to purposely deliberate these reports, then I would go along with that.  Thank you.

 

Mr Speaker:  The question is that the sine die motion date be the 20th of October 2006?

 

The motion for Parliament to adjourn sine die on the 20th October 2006 was defeated

 

Mr Speaker:  Could we come back to the Honourable Leader of the Opposition’s amended motion of the amendment?  Any further speakers to the Leader of the Opposition’s motion that Parliament be adjourned on the 13th of October, which is this coming Friday?

 

Hon Darcy:  Thank you, Mr Speaker, for contributing to this motion again.  Mr Speaker, I will echo the same sentiments I have said in relation to the motion that has been voted on by Parliament.  Members of Parliament should be given time to research these reports so that when Parliament next meets, some Members can see it fit to put a proper motion for Parliament to deliberate on these reports.  Because of that Mr Speaker, I do not support the motion.

 

Mr Kengava:  Mr Speaker, whilst it is true that the reports need sufficient time to debate, I think the motion of sine die itself is very important.  Only one day tomorrow given to debate it, in my view, is not enough time for Members to express their feelings and therefore we should base the extension as to discuss the reports, but I think enough time as well must be given to Members to debate the motion of sine die.  

The one day extension proposition by the Prime Minister is insufficient.  To allow enough time to Members to debate the motion of sine die is very important Mr Speaker, and therefore we should end the meeting on Friday.  Therefore, I support the Opposition Leader’s motion of amendment.

 

The amendment to have Parliament adjourn sine die on Friday 13th October 2006 was defeated.  Parliament will adjourn sine die on Thursday 12th October.

 

Hon Sogavare:  Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this House do now adjourn.

 

 

The House adjourned at 7.15 p.m.