Honiara: 1 March 2018
Letter to the Editors, Solomon Star and Island Sun newspapers.
PEACE BUILDING IN THE SOLOMON ISLANDS
I welcome the news that the Solomon Islands Government under the leadership of the Prime Minister the Hon. Rick Houenipwela, is committed to furthering and sustaining peace and stability as a national priority.
I particularly welcome the support being offered to the Solomon Islands from the United Nations in the manner of a Joint Programme Initiative to consolidate peace, stability and social cohesion post the RAMSI period.
The Prime Minister has been right to have said that peace building requires inclusive solutions to be implemented and supported by UN agencies, such as the UNDP and UN Women.
Moving forward the government must identify and adopt the key governance systems and tools to drive its post-conflict reconstruction aims linked specifically to the many challenges that the Solomon Islands still faces in leadership, solid government structures, gender equality, education, health care, economic development, employment, corruption, community participation, civic dialogue, mediation, land reform and more generally good governance.
Adopting a mix of sound policies based on democratic and universally shared values and the proper and visible use of management systems will be crucial to the success of the government’s four key pillars, already outlined.
A major factor in promoting a sustaining peace building will be evidence of committed leadership, solid government and openness in order to build people’s trust and legitimacy in the elected government members.
The continued claims and counter claims about the state of the government this last week can have done little, I fear, to give the feeling of a solid, unified, government leadership.
It is generally acknowledged that the critical determinant of sustainable recovery, peace and development is a committed leadership aimed at: protecting human rights; ensuring rule of law and security; re-establishing and strengthening credible, transparent and accountable public administration institutions; reconstructing an efficient, representative public service that achieves equitable service delivery and re-generates an equitable post-conflict economy.
With the ever-present specter of corruption allegations a focus of ongoing attention and even some prosecutions for alleged corruption allegations, together with the constant references to the alleged misuse of the Constitutional Development Funds (CDF) and, more recently, allegation, regarding the so-called Discretionary Fund, there is much work that needs to be done to change public perceptions and put the work of the government and certain aspects of the public service in better light.
One step in the right direction has been the change to the Ombudsman’s Act with better provisions to counter illegal practices and to bring offenders to book.
The proposals by the government in creating a better development pathway to empower woman and youth are encouraging and should be relentlessly pursued.
I wholeheartedly wish the PM and the government well in cooperation with the UN agencies in moving things forward that will ensure a lasting peace, a united Solomon Islands and a brighter economic future.