Traffic congestion in Bangkok, where I live is, worse than I ever experienced in Honiara. I was often frustrated travelling the short distance between Rove and Panatina due to the heavy traffic but getting around the city of Bangkok by car, bus or taxi can be quite exhausting especially during the wet season. With a population of some 10 million inhabitants transportation is crucial to people’s lives, work and the economy.
I avoid travelling by road whenever possible because, fortunately, the city has very good rail services, both above ground and below ground. The below ground service – the subway- is fast, economical, reliable, efficient and trusted by thousands of workers that use the service every day.
The subway line runs straight right across the metropolis without u-turns, twists or doubling back.
The adjectives reliable, efficient and trustworthy when combined with straight come to mind as I think of the proposed anti-corruption policy to be soon announced by the government in the Solomon Islands.
Mr. Moses Saitala, recently said the government was aware of the public sector’s demand to fight corruption and will soon be releasing a policy document on the establishment of an Independent Commission Against Corruption.
The policy document is eagerly awaited, I feel sure, and in the interim it is assumed there has been consultation with all interested stakeholders on the anti-corruption policy and strategy.
For far too long there have been widespread allegations of corruption occurring in the Solomon Islands and only recently the Honourable Chief Justice, Sir Albert Palmer, spoke out very strongly during a live radio broadcast when he reported that the 2012-2013 auditor-general’s reports (released a week before his talk) revealed 54 million Solomon dollars of government funds were unaccounted for. The Chief Justice was claimed to have described the situation as ‘disgraceful.’
One must give credit to the new administration in making it a top priority to tackle the scourge of corruption that has beset the nation in the past.
It is clear that corruption hinders growth by its adverse effects on investment, trade and development.
According to the most up to date information I have is that up to 90% of Solomon Islanders believe ordinary people can make a difference in the fight against corruption. It is in this context that I believe the government’s policy framework on anti-corruption must focus very largely on education about corrupt practices, corrupt influences and methods needed to combat the problem.
We were reminded last week of the nation’s motto, ‘To Lead is to Serve’ and for all in the Solomon Islands, public servants, ministers, businessmen, traders, ordinary men and women let me end by quoting the adjectives I started with, reliable, efficient, trustworthy and straight.
It is my plea that in life, in politics, in work, in business, in whatever you do, remove the congestion of corruption from the Solomon Islands and be reliable, efficient, and trustworthy and keep it straight at all times. In so doing the nation could soon be on a fast track to a better, cleaner, trusted and more prosperous future.