Posted by : Posted on : 03-Apr-2020

Solomon Islands:  Tough times ahead which demand national unity and obedience to the rules demanded by social distancing and a stop to rumour mongering leading to the spread of false stories

Mr.Jay Bartlett, the Chairman of the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) had an important message to the people of the Solomon Islands when he addressed the Chamber’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 25 March.

What he had to say on that occasion is worth sharing, and I quote:

 “As the Central Bank has highlighted recently in their media statement, the impact of the global pandemic [ COVID-19) could potentially have far-reaching impacts on our health, our economy and our way of life as we know it.”

“The Chamber has raised in the past Solomon Islands’ vulnerability with a narrow economic base that is too reliant on resources which leaves the country exposed to global fluctuations in commodity prices and the urgent need to act to diversify our base.”

“The CBSI has said the coronavirus will likely have a considerable negative impact on the Solomon Islands economy.”

“The spread and considerable disruption of this pandemic will be exacerbated by the increasingly intertwined trade and investment relationships between China and its neighbours in the Asia Pacific region.”

“Being a small open economy, the Solomon Islands will likely be adversely affected through the trade channel and thereafter the economy, and even fiscal operations.”

“In the past when we as a nation have faced significant challenges, we have proven to be resilient. And today is no different. We are in uncharted waters as a nation, region, and people.”

“In the coming days, we need to be prepared for some of the changes that will be put in place that will restrict our personal liberties, our businesses and our engagement with the world at large.”

“For the economy, we need to act like there is a crisis before we actually get into one and we will be working closely with our political leadership to look at what measures can be put in place to give the support in the areas that it needed the most.”

Uncharted waters indeed and “rough seas and times” that demand the united efforts of everyone to survive the unprecedented events that have fallen essentially without warning.

Cooperating and working together very much as a ‘home team’ cannot be over-emphasised as the government and the opposition combine to help steer the nation through troubled seas.

This week, the Leader of Opposition Matthew Wale made some comments about the large numbers of people that had ‘flooded the National Provident Fund (NPF) office who had gone there to get advice or withdraw their personal funds.

MrWale implied the “process adopted by the NPF was contrary to the emergency measures now in place to stop people congregating in large numbers and keeping a distance of 1.5 meters apart.

Mr. Wale said the “measures” were important to prevent the potential spread of coronavirus and such measures should never be compromised.

Social distancing which Mr Wale was referring to is absolutely essential for people to abide by to help eradicate the coronavirus.

When the deadly disease was first reported and people were advised to keep their distance and not to meet in large numbers, many continued to disregard the warnings and acted irresponsibly.

Now people are dying worldwide, they have begun to take the self-distancing rules far more seriously and I would urge all in the Solomon Islands to follow the rules Mr Wale referred to.

Yours sincerely

Frank Short

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