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Former governor recalls defections in return for money

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, September 10, 2009) – Former Governor General Sir Baddeley Devesi says Solomon Islands has adopted a British system that did not fit its context.

He revealed this when appearing before the Bills and Legislative Committee in Parliament yesterday.

The Committee was scrutinizing the proposed Political Party Bill that aims to stop MPs crossing the floor.

Sir Baddeley said the British system was different to Solomon Islands because it categorized people according to their class.

"Our system is communal where everyone equal," he said. "Therefore when we adopted the British system it is difficult for us."

The British Government colonized Solomon Islands from 1947-1956.

It left the country when it gained its Independence in 1978.

Sir Baddeley said the British system consisted of the Labour Party and the Conservative Party.

The Labour Party represented the working class people while Conservative Party for the middle and upper class.

Unlike Solomon Islands, Sir Badley said he was elected into the Legislative Council in 1967 through consent from his grandfather.

"I won the election without campaigning for support from my people in North East Guadalcanal," he recalled.

However, Sir Badley said the political situation changed in 1990s when MPs crossed the floor in return for big money.

He said Asians and local businessmen were blamed for this by targeting MPs with huge money and providing accomodation and food for them in hotels.

"I welcome the Bill if it going to address this problem," he said.

According to the proposed Political Party Bill, non citizens are not allowed to be part of any Parties.

A Political Party Integrity Commission will be set up to scrutinize Parties’ policies and disclose amount of money put by the Party.

Sir Baddeley Devesi GCMG, GCVO was born on Guadalcanal in October 16, 1941.

He served as the first Governor-General of the Solomon Islands from July 7, 1978 to July 7, 1988.

Afterwards, he served as Foreign Minister from 1989 to 1990, Interior Minister from 1990 to 1992, and Deputy Prime Minister from 1990 to 1993 and 1997 to 2000, until the government was removed by a joint Malaita Eagle Force (MEF) and Paramilitary operation.

He has since retired from politics.

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