SOLOMONS’ OPPOSITION CRIES FOUL OVER MINISTER’S SACKING

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SOLOMONS’ OPPOSITION CRIES FOUL OVER MINISTER’S SACKING Cabinet reshuffle continues as accusations of incompetence fly

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, March 6, 2012, 2012) – Opposition Leader Hon. Dr. Derek Sikua has described the sacking of the Member of Parliament for Central Kwara’ae Hon. Jackson Fiulaua as grossly unfair.

Hon. Fiulaua who has been the Minister for Infrastructure Development since the National Coalition for Reform and Advancement (NCRA) Government came into power in 2010 was removed recently by Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo for what was termed as non performance.

Reacting to the removal, the Opposition Leader it was grossly unfair, as he was a staunch support of the NCRA Government from day one and that he represents the biggest constituency in Malaita and the nation as a whole.

Hon. Sikua said if the Prime Minister could sack Hon. Fiulaua for non-performance, then he should also look at removing some of his other Ministers including the Minister for Education Dick Ha’amori for the same reason.

"The Minister for Education is the worst performing minister as he demeans the good work done in the Ministry of Education over the years. He is not advocating for the education needs of the people of Solomon Islands and I would like to call on the Prime Minister to sack him and appoint a parliamentarian who can progress the policy and plans of the Ministry of Education."

The Opposition Leader said the Opposition is concerned by the Minister’s non-support for the proposal for the establishment of the fourth University of the South Pacific campus in Honiara.

He said the US$9 million ADB (Asian Development Bank) funding for the implementation of the proposal is now at stake due to the lack of political will and direction by the NCRA Government.

"The major part the Solomon Islands Government needs to play in this proposed undertaking is to provide land, but the current Minister of Education and Human Resources is not giving any clear directive as to how this issue of land will be solved. He needs to give an alternative site for the establishment of the fourth USP campus here as soon as possible. The Opposition is aware of the NCRA Government’s position to transform the Solomon Islands College of Higher Education (SICHE) into a national university however the establishment of the fourth USP campus need not wait for that transformation take place before happening."

Hon. Dr. Sikua said the tertiary education demand of Solomon Islands is growing and the Minister should not drag the issue too long when the opportunity for the government to realize that is right before it.

"If Minister continues to be an obstacle by showing vested interest in the proposed site against the wishes of the people then he should be sacked immediately. He is not advocating for the tertiary education demands of Solomon Islanders and this is just the same as not having an education Minister at all."

Meanwhile, the Opposition Leader expressed concern about the political wrangling within the government following the sacking of Hon. Fiulaua.

He said the internal rifts are an obstacle to the government’s implementation of its policy programs following the passage of the 2012 budget a month ago and the government must sort this matter out as soon as possible so it could proceed to focus on delivering services to the people.

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