Online Database Suggested For Profiling Solomon Islands MPs

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System would help to hold officials accountable to constituencies

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, July 31, 2012) – A former Member of Parliament has called for online profiling of Solomon Islands parliamentarians, saying the initiative would ensure MPs keep to policy promises they campaigned on during electioneering.

"It’s a way of keeping people honest and being passionate about what they believe in for the good of the people they represent," Alfred Sasako said in a statement while in Honiara yesterday.

"It also is part of the checks and balances, and indeed accountability, for the funds they received on behalf of the people of the Constituency they represent. It is accountability and transparency in action," he said.

Alfred explained that it would be a simple system to operate.

"First, it will require a database to be created for either each candidate or each political party. The database will carry names and other details of candidates and party manifestos, which candidates would use for their campaign during the election.

"Once the writs are returned, the information in the database would be narrowed down to the winning candidates and the policy they represent. The database will provide performance-based audits or checklists to be undertaken every three months to see whether the Candidates are sticking to their promises or have been sidetracked," Alfred said.

He said his suggestion is a win-win situation for all the stakeholders.

"It enhances the chance of re-election for the MP but at the same time gives constituents the opportunity to see how their MPs are performing compared to other MPs," Alfred said.

"It also gives our students studying overseas and others to comment on MPs’ performance. I believe the system is operating in Malaysia and keeps the MPs there on their toes. Perhaps the Government in Kuala Lumpur should be approached to help pay for the system to be established here, given that its loggers have taken everything out of this country. It’s time they put something back in the country," Alfred said.

Alfred said Solomon Islands’ non-governmental organizations should initiate the move so that consideration could be given to the idea ahead of the 2014 national general election.

"Of course I am not suggesting for one moment it can’t be done now. As a matter of fact it can, and perhaps can be perfected in 2014 and thereafter," he said.

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