Solomons Government Urged To Follow Through With Policies

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PM called to return to ruling party’s development strategies

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Oct. 19, 2012) – An architect of the National Coalition for Reform and Advancement (NCRA) government policy has spoken in support of plans announced by Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo for the development of constituencies starting next year.

Alfred Sasako is commenting on a statement attributed to Mr. Lilo, who among other things, said the 50 constituencies would be used as economic development centers from next year.

More money, he said, would be provided to them so the rural people connect with their government.

But Mr. Sasako said announcing such a comprehensive plan without acknowledging that the NCRA policy has been fully and formally restored does not go far enough.

"The prime minister must now acknowledge that it was a mistake to abandon albeit briefly the NCRA policy because it is the only way to develop the rural areas of Solomon Islands.

"At the same time, he must also restore the National Bureau for Social and Economic Reform (NBSER) because it is the only vehicle equipped with the vision and foresight to make the grand plan for constituencies work," Mr. Sasako said.

He said the bureau had done a lot of work including scoping for the proposed economic growth centers on Malaita and in other provinces.

"The public service cannot do this because some of them have not got the faintest idea of what the bureau is about let alone its intended functions.

"Without the full restoration of NCRA policies and the National Bureau for Social and Economic Reform, the plans for the development of constituencies would only come to nothing and once again state resources would have been at the whims of politicians," Mr. Sasako said.

"I am saying this not because I want my job at the Bureau back. No. I am raising this because it is good for the nation and that the economic cake must be shared equitably with voters and non-voters alike of each constituency. Only the Bureau can bring about the equitability," he said.

Mr. Sasako said if such a mechanism was not in place, the 65 percent of voters who voted for losing candidates in the last election can forget about the plans for constituency development. "They will continue to watch from the sideline," he said.

Mr. Sasako urged the prime minister to go all the way with the comprehensive plan for the development of constituencies, including the full restoration of the NCRA Policy as well as the National Bureau for Social and Economic Reform.

"It’s the only way to go," he said.

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