Did the party to party executive meeting end it all?

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By Alfred Sasako

IT was supposed to be a private affair. But private it was not. This is because it was the first time the executives of the Kadere and Democratic Alliance Party (DAP) met face to face in four months.

To everyone it was a bad marriage.

But at the meeting, everything reportedly flowed freely – trays of crayfish, mud crabs and fish of all descriptions, according to insiders who attended the 26th March top level meeting.

The importance of the meeting could not be understated. The reason(s) are obvious. DAP and Kadere have the controlling share so to speak in the company called Solomon Islands Democratic Coalition for Change Government (SIDCCG).

Without a course mutually agreed for the nine months’ journey to the next election, there could be a lot of detours along the way. And so the meeting was very important in that aspect.

It was also important because the Government’s budget for 2018 was by then still in the air. Any wrong move could trigger unwanted outcomes.

SIDCCG’s Coalition Minor Party, the People’s Alliance Party (PAP) was represented at the meeting by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Hon Milner Tozaka MP.

If there were a star performer at the meeting, it was none other than the President of Kadere Party, Peter Boyers, according to one insider.

He spoke at length about the importance of the customary governance system in a show intended to impress his political masters. Some were not impressed.

“You cannot apply that in every province. It may work in provinces such as Isabel and Choiseul, but certainly not on Malaita. It simply would not work,” some observers said quietly afterwards.

After his verbal presentation, Mr Boyers was confronted with the reality.

“Would you prepare a report on the customary governance system for our consideration, one Minister reportedly told Mr Boyers.

A deadline was reportedly given the former finance minister to furnish the executives of the ruling coalition parties his report, something which almost cost him his job when the issue consultants (political appointments) came before the new Prime Minister Ricky Houenipwela in January this year.

Being President of Kadere Party saved his job, except that the legality of such appointment is still under question mark based on sections of the State-Owned Enterprises Act.

That said, it was admirable to see the two leading parties accepted the need to convene a meeting with the aim of resolving the impasse, which had kept them apart for four months.

Leadership is about making tough and courageous decisions in tough times. Tough times call for tough decisions. They did. Whether or not both Parties have buried the hatchets so to speak, no one really knows.

The fact that no public statement came out after the meeting of feasting seems to suggest many outstanding issues were never resolved. They might have been swept under the carpet.

The half-day meeting was held in what was certainly a tough time for the coalition partners. It was even tougher for the people of Solomon Islands who expected political stability but instead witnessed the removal of Hon Manasseh Sogavare as Prime Minister last December.

The sad fact that no statement was made about the outcome of such an important meeting suggests that the undercurrents would continue undeterred.

One can only hope that Prime Minister Houenipwela has his sights firmly on his vision for the nation. He will certainly need all the support he needs particularly from within to arrive at the destiny he has set for our struggling nation.