By Gary Hatigeva
SOLOMON Islands Prime Minister, Rick Hounipwela has revealed on the floor of Parliament that one of the main highlighted reasons for what was regarded as a cause of sour relation at the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) was the appointment and management style of the Secretariat’s Director General.
This, the Prime Minister shared when questioned over his apology statement made at the recent MSG meeting in Papua New Guinea (PNG) last month where he apologised for what he described as a cause of sour relationship between MSG member countries.
In his respond, the Prime Minister outlined a total of six points regarding the reasons for his apology at the summit, but pointed out that issues at least four of the total is related to the Director General of the secretariat.
PM Hou further revealed that during the period in which Solomon Islands was Chair of MSG, a number of issues came up, which he said have caused unease and some members were not comfortable about some of the things that have happened within the Group, on how things were handled and the manner in which members were talking to each other.
He said most of these came up because of certain decisions taken as the former Chair of the MSG and that includes the way in which the Director General who is a Fijian National, was recruited and this according to PM Hou, didn’t go down well with Vanuatu and PNG.
They said that the appointment was not done according to the protocol of consensus, “which I understand that is how they come to conclusions or decisions at the MSG.
“However, this issue had been settled in 2016 when MSG leaders met here in Honiara,” Hou explained.
Hou added that other areas related to the Director General for the cause of this claimed sour relationship was based on the engagement of the Director General to go on a special mission at COP 23 where he work with the chairman of the COP 23 for a period of 12 month, and his leave was granted under the chairmanship of Solomon Islands.
“That is also a thing that two countries were not happy about, namely Vanuatu and PNG
But, in the recent meeting we attended, the matter has been settled and the Director General had made his report on the mission to leaders and that too had been accepted and was sorted out,” the Prime Minister further added.
Hou further revealed that members have also told his delegation that they were not happy with the way the Director General has been managing the Secretariat and how he has been handling matters of concern to member countries at the MSG level.
Solomon Islands under the leadership of former Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare was Chair of MSG for two years until he was removed as PM following a no confidence motion against him in November last year.
The current PM took the Chairmanship status where he held it two months until he handed it over to his PNG counterpart, Prime Minister Peter O’Neil in the recent MSG summit in Port Moresby.