BY BEN BILUA
PREMIER of Western Province says the existing governance hierarchy from the central to provincial government is a curse to development.
David Gina made the statement in reference to greater partnership and collective decision-making process towards needed development.
“I believe one of the glaring inadequacies of our current provincial government system is the detachment of our rural populace from the national government and the day to day running of the country or province for that matter,” Gina said.
He said provincial governments are the closest semblance of any formal governance structure that people can access, adding provincial governments know better the need of the people.
However, he said provincial governments have been abandoned in policy making process leaving provinces with no option but to receive services that are being provided without having any say in their needs, priorities and policies that areas are pressing in respective localities.
Gina said, the dissolution of Area Councils in the 1990s followed by the enactment of Provincial Government Act  were the biggest errors that led to the disconnection between national and provincial government when it comes to shared decision-making processes.
“This marked the gradual concentration of the decision-making powers to Honiara and the reciprocal “disconnect” between the ruling few and the past.
“This is further compounded by the fact that under the Provincial Government Act  (PGA), Provincial Governments are viewed as “agents” only rather than partners. It therefore follows that how can development be progressed when we are not on the same footing,” he said.
Gina described the establishment of Ward Development Committee (WDC) following a cabinet decision in 2012 as a mirror reform strived to reconnect the national and provincial government in policy development and implementation processes.
“The reason being that whilst the intention of the WDCs is to involve the rural people in governance through a participatory planning process, this does not come with fiscal devolution in order to render meaning and significance.
“We are only in the early implementation stage and we are already seeing the superficial nature of these arrangements.
“It is my humble opinion that for meaningful development to take place, we must first of all address the discrepancies and gaps within the current system so that it fosters a genuine partnership environment rather than one of master and slave,” he said. “These are some of the underlying weaknesses which continue to doze the existing system rendering its efficiency,” Gina added.