Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare has used the occasion of the Second Appointed Day of Western Province to reaffirm government’s commitment to ensure that the much sought-after state government system will be implemented.
The Prime Minister reminded the people of Western Province that self- autonomy was not new and that it was brought up during the time country gained independence in 1978.
“Self- Autonomy is a theme that the people of Western District as it was then known, which includes Western and Choiseul Islands are familiar with. We do not celebrate when our country attained political independence from Great Britain in July 1978 when the other islands did,” PM Sogavare stated.
“Why? Because leading to and right from the word go, we asked the right questions. Will the system of Government, we adopt at independence work for us? Will it fairly acknowledge the contribution of our different island groups which eventually became Provinces in the distribution of the national wealth of the new independent nation? Will it provide the incentive for people to work hard?” the Prime Minister continued.
PM Sogavare pointed out that these are the questions that have continued to haunt us as a country.
He added that the simple answer to these questions is that the system of government we have adopted at the independence cannot accommodate those questions.
The Prime Minister pointed out that he understands the feeling and argument of the people that the current provincial government system does not reward provincial productivity.
“Did the Provincial Government system as a form of government give us the autonomy that is conducive to hard work and entrepreneurship? Our people think otherwise and rightly so…because there is a perception that there is no guarantee under the centralized budgetary system to reward provincial productivity. I can also understand the frustrations of our people in that regard too,” Sogavare stated.
The Prime Minister also highlighted that the answer to peoples’ frustrations is the State Government System, further adding government will not consider any other forms of self-autonomy but it will stand on the recommendation by Eminent Persons Group for the Federal System.
PM Sogavare pointed out that the draft Federal Constitution takes more than 10 years and over $100 million of budgetary provisions to develop.
The Prime Minister made a strong assurance that government is committed to introducing the Federal System of Government as recommended by the Imminent Persons Group.
PM Sogavare also used the occasion to dispel the rumour that government is being influenced to brush aside the issue of State Government System.
“Contrary to any thinking that the Government may have succumbed to the dictates of some foreign influences to shelve the State Government system, I want to assure you…that the DCGA is fully committed to introducing the Federal System of Government recommended by the Imminent Persons Group,” the Prime Minister stressed.
Western Province’s Second Appointed Day celebration was delayed by a week, and the Prime Minister was invited as the chief guest.