BY BEN BILUA
PREMIER of Western Province says provincial governments are bystanders in decision making as associated powers are centralized with the central government.
Premier Christian Burley Mesepitu described the existing system of governance as “master servant” due to the disproportions in the system.
He said the current governance structure and operation under the Provincial Government Act 1997 basically recognizes provincial governments as “agents” and not an equal partner in development.
Mesepitu said the system was designed with fundamental flaws in the structural arrangement that has performance obstacles with poor ability to cater for Western conventions and service delivery.
He said the disbanding of the Area Council in the 1990s by a mere Cabinet decision was for the sake of financial relieve only to serve few communities from the formal state apparatus.
Mesepitu stressed people have been distanced due to negligence of addressing and giving equal participation of provinces in decision making.
“Note that almost 80 to 90 percent of Solomon Islands population live in rural communities while the National Government is located in Honiara. The closest government that deals with the people is the provincial government. This simple understanding should be a solution to development issues which never addressed in the country,” he said.
Mesepitu suggests that core reform should focus on decentralization of service delivery, associated powers, functions and role within the national structure.
“To further isolate provincial governments by undermining both their political and practical relevance, and making them appear as inefficient, failure and unable to respond to the inevitable need for change in Solomon Islands is besieged and need immediate intervention,” he said.