BY BARNABAS MANEBONA
PREMIER of Rennell and Bellona province welcomes the notion of having the Solomon Games (SG) preparation funds audited.
Premier Collin Singamoana in response to reports that Caucus may opt for an audit of government funds allocated for Solomon Games preparation in Renbel, says he welcomes wholeheartedly the idea, since ‘auditing is a mechanism to clarify doubts and issues’.
However, while facing the idea of an audit with open arms, Premier Singamoana says it is concerning to note how national government is trying to bully Renbel province into being a scapegoat for their dirty politics.
“Audit usually happens when a project has completed or has failed. Preparations for the SG are still ongoing with progress reports being submitted timely, and NOCSI having expressed satisfaction with prep work, and suddenly Caucus is announcing plans to audit the funds.
“Caucus claims reason for this is slow prep work, and rumours of misappropriation of funds. But, I say this is all rubbish, and an audit anytime will prove me right. The real reason behind the move to stall the Solomon Games hosted in Renbel this year is political, and the PM and Caucus are moving only to protect the interest of their colleague, the Renbel MP, and other matters of their interest.
“I accept and welcome an audit anytime, and you Renbel MP and national leaders must accept too audits to the many public funds under your discretions. I’m sure this is where auditors will have a field day. Leave Solomon Games preparations alone. Just ensure that the last tranche of funds is released timely for prep to be completed in time.”
Reports have earlier surfaced in social media that Caucus has proposed to move the 2018 SG to Honiara to be co-hosted by Renbel and Honiara, or postpone 2018 SG for next year, and audit the SG preparation funds.
A media statement from the prime minister’s office on Tuesday this week mentioned that ‘the Prime Minister and his delegation were at Rennell for the second appointed day celebrations in July this year, including some Cabinet Ministers that visited Rennell earlier, which all have raised concerns regarding the preparations on the ground’.
The statement said Caucus was concerned with reports that preparations for the SG ‘is very slow’.
Premier Singamoana has yesterday clarified that if there was anyone to be blamed for the slow preparations, then government has no one else but itself, since preparations are entirely dependent on funds from the Home Affairs Ministry (the ministry responsible for the event).
He said the whole thing is a political move by the Renbel MP and his government circle.
Having clarified this, Premier Singamoana also affirmed his confidence and that of the local organising committee (LOC) and the Solomon Games Taskforce that preparations will be completed well before the games begin.
Singamoana reiterates that preparations will complete in time only if government releases the remaining funds in time. If not, he says, things will go the government’s way and prep work will not finish in time.