By Gary Hatigeva
FORMER Prime Minister and former Chairman of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), Manasseh Sogavare says he stands by his decision back then as chair to appoint the new Director General of the Secretariat.
The Director General was at the centre of talks amongst members of parliament yesterday, when the current Prime Minister, Rick Hounipwela revealed that the purpose for his apology statement at the recent MSG meeting was based on what he said caused disunity amongst member countries.
In his presentation, Prime Minister Hou outlined a number of reasons for his apology statement, most of which were directed at the appointment of MSG’s Director General and the way he has been managing the secretariat’s Head Quarter.
But in a strong statement, the former Prime Minister now Deputy, stressed that he did nothing wrong as Chair then and that all his decisions were based on the MSG Charter and procedures.
He said the Secretariat was in urgent need of a Director General then and because of that, he as Chair had to exhaust other avenues which are also provided for under MSG charter and guidelines to recruit and fill in the important post.
Sogavare explained that when his government took over the organisation, they took over a pretty much bankrupt organisation (MSG) as it didn’t have money.
“So one of the things we had to come up with was to recruit someone who can run the organsiation and sad to say that our own Solomon Islander who was in charge of that organisation then resigned half way because there were questions raised on his competency.
“He ran the organisation down so much so that it ran out of money,” the former MSG Chair claimed when stressing his points on the appointment of the Fijian National as Director General of the Secretariat.
He said because of the situation, Solomon Islands during its term as chairmanship in the organisation has done all its best to revive the organisation.
“We have handed over an organization that is now fully functional,” Sogavare added.
Meanwhile, the former Prime Minister stressed that on the engagement of the Director General at the COP 23, him as chair then made a decision under the charter of MSG, which allows for the chair to second an officer of MSG to an organisation or some other activities or programmes that would also benefit MSG.
“Now COP 23 is to do with environment where all island nations are singing the same tune and our Director General is an expert and has experience in this area.
“…and so we second him for that and then later circulate a memo to get consensus of members
But to his surprise, Sogavare said PNG was not happy with what came up.
“I thought this is right within the charter as it allows me to do it, it ticks every box. For the appointment of a very experienced MSG officer to go to this COP23 thing to help out because it is in the interest of MSG.
The former PM however added that because of the differences highlighted, a decision was made for the Director General to go on unpaid leave.
It is understood that in the recent MSG meeting in PNG, the Director General presented his report back to leaders of the Spearhead Group on his special mission to the COP23.