TRANSPARENCY Solomon Islands welcomes the Deputy Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare’s comment on our call for the grant to be taxed.
We also acknowledge that he has the right to close his ears to the likes of Transparency Solomon Islands.
Transparency Solomon Islands does not dispute the fact that Terminal Grant is a legal entitlement of the 50 members of Parliament and the tax-free status of these entitlements under the PER.
That being the case and just because it is legal it does not make it morally, and ethically right when they legislate only for a privilege group of people and not all when it comes to paying tax.
We say so because the Members of the Parliamentary Entitlement Commission include the Minister of Finance and Chairman of Public Accounts Committee.
As such it is not independent, and this is a case where the fundamental principles of the Constitution are not being adhered to.
We just went through a time when there was no medicines in the National Referral Hospital, when friends and relatives walked into the hospital and came out in a coffin because there is only one nurse on duty.
If we can all pay tax, we can employ more nurses, trained agriculturalists, provide better services than is the case now.
This is the essence of our call to those we entrust our powers to, to do the right thing by the people.
Transparency Solomon Islands wishes to remind those in positions of public power that you will be asked questions, asked to effect decisions for the benefit of the people and you need to listen to the cry and plight of the people of Solomon Islands.
Should you not want to be questioned, turn a tone-deaf ear to the cries of the people, a blind eye to their plights and suffering that public position of power is probably not for you.
Furthermore, such a statement, coming from a national leader who is exercising people’s power to make decisions on their behalf is a slap on the face of tax payers and people of this country.
Whilst the tax payers can hardly cope from pay week to pay week struggling to make ends meet daily of the deductions made to their pay, allowance, etc. the biggest is the government tax or PAYE.
The state of our social services, such as schools, clinics, water supply and sanitation, medicine and medical supplies in the clinics throughout the country is appalling.
Sogavare’s strong opposition to TSI’s call for the terminal grant to be taxed clearly indicates the long absence of ethical or principled leadership in our government a very worrying trend indeed and we again remind all of us to stand up and say no to this.
Take your courage from the Supreme Law of this Country, the Constitution and we quote.
We the people of Solomon Islands, proud of the wisdom and the worthy customs of our ancestors, mindful of our common and diverse heritage and conscious of our common destiny, do now, under the guiding hand of God, establish the sovereign democratic State of Solomon Islands;
As a basis of our united nation
(a) all power in Solomon Islands belongs to its people and is exercised on their behalf by the legislature, the executive and the judiciary established by this Constitution;
(b) the natural resources of our country are vested in the people and the government of Solomon Islands;
TSI renews call for PEC to honour its announcement to the press in 2016, where they promised to re-introduce tax following public outcry on the decision of the Court of Appeal.