By Alfred Sasako
WEST Are Are community leader Charles Karaori has congratulated the Constituency MP, John Maneniaru, on his promotion to head the Ministry of Finance and Treasury.
Hon Maneniaru, formerly of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, and Hon Snyder Rini swapped ministries in August this year. But the transition was delayed until last week as a result of intervention by the Party executives of the DCC Coalition.
In his congratulatory message, Mr Karaori warned that while the promotion was a gain for West Are Are, thousands of voters are demanding answers on a number of issues relating to the use of funding grants for the Constituency in the last three years.
“For example, the voters want the truth about the $4 million in shipping grants Hon Maneniaru received in 2016. They want to know what he spent the money on as to this day, West Are Are voters have not seen a constituency boat,” Mr Karaori said.
“All the people know through other sources is that their MP has requested an additional $5 million from the shipping grants this year, a request former minister for the Ministry of Infrastructure Development (MID) had turned down because the initial grant of $4 million was never retired,” Mr Karaori said.
He said shipping is not a priority in West Are Are because the Constituency is well served by existing shipping operators.
“What the voters are quite angry about is that their MP never told them he had received $4 million in shipping grants last year. Hon Maneniaru had an opportunity to inform his voters during his recent tour of the Constituency, but he never did,” Mr Karaori said.
“I think there are a lot of angry voters out there,” he said.
Mr Karaori said while Hon Maneniaru’s promotion to the Minister of Finance was a proud moment for the people of West Are Are, the ramifications could be dire for the DCC Government.
“I said this because of the fact that there absolutely is nothing to speak of in terms of tangible development in West Are Are. I guess the same is true of other provinces, despite tens of millions of dollars that Members of Parliament received on behalf of their constituencies,” he said.
“I guess one way of describing it is that while the move is a gain for West Are Are, it is suicidal for the government.”
Mr Karaori said a recent assessment of the MP’s performance in terms of project delivery showed only iron roofing was donated – all without nails and Louvre glasses.
“How do you expect a village man or woman to buy materials to complete their houses, when the bulk of the cost of completing their houses has been left to the poor people?”
“Members of Parliament, particularly those in government, are on the priority list of receiving annual grants of $7 million each in what is popularly known as the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
“This means that each Constituency would have received $28 million in CDF grants by the end of their four-year term. But there is more that they get as extras that we all don’t know about,” Mr Karaori said.