What is in the Malaita log of claims

Premier Daniel Suidani (left) hands over the log of claim to PS Stanley Dick Pirione (middle) and PS Peter Mae (right).
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MALAITA Provincial Government has handed over the provincial’s “log of claim” to the national government during the province’s 39th Second Appointed Day celebration on Monday this week in Auki.

The log of claim was received on behalf of national government by PS MPGIS, Mr Stanley Dick Pirione and colleague PS for MTGPEA with 28 days given for national government to respond to the claims.

Below are the 15 points raised in the log of claim:

Point 1

That the National government set out an agreed time table for the implementation of PART 4 SECTION 1(a) of the TPA. This is the part that deals with Autonomy to Malaita and Guadalcanal provinces.

This should include enacting an Act of Parliament that sets out major key activities with schedule timeframes and budgetary provisions that would lead to achieving autonomy for Malaita and Guadalcanal provinces.

The current pursue under the federal system has so far been cumbersome and seems to be a tool for convenience to politicians and many of the political governments to date.

Any set ups going forward must include representatives from the Malaita provincial government and other provincial governments.

Point 2

That similarly Malaita Provincial Government (MPG) would like to see same step taken in point number one be taken under an Act of Parliament to facilitate SECTION 2(b) (c) & (d) of the Townsville Peace Agreement that would result in the amendments to the SINPF Act and the setting up of a Malaita Province Provident Fund.

Point 3

That to facilitate the implementation of Part 4 of the TPA, the government should reach out to the UNSC requesting an urgent dispatch of a team to consult with all relevant stakeholders in Solomon Islands and particularly those “countries in the region” to objectively assess the implementation of the Agreement with special attention to PART 4 being Political and Socio-economic issues, identifying causes of non-implementation of agree measures and recommending measures to ensure implementation.

That the team report back o the UN Security Council on analysis and recommendations for implementation of the Agreement so as to address fundamental social and economic issues to ensure peace and stability in Solomon Islands.

Point 4

That until laws to safeguard our natural resource; be it forest, minerals, sea resources, indigenous business interests and cyber security are properly engineered to safeguard the interest of the indigenous people of Solomon Islands and passed by the National Parliament of Solomon Islands.

The National Government for the time being should respect the development principles of the MARA government as enshrined in the Malaita Provincial Government Auki Communiqué.

The communiqué is a principle document that provides guidance to the MARA government in advancing major state sponsored and or donor funded developments in Malaita province.

In this regard MPG would like to see that the national government informs PRC to cease its bullying tactics of channeling funding to individual and selected Malaita MPs in defiance of the Auki Malaita Communiqué. This is seen in the case for East Malaita Mini Hospital and Fataleka and Baegu Asifola constituencies’ road works.

Point 5

That the national Government immediately review and effectively implement the revenue sharing policy that has been in discussion for sometimes by the various government ministries including your ministry, MPGIS.

It seems that this issue has been lacking enthusiasm from the National Government and thus its implementation has been prolonged to date.

Should there be reasons as to why it has taken so long, such reasons must be communicated to the provincial governments to avoid unnecessary negative judgments from the provincial governments and or other relevant partners.

Point 6

That in line with the precedent already set by the National Government through the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Survey to return all lands held under the Commissioner of Lands to Makira Ulawa provincial Government.

MPG would also like the National Government to do the same for MPG and return all lands under the Commissioner of Lands to the MPG to be held on behalf of the Malaita Provincial Assembly.

Point 7

That the National Government transfers the provision for road maintenances in the provinces with budgetary allocations to MPG and other provinces.

This should include payment of a fleet of machinery and the expansion of the provincial works division. So many times the image and reputation of the provincial government and the government for that matter have been unnecessary tarnish when provincial roads are in bad state.

This we believe is due to the contracting our process that includes tendering and other intermediary requirements which are very time consuming and prone to political influence and corruption. It is our strongest opinion that the best way to deal with this in a timely manner is to help the province to have its own machinery.

If the government through the MID can purchase a ship for Temotu Province to help with their transportation, we see no reason why the government cannot do similar arrangements for road machineries for Malaita province.

After all these are all transport related issues and national government would be seen as acting in a bias manner if is not consistent with its approach when dealing with transportation issues in the provinces.     

Point 8

That the National Government reverses the decision of the National Steering Committee of the Solomon Islands Road and Aviation Project (SIRAP) to suspend indefinitely the Malaita Sealed Roads component of the World Bank project as recorded in the SIRAP End October 2021 Report.

This unfair decision cannot be accepted since there has not yet been any tendering for this component and that the decision by the committee is premature and seems to pre-empt that it will be a Chinese company that will ended winning any future bids.

Point 9

That there be a policy and legislative arrangement put in place in terms of revenue that is generated from the tuna stocks that caught within provincial boundaries.

The definition of provincial territorial waters or the benefit from the sea resources must be aligned with the provincial boundaries and not the old definition of provincial territorial waters.

So far tuna fishing has been conducted within the waters of the provincial boundaries without any direct benefits from such activities.

We noted that other Pacific Island countries have arrangements whereby revenue generated from tuna catches within their provincial boundaries are directly shared with the national or central government.

If other Pacific Island countries can do this and has been beneficial to their provincial or second tier governments, we see no reasons why such arrangements cannot be devised in the case of Solomon Islands.

Similar arrangements should be put in place for the bech-der-mer industry. This industry should be put under the reserve business activities for domestic investors.

Point 10

That MPG also share with other provincial governments, indigenous bodies, NGOs, faith based organizations and other civil society groups our opposition to the extension of parliament via the strategy of suspending section 73(3) of the constitution.

We strongly hold that under our representative government system, the principle of responsible government is a corner stone to this system of government.

Therefore DCGA must be responsible and adhere to the call from people it represents not to go ahead with the proposal.

The arguments backing the concept that the government has already been mandated through the process of elections failed to go further in investigating how the much promoted mandate mantra came about.

In any case people were willing to give their consent to mandate the elected leaders based on issues discussed during the campaigning time that leads to elections.

In other words, people gave their consent through their votes based on the issue discussed leading up to the election.

In this regard we strongly believe no single member that is currently serving under the DCGA government have ever talked about the issue of extending the life of parliament for any extra year during their campaign in the last election.

Point 11

That MPG called on the National Government to acknowledge that the suspension of the former MPG Provincial Secretary was wrongfully done and that this was a case of the law has been wrongfully and inappropriate applied.

MPG believes that the manner in which he was treated was unfair and that there could be elements of political interference in the case against him.

It is our understanding that all the allegations that were laid against him have been dropped since they hold no grounds whatsoever.

Fredrick Fa’abasua is our best performing Provincial Secretary who has provided the province with the necessary and sound financial, managerial and leadership ability that saw MPG performing exceptionally well within the family of provinces and in comparison to previous Malaita provincial governments.

Point 12

That for national security, peace and unity, MPG strongly calls on the national government to annul and revoke the recently signed security deal with the PRC.

MPG believes the current security arrangements with Australia are rigorous enough to cater for both our domestic and international security needs.

Thus, there is no need for any further security arrangements with PRC. In fact this has been proven to be the case in the recent turmoil in Honiara.

Additionally, MPG strongly of the opinion that the domestic emphasis of the security agreement with PRC is a direct threat to the people of Malaita province. We can always look to history for prove on this point.

Point 13

That for purpose of transparency, accountability and good governance, the national government must provide copies of the numerous MOUs it has signed with PRC or any donor partners for that matter to the provinces.

It has been challenging for Malaita province and other provinces to get clear understanding on what areas are covered under the MOUs and how the provinces should prepare themselves to deal with developments envisage under the signed MOUs.

This is considering the continue view uphold by the National Government that the provincial government is an agent of the national government.

It would therefore be more than prudent that as an agent the province be informed effectively of the MOUs and have access to them.

Point 14

That the national government deals with visa entry requirements of project officials that participate in the USAID SCALE project in a timely manner and without unnecessary bureaucrat red tape.

This should also apply to senior government officials including those at the PS level that from time to time request leave from their superiors in Honiara to involve and take part in the activities of the USAID SCALE project in Auki, Malaita province.

We have been reliably informed of unnecessary delays and outright refusal by government officials to facilitate entry permits and leaves to personnel that are engage in activities implemented under the USAID SCALE project in Malaita province.

To advance this the province would like to see a dedicated official be put into contract with the province to inform the province of who is coming under the project and the status of their entry applications.

Point 15

That the national government must without delay agree on the terms of the National Transport Core Initiative Project that the Prime Minister have been highlighting in his speeches.

Our understanding is that the National Transport Core Initiative Project is currently with the Minister of National Planning and Development Coordination without much discussion and action by the government.

Malaita province being a province that will benefit immensely under this project is concern that the national government’s focus on this important national project has been weakened by other interests or maybe is unnecessarily stifled by the government and other political interest.

The national government must work closely with the donors that were identified in the preliminary discussions under this project which we believe to have been the US, Australia, Japan and New Zealand.

Better still there should be an MOU with the provinces that are earmarked to benefit under this project to ensure the provinces are kept inform of the progress of this very important national project.