SOLOMON ISLANDS AND CHINA THE VARIOUS SECRETIVE AGREEMENTS
Transparency Solomon Islands is appalled and continues to be dismayed by the continued unaccountable, uncaring, irresponsible, and non-transparent behavior and conduct of the DCGA led Executive Government. This DCGA led Executive Government continues to conduct itself in the manner that does not contribute to social stability and peace in Solomon Islands. It has shrunk the public space through media and other avenues that citizens could use to voice their disappointments, their suggestions, concerns etc. with regard to how the Executive power of the country has been exercised by DCGA since it came into power. For example, the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation (SIBC) was removed from State-owned, therefore owned by people of the Democratic State of Solomon Islands, to one that is now owned and controlled by the DCGA Coalition led Executive Government.
Media is a very important accountability tool/vehicle that provides information, where people share ideas, showcase their achievement, have an opinion on public policies, access educational information and the list goes on. Since the change of the status of the media that has the widest reach in Solomon Islands, where people can openly share their views, discuss issues that should be discussed, asking the questions that must be asked of us the people of Solomon Islands, our Executive Government, the Legislature, and the Judiciary, civil society space, voices, activism etc. has been restricted. It is the people and people’s voices that have been affected most by the change. SIBC is the only source of credible information for the majority of Solomon Islanders.
After the change, the media and public were assured that SIBC’s programs including live, panel discussion, talk-back show will not be affected. They will remain the same except for any live panel discussion, debates, talk-back shows that are likely to raise questions about the Executive Government. In this instance Transparency Solomon Islands is informed that a letter of invitation be sent to the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet for one of their representatives to be included in the program. Transparency Solomon Islands welcomes this wholeheartedly. It is good for people listening in to talk directly with a government representative. In 2022 to mark the International Anti-Corruption Day (IACD), a United Nations designated day Transparency Solomon Islands sent an invitation letter to the Office of Prime Minister and Cabinet for a representative to be part of a live panel discussion it organized with SIBC. The IACD is a day designated by the United Nations to be marked globally for all countries that are signatory to the UNCAC. It is a day where the host and in this case the Executive Government bring together stakeholders to share their achievements in the fight against corruption, take stock of what still needs to be done, identify gaps and educate people about the negative impact of corruption on development, social services, business etc. and most importantly the importance of building coalitions in the fights against corruption, protecting democracy through good governance. The panel discussion was going to be around the Theme of the 2022 International Anti-Corruption Day, “UNITING THE WORLD AGAINST CORRUPTION ”. No response was received and those responsible were nowhere to be found was the feedback we had. SIBC could not run the program either because no response came from the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Currently a big delegation of DCGA Coalition is in China making statements, signing God knows how many agreements with regard to security knowing very well that the last Security Agreement signed between the DCGA led Executive Government did not go down well with the people of Solomon Islands. But where can the people’s voice be heard given the very experience that TSI had. To recap in relation to agreements signed with China despite the promise by the Prime Minister that he will publicly share with the people of Solomon Islands the signed correct (?) version of the Security Pact with China Communist Party to date it has remained secret. Now the Commissioner of Police is in China too signing God knows what other security agreements. Aren’t these irresponsible conducts, non-transparent and non-accountable, to the people whose entrusted power they exercise, the very examples of conducts that create disunity in the country than what SIBC does?
Transparency Solomon Islands asks the Prime Minister and the DCGA led Executive Government to share with all people (citizens and residents) the security threats that this country is facing and from where and from whom. Seeing what is happening, it is also time for OUR Party, the DCGA Executive Government Coalition and Chinese Communist Party to inform the people of Solomon Island if their country (Solomon Islands) is now a satellite province of Beijing/China.
TSI is also gravely concerned that the campaign for the 2024 election has begun and set in motion in a number of Constituencies. The Chinese Embassy here in Solomon Islands funds and features publicly in these pre-campaign period launches as covered by the media, creating an unlevel playing field for the coming election 2024. What did such a huge delegation of the ruling government coalition go to China for. Many alleged it is to sell the country for more funds to continue the campaign to create an unlevel playing field for 2024 National General Elections. This is basically to influence the outcome of 2024 Election for their own agenda. Do they care about Solomon Islands, sovereignty of Solomon Islands, good governance, and democracy? Not at all, but neither do our representatives who are going along for their own agenda. People of Solomon Islands may be labeled quiet, uneducated etc. but they are intelligent. The dishing out of goods/projects in key constituencies with the key supporters of Chinese Communist Party, they most certainly know will contribute towards the unlevel playing field come election day for candidates that are intending to contest in these seats. Is it fair and proper for a superpower to be doing this openly? From very reliable sources, Transparency Solomon Islands is aware that members of parliament we elected are also subject to these “carrot and stick” practice of loggers and now joined by this superpower who does not care about Solomon Islands other than using it for its geopolitical agenda against other superpowers. To do so it must control the Executive Government exercising government official power. Why use Solomon Islands as a pawn in this struggle for whatever dominance you are seeking. Is it because we have an Executive Government that can be bought, or who only thinks about gains for today, leadership consisting of rent diverters and seekers for their own agenda?. Representatives that did have doubts about joining OUR Party are lured by the propaganda that “if they do not join OUR Party their Constituencies will not receive any benefit”. Where did that extra benefit come from? Is it China, is this what we are seeing now big delegations, (national and Provincial) making trips to China, or for the support towards the election as covered by the media? So many unanswered questions.
All in all, it is irresponsible and unaccountable, untransparent of the delegation now in China to be signing new agreements left-right and center. Members of Parliament should never forget that the power they exercise is people’s entrusted power. The people need to know how you have used it and if it is to the best of their interests and country, or what other rationales for these new, non-transparent, secretive agreements. It is the citizens’, political, legal, democratic, civil, and human rights to know the content of the agreement that you have signed in the exercise of their entrusted power. They will not remain ignorant and eventually work it out for themselves. Solomon Islands is a Constitutional Government and questions of whether or not DCGA complied with the processes for signing these agreements, such as the Cabinet process is information that must be shared.
Moreover, looking at why the rush to sign these agreements when you as a Coalition have not fulfilled your electoral promises and your party policies especially to MPs that are Members of the People First Party a DCGA Coalition political party member. One of your policies is to push for the enactment of the Special Temporary Measures for women to get into parliament. The Secretary to Prime Minister who it is alleged has the biggest influence on the current Executive Government, is a member of this party but he has done absolutely nothing on this policy of his party. The Executives of the Party were also female, but TSI knows of only one that made an effort.
Of particular concern to Transparency Solomon Islands is the Policing Security Agreement that is said to be one of these newly signed agreements. Whilst the Commissioner of Police travels all the way to China for this, he completely ignores the illegal activities of the Chinese and certain politicians, intending candidates, who continued to breach the current beche-de-mer ban.
It is infuriating to see the DCGA led Executive Government allow China Communist Party use it and our country Solomon Islands to score points against the other superpowers that China has issues with or who have issues with China. Through the actions of the DCGA led Executive Government, Solomon Islands is now portrayed as a dangerous country to invest in and that foreign countries need to send in security forces to protect their private investors. When will the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force wake up to the fact that the DCGA government has no confidence in it. The promotion of a security agreement with China is nothing more than painting Solomon Islands as not a safe and conducive environment for foreign and national investment. All this in the name of China scoring points against its rival superpower at the expense of the real need of the people and country of Solomon Islands. No one is listening to the people, the Executive Government led by the DCGA Coalition, and those in this geopolitical struggle of their own. Whilst you do that, see us the citizens of this country and the need to protect our democracy through good governance. See how you have stepped on our various rights, our democracy, and our way of living, the hurt that you inflict, the struggle we have to be heard. STOP!!! YOU ARE STEPPING ON OUR RIGHTS, INTEGRITY, AND NEEDS. WE WANT TO KNOW; WE WANT TO BE HEARD.