Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has called for a national united front in combating corruption in Solomon Islands when he opened a two-day National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) Workshop in Honiara today.
Hosted by the Solomon Islands Government with support from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the workshop was designed to share with participants the latest developments on national legislative programmes on anti-corruption.
The workshop is set assist Solomon Islands to develop its own NACS with the ultimate aim of reducing avenues for corruption as well as to increase the probability for detection, civic education and punishment.
Once finalised, the NACS will also be the key mechanism where a coalition between the Government, Civil Society and the Private Sector will be consolidated in the fight against corruption.
The advantage of the NACS’s process both in its development and implementation stages is that it will provide transparency particularly in Government’s effort to fight corruption while at the same time provide an avenue for private-public partnership in the anti-corruption battle.
“I am personally convinced that the fight against corruption is not just a fight by Government alone but it is a fight by all stakeholders and it is a fight that must be pursued by all of us,” Hon Sogavare said.
The Prime Minister added that the cries of Solomon Islanders on the Government to seriously address corruption has been well documented in the more than a decade long consultation on the Federal Constitution and the recent nation-wide consultation on political integrity and stability issues.
“Undoubtedly, when there is an overwhelming desire and a collective pressure by the people for the government to do something about a particular matter; it is because the people are aggrieved by the existence of a problem,”
“Inevitably, we as public leaders, need to be responsive to the wishes of our people so we can bring relief and entrench a belief in our people that the problem they face will go away,” Hon Sogavare said.
The Prime Minister also noted that Corruption in the country has significantly depleted opportunities for jobs in the country’s increasing labour force while at the same time holding back growth.
“It has trapped the majority of people in poverty and certainly trapped the country in its status as a least developing country. It has steal vital resources from our schools and hospitals and it has certainly undermined our security when increasing perceived corruption makes people more susceptible to the poisonous ideology of extremists,” he said.
The implementation of NACS will be coordinated by a Steering Committee that draws representation from the Government, Civil Society, the Private Sector, and Development Partners; a mechanism emphasising transparency and partnership to all stakeholders.
The workshop concludes tomorrow Friday 9 September.