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Time to clean house, Sir Allan!

Time to clean house, Sir Allan!

John Roughan

The country's fear factor is beginning to fade. No longer does the gun-threat haunt our everyday lives. We have once more become free. Yet, the almost knee-jerk reaction of looking over one's shoulder, worrying about what's around the corner each time we do something important in public, remains. Fortunately more and more are slowly shaking off the last five years of worry and concern. Letter writers to newspapers, for instance, now sign real names to their letters. A small fact that wouldn't have happened just three months ago. In a word, people's lives have come a long way since the 24 July 'invasion' but we still have a way to go.

The important ingredient still missing in our national peace drive is the fact that not one higher up has faced a law court for their crimes. However, even before these so called leaders face trial, government must send a clear message: ministers of the crown and senior public servants who have seriously broken their oath of office will be dismissed immediately or at least stood down until the law makes its decision.

For instance, the Minister of Fisheries should resign out right or at least step down while investigations take place about his officers helping themselves to $11,000 each for ex gratis payments from public money. They don't deny embezzlement charges. In fact their excuse is other public officers had received such payments, even larger ones. They saw themselves unjustly treated by Cabinet and rewarded themselves by stealing the money and, in fact, were actively searching for more.

The minister who sent his personal thugs down to a Honiara newspaper demanding a $5,000 compensation payment for printing up the truth about the minister, must be dismissed. The PM knows this case from top to bottom. Perhaps it's understandable that during our law-of-guns period he was reluctant to dismiss criminal ministers. But that time has finally passed and its now time for the nation's top politician to show his caliber and sack this minister immediately. Let the law take its course but the PM must make a quick decision to return a bit of dignity to the office of the Cabinet.

The minister who led the charge for Solomon Islands to import millions of tons of toxic waste to be dumped on Makira's Weather Coast, must be shown the door as well. This minister plus other Cabinet ministers planned to import toxic waste in spite of the minister's own Permanent Secretary, a man with a doctorate in soil science, forcefully counseled against such a rash move. Prime Minister, please bring back some much needed respect to the Cabinet's good name which lies in tatters. Remove that minister and do it now.

What about leading ministers as well as your own senior advisers who thought that the bogus Royal Assembly of Nations and Kingdom's billions would actually save the nation. Shouldn't they too be asked to leave since these ministers made the nation a mockery in the eyes of many, a laughing stock for other countries. When this false money scheme was shown to be totally phony, their plea was "Let's wait a while! Perhaps the money will come!" Some of these same advisors continue to live in fairy-fairy land and shouldn't be allowed anywhere near government's decision making process.

Ministers who have shown little respect for the country's citizens and who publicly declared they possessed no guns, and yet just days before the 'gun deadline' drew near, they happened to find a half dozen guns around the house. Only then did they return them to RAMSI to avoid a 10-year jail sentence. Such men have no place in parliament much less in cabinet. Such ministers must not stay on. When will these 'leaders' be finally dismissed from public office, never again to return to power?

Now, Prime Minister is the time, with the guns gone, you and your family closely guarded by hundreds of loyal police and troops (you are able to work from your office, no longer feel the need to hide at home), show real leadership. Stand down or dismiss those ministers who destroyed this wonderful country of ours. Read history carefully, Mr. PM. Your term in office, I predict, will stretch no further than early 2004. By cleaning out dead wood, criminals and incompetents now, you underscore that what you did in our Dark Days of the Gun had been forced on you. You were personally under threat and your family's safety was in question. You now have a chance to prove that your heart had always been in the right place but the threats against you were severe. If you fail to act, however, then it's clear that you had indeed agreed with much of what the incompetents, crooks and criminals di

Your own police force presents a solid lesson. Proportionately the police were no more riddled with corruption, crooks and incompetents than Cabinet. It has taken them, however, but a few weeks to begin cleaning up their house. They have arrested, placed behind bars and begun court proceedings against some of their most senior officers. Take that lesson to heart, Sir Allan. Do the same with the cabinet members who have so seriously failed both the nation and yourself. By doing this action, you would dramaticaly speed up our slow return to real peace, harmony and public order.

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