Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


John Roughan: Movement But Little Change!

Movement But Little Change!

By John Roughan
7 November 2005

Last week's meeting with Solomon's major donor partners saw a lot of movement but little basic change. The nation's recent five years of social turmoil, although recognized as the most fundamental change-event of our short history, is too often viewed as a bit of bad luck or what happened in a few isolated places--Guale's Weather Coast, Marau, North Malaita, Gizo. etc. which caused serious economic downturn.

Our leaders continue to think, speak and act as if these serious events were happenings outside our normal life patterns and therefore can be healed by establishing a more robust economy, better working of government machinery and healthy doses of donor support. In other words, it's only a case of getting the external factors right and little or nothing to do with how we ourselves must change.

There's some truth here but the solutions heard at the donor conference fail to tackle head on the roots of our problems. Over the years, certainly after the events of Cyclone Namu in 1986, government has seriously drifted further and further from the people of the nation. And the voting public, recognizing this growing rift, constantly denied parliamentarians less and less ballot box support.

Study the election results over the past five national elections:

1984 % 1989 % 1993 % 1997 % 2001 % AVERAGE %

50% or above of the vote
24 ---|--- 16 ---|--- 30 ---|--- 24 ---|--- 20 ---|--- 23

Below 50% of the vote
76 ---|--- 84 ---|--- 70 ---|--- 76 ---|--- 80 ---|--- 77

Over a twenty year history at the polls, citizens were voting in fewer and fewer members with 50% of the vote. More than 7 out of ten members, in fact, attracted less than 50% of the vote. Even worse, 3 out of 10 elected members couldn't attract 30% of the vote in their constituency. The 2006 poll, more over, will show more unpopularity with parliament members than ever before.

Government missed a great opportunity to demonstrate to the generous international donor partners that it had finally turned an important corner with its long suffering people. Long had the nation's other major governance workers--church, Civil Society, business houses, especially women--been kept outside the halls of power. Last week's donor conference again demonstrated the old familiar pattern! Government ministers and they alone know what ails Solomons' society. It is their plans, their ways of doing things and an all male cast more over that we are assured will return the Solomons to its former peacefulness. But this is the very same crowd who lost the peace in the first place and brought the nation to its knees.

This current week allows the government another excellent opportunity for parliament to break the mold. This session, the Budget debate, the most important meeting of the Law Makers, should be packed with all 50 members, all day long. Already, however, the Deputy Speaker, pleads for members to show up for meetings, participate in discussion and pass the 2006 Budget. But it won't happen that way!

The table above gives fair warning to present members. Most, I think it will be 35 out of 50, will be sent packing! So many members are reading the writing on the wall . . . this is their last fling in the Big House on the Hill. Their retirement perk, more than $40,000 each, will be eaten up by next year's campaign, and nothing will be left to them to live the life that they have come accustomed to. Many of them are worried how they can make this Budget session a way of getting a bigger part of the budget pie even if they lose the election.

Thinking of the nation, working for the well being of people and assuring that the 1998-2003 Social Unrest period never returns seems as far away as it was in the years leading up to our troubles. Is it any wonder that voters will reject them!


© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news