The face-to-face dialogue between the Minister of Provincial Government and Institutional strengthening, Hon, Rollen Seleso and Malaita Premier Hon. Daniel Suidani Tuesday this week has improved the understanding of both parties in relation legal and administrative issues of concern to both parties.
Minister Seleso has invited Premier Suidani to Honiara this week for the dialogue following a number of administrative letters which were leaked and blown out of proportion by the media last week and further exacerbated by social media discussions that could potentially spur social disharmony.
During the course of the meeting, both the Malaita Provincial Government and MPGIS/SIG acknowledged certain differences and opinions with regards to the position of Malaita Province and the MPGIS on the exchanged letters.
Both levels of government however, agreed and acknowledged the need to move forward with a number of common interests.
Both parties noted the contents of the letters and agree to refer any issues that requires legal clarification to the Attorney General, especially issues relating to insubordination, or relationship between the Minister and a Provincial Premier and other legal issues highlighted in the letters.
Minister Seleso fully accepts and acknowledges the explanation and apology by Premier Suidani with regards to the media frenzy and how issues raised in the mainstream and social media have been swayed and bloated in a manner that has undermine the relationship between MPG, as a Provincial Government and the Minister by virtue of the Provincial Government Act 1997.
Both parties fully understand that what was negatively portrayed in the mainstream media does not constitute their positions.
All parties also agree that everyone must be responsible when it comes to information dissemination, information leaks, media protocols and reporting mechanisms. It is noted that care is maintained when handling confidential and sensitive information. Information that is supposed to be disclosed to the public domain should be controlled/censored to avoid confusion and public disorder.
Both levels of Government also disregard and condemn in the strongest term ethnic tension related issues and media releases that promotes disharmony, ill feelings and perceptions of resentments within Provinces and communities.
All parties agree that any person or group of persons that are seen as advocating or inciting such behaviors will be brought to justice and face the full force law.
Both levels of Governments agrees to work cordially together and to support one another in the implementation of sound government policies at the National Level and relevant policies at the Provincial government level. This also include constituency programs and programs that are directly beneficial to the rural populace.
All parties also noted a call for all Malaita leaders (both National and Provincial) to further dialogue for a way forward to reaffirm their commitment and dedication in the implementation of socio-economic development programs for the communities in Malaita Province. Further meetings should also clarify MPG’s position on National Projects and how best the National Government can deliver its services through these projects.
Parties to the dialogue also recognized the need for the inclusion of Tribal/Community Chiefs, Village elders, Resources owners, Provincial leaders in consultation processes on any major infrastructure development projects. Any open dialogue arrangements are to be facilitated inclusively of all relevant parties and stakeholders.
Parties also noted a probable re-visitation or review of the Malaita Provincial Government Auki Communique to accommodate SIG’s major work programs for Malaita and to assess its legality in terms of functional assignments and responsibility towards distinct provincial and national responsibilities.
Parties also recognized and acknowledge that custom and traditional values are intact in the manner to manage and resolve differences, and to acknowledge the presence and guidance of God in the pursuit and endeavor to achieve development goals and aspirations.
Parties also noted the importance to establish a direct communication line (communication protocols) between the different levels of Governments so that information can be disseminated in a manner that is responsible and clear. Communication should also be applied within the legislative competence of the different levels of Government.
Parties also noted the need to recognize powers and responsibilities with regards to foreign relations and understand the diplomatic protocols when dealing with development partners, regional and international organizations, foreign nations and entities. In this manner, the Solomon Islands Government is the sovereign state that is responsible for foreign relations matters, for the welfare and development of its people.
Parties also noted the need to share resources including manpower and work programs in the joint fight against the potential spread of the Corona virus both in Malaita and Solomon Islands.
The meeting was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Manasseh Maelanga, Minister for Justice Makario Tagini, Minister for Development Planning Rex Ramofafia and Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Senley Levi Filualea and three Malaita Provincial Executives including Hon. Ivan Tonafalea, Hon. Felix Bosokuru and Hon. Elijah Asilaua and senior officials from both Governments.