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Non-Executive Members of WPA call on Premier Veo not to travel to China

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The Non-Executive Members (NEM) of the Western Provincial Assembly is calling on Premier Billy Veo not to travel to China with the rest of the premiers in a panned trip for next month.

In a statement today, the NEM are critical not only on the timing of the China Trip but also on all circumstances and surroundings that lead to the Mainland China Trip by the Provincial Premiers.

As far as the Non-Executive Members are concerned, the immediate priority of Western Provincial Government is not for Premier Billy Veo to participate in the ill-timed China Trip but on delivery of services to our peoples by the immediate passing of the Revised Budget 2023/2024.

For the disruption of scheduled meetings of the Western Provincial (Full) Assembly is denying service delivery to our peoples.

– Below is their full statement issued today

CHINA TRIP BY PREMIER BILLY VEO DISTURBS PROVINCIAL BUDGET MEETING

The Solomon Islands Government in-partnership with the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in Honiara, Solomon Islands is arranging a 2-week trip for all Provincial Premiers to Mainland China. The delegation is expected to leave Honiara on Sunday, 15 October 2023.

The Non-Executive Members of the Western Provincial Assembly have more reasons to question the benefits of the China Trip by the Western Provincial Premier.

The reasons are:

  1. Western Provincial (Full) Assembly is scheduled to meet, debate and approve the Revised Budget Estimate 2023/2024 from 23 – 26 October 2023. Undesirably, the Meeting of the Full Assembly is disrupted with changes to the Planning & Revised Budget Guideline for Financial Year 2023/2024.

  2. Except for Western and Choiseul Provinces, the 7-provinces of Guadalcanal, Malaita, Isabel, Central Islands, Rennel Bellona, Makira and Temotu will synchronize their Provincial Elections with the National General Elections 2024. There is no guarantee, therefore, that the 7-Premiers will return to power – let alone the comeback of their Provincial Executive Committees.

  3. Needless to say that the 9-Provincial Premiers of Solomon Islands can sensibly take the China Trip in fulfillment of the ‘friend to all, enemy to none’ foreign policy, after the Synchronized Elections of 2024 and not before the elections.

What then, is the benefit of the China Visit to Western Province during this time of the year? The gain is very minimal, which is worsened by the fact that the China Visit by the Provincial Premier is disrupting the Provincial Budget Meeting that is scheduled for October.

What then, is loss to the peoples of Western Province due to the disrupted Provincial Budget Meeting to review the Revised Budget Estimate 2023/2024? The loss is plentiful, including (1). Wasted year for implementation of Ward Development Committee projects, (2). Incomplete Ward Profiling and Participatory Planning processes in most of the 26 Wards, (3). Total mess in the appointment of Ward Development Committees, and on top of all chaos is the (4). Non delivery of services to the people of Western Province.

In arranging the trip prior to the synchronized elections, is the PRC not meddling in the domestic and provincial politics of Solomon Islands?

Or does the PRC want to retain the rule of provincial governance with the return of the Provincial Premiers and their respective Provincial Executive Committees, come the harmonization of elections in April 2024? For according to the Non-Executive Members, it is nonsensical to link the China Trip to the Provincial Premiers political comebacks.

To add salt to the wound, is the involvement of the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in the arrangement of the China Trip. Is it necessary? Is this not consistent with the refusal of our Prime Minister to attend the Historic Summit in White House with the President of the United States of America?

Or is the China Trip a good gesture to the Peoples of Solomon Islands in exchange for Solomon Islands Prime Minister’s close alignment with Beijing? A good gesture that can add to the propaganda of (1). Training our athletes for Pacific Games 2023, (2). Courtesy of Solomon Islands Government Ministerial Delegations to visit China, on several occasions, and (3). Courtesy of Solomon Islands Government Officials training in China.

The Non-Executive Members of the Western Provincial Assembly is critical not only on the timing of the China Trip but also on all circumstances and surroundings that lead to the Mainland China Trip by the Provincial Premiers.

As far as the Non-Executive Members are concerned, the immediate priority of Western Provincial Government is not for Premier Billy Veo to participate in the ill-timed China Trip but on delivery of services to our peoples by the immediate passing of the Revised Budget 2023/2024.

For the disruption of scheduled meetings of the Western Provincial (Full) Assembly is denying service delivery to our peoples.

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