Home Opinion OPINION: United Party Policy Statements

OPINION: United Party Policy Statements

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By B.A, Tomasi

Honiara

The recent media statements from the United Party witnessed recently set the basis of this analysis and are aimed at delving deeper into the implications of these statements and their potential impact on the upcoming national general election later in April. They have created a tense atmosphere and highlighted our country’s divisive nature of politics. The analysis examines two key statements from the United Party. By providing a comprehensive overview of these media statements, this analysis aims to contribute to a more informed understanding of the political climate leading up to the national general election.

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As indicated above, the analysis will focus on providing a comprehensive understanding of UP’s respective policy platforms. By narrowing the scope to these specific principles, we can delve deeper into how they may impact various issues and priorities for voters. This approach will allow for a more focused and informative examination of the parties’ stances on key policy areas. Two of the UP’s policy principle include re-establishing bilateral relations with Taiwan and review of the security pact with China. We will take each policy principle one at a time.

First, re-establishing bilateral ties with Taiwan. As presented, the policy rationale is based on agriculture and economic growth benefits. If this is the goal, then this policy rationale is too narrow-minded and short-sighted because the current ties with China are more rewarding. China’s lessons and experiences from an agricultural economy to an industrial-based economy are what make China a global economic superpower today. Therefore, this is an important strategy for a low-income country like the Solomon Islands. Hence, China’s lessons and experiences are a better option than returning to Taiwan as it would allow for a more seamless transition and integration into the global economy.

Additionally, China’s vast market and resources would provide more opportunities for growth and development compared to Taiwan’s limited scope. By leveraging China’s lessons and experiences, businesses and individuals can tap into a larger network and reach a wider audience, ultimately leading to greater success and prosperity. Let us look at the case of Australia and Taiwan from 1972.

Interestingly, Australia also severed its ties with Taiwan 52 years ago without anyone questioning its sovereign stance for a global alignment with international consensus. Just like what Australia did to Taiwan, the Solomon Islands DCGA-led Coalition Government also switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 2019, but with backlash from Australia and the US, although it was in the best interest of the Solomon Islands for its long-term economy and strategic goals. So, this policy principle to re-establish ties is just unreasonable and unrealistic. We should understand the complexities of international relations and the importance of making strategic decisions that benefit the country in the long run.

The United Party should learn from Australia’s 1972 decision against Taiwan. They would be wise to consider the consequences of their actions before making any decisions regarding Taiwan’s status. It is essential for political parties to prioritize diplomacy and international relations in order to maintain stability and peace in the region. Re-establishing ties with Taiwan could create more conflict and hinder the Solomon Islands’ ability to achieve its economic goals. Therefore, the UP leaders need to carefully consider their options, prioritize the country’s sovereignty and economic prosperity above all else, and not to advance external interests. It is crucial for the party leaders to put the national interests first and resist outside pressure. Therefore, it is essential to navigate the complexities of international relations with caution and foresight to ensure the stability and prosperity of the Solomon Islands. Consequently, such a policy principle will not do good for a smaller country like the Solomon Islands, as it will only contradict the UN Resolution that reaffirms the one-China policy as the basis for peaceful relations between countries. Attempts to go back to Taiwan are just about deviating from this established policy and could have potentially serious repercussions for global stability. Therefore, a policy principle that only promotes external agendas and political scoring is not in our best interest. As a concern Solomon Islander, China is an important development partner, and our leaders must not take this for granted. The geopolitics of China should no longer be an issue because we have already witnessed who is China since they stepped on our shores.

The review of the security pact with China is another interesting policy principle. Their rationale is that the current security agreement is not beneficial at all. In the context of any policy formulation, policies are created to address the needs and challenges society faces, or policies are amended, modified and developed based on failed outcomes. So, what are the issues with the security pact that need re-addressing? Is enhancing and capacity-building our police force an issue? What is evident now is that, with China’s intervention, our Royal Solomon Islands Police Force has been at a different level regarding technical and tactical resources, to name a few.

Our past events make it important to prioritize enhancing and capacity-building our police force to meet current security demands. The public needs to be informed that the increased support for our security and defence from Australia and New Zealand for the last five years was only to align themselves with China better. Otherwise, it will be just another business-as-usual routine. Thanks to China, or else it will just remain as it was, with nothing less and nothing more. The current security package with China does not have any issues at all. Therefore, we can continue to focus on strengthening our police force to address current security challenges effectively. Hence, reviewing the current security package as alluded to in the media, has little substantial merit. Instead of questioning our security cooperation with China, we should concentrate more on why unauthorized personnel can easily access our government’s confidential documents, and have access to all our systems. This should be our grave concern. The way external parties are slowly crawling into our security and financial systems in the name of good governance and transparency is more alarming than the so-called review as alluded to in the media. Hence, this policy strategy is another document that has yet to have tangible benefits.

Lest we forget, these policy approaches witnessed over the media are quite flashy because they strategically capture the public’s attention and create a buzz around their initiatives but need more substance to address realistic needs. They are just strategies for political scoring and recognition. Therefore, policies need to be grounded in the realities of the situation in order to be effective and sustainable in the long run. Policymakers must conduct thorough research and analysis before implementing any policy, ensuring that it is aligned with the needs and challenges the wider community faces. By focusing on substance over style, policies can have a meaningful impact and bring about positive change. Ultimately, prioritizing the well-being and success of the people should be the primary goal of any policy-making process, but not to advance external interests, as this so-called goal is alluded to.

All party leaders must resist the temptation to prioritize their agendas or the agendas of special interest groups over the community’s needs. They can build trust and credibility by remaining focused on the well-being of the people they serve, making it more likely that the public will embrace and support their policies. In the end, policies that are grounded in reality, thoroughly researched, and genuinely focused on improving the lives of community members are the ones that will stand the test of time and truly make a difference. This is what the Solomon Islands want, but not to be manipulated.

Based on the two key statements discussed above, the United Party’s principle strategies are another tactic to gain public support for this upcoming national general election. The party is more focused on winning votes than addressing the country’s real issues. Their strategies will not lead to any meaningful change or progress in the long run. As voters, it is important to look beyond the surface and critically analyse the policies and actions of each party before deciding at the polls. We must hold our elected officials accountable and demand transparency and integrity in their actions. We must prioritize the well-being of our country over the political games played by certain parties. By educating ourselves on some parties’ platforms and policy strategies, we can make informed choices that will truly benefit our nation in the long term.

Let us not fall for empty promises and flashy campaigns but look for leaders genuinely interested in improving our society. We need a strong government like the former DCGA coalition, which stood tall in the test of time amidst many challenges. As an old saying goes, experience counts. If so, the former DCGA coalition is the clear choice for our country’s future. Their track record of effective governance and commitment to progress sets them apart from other parties. Do not let newcomers’ or those who put their agendas ahead of the populace’s needs influence you. It is time to vote for stability, experience, and a proven dedication to the well-being of our nation. Let us choose wisely and ensure that our country continues to thrive under the leadership of a government that truly cares.

It is apparent that United Party’s policy reflects the geo-political interest of United States of America and not the development interest of Solomon Islands. How is switching back to Taiwan going to develop Solomon Islands? How is reviewing the security pact with China going to put money in the pockets of our rural people? United Party should be asking the hard questions about growing our economy rather than advocating for the interest of another country and putting Solomon Islands interest in the back seat.

The people of Solomon Islands deserves better.

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