PREMIER VEO TURNS A BLIND EYE ON THE NON-PERFORMANCE OF PLANNING OFFICE IN WESTERN PROVINCE
The Non-Executive Members of the Western Provincial Assembly are concerned that against the requirements of the ‘Policy Blueprint on Participatory Planning and Ward Development Committees for Western Province’, the so called Chairpersons of the Ward Development Committees attended the Meeting of the Provincial Planning Development Committee (PPDC) in the Provincial Capital of Western Province in Gizo on Friday 6 October 2023.
Western Provincial Executive and that PPDC cannot dispute the fact that Section 11.3 of the Policy Blueprint (Page 7) clearly mentions that:
Communities confirm the names of Members of the WDC as per guidelines in Section 11.1 of the Policy Blueprint (with the support of the Planning Division),
Communities submit names of Members of the WDC to the Planning Division of Western Provincial Government,
Planning Division submit names of Members of the WDC to the Provincial Secretary for onward submission to the Provincial Executive for endorsement,
From the Provincial Executive the names of Members of the WDC is tabled in the Assembly in their next meeting,
The Assembly approval completes the legislative process.
According to the Non-Executive Members, the confirmation by communities to name members of the WDC are non-participatory planning in nature. It was uncovered that some members of the WDC were appointed on church lines whilst others were approached during the darkness of the night to become members of the committee. In this regard, technical support by Planning Division has considerably failed the Government and Peoples of Western Province.
Not only that, Planning Division in collaboration with the Provincial Secretary has failed to submit names of members of the WDC to the Provincial Executive for endorsement. The Provincial Executive meets on Monday 9 October 2023, and as such, the names of members of the WDC are not yet endorsed by the Provincial Assembly.
In spite of non-endorsement of the members of WDC by the Provincial Executive as is required by Section 11.3 of the Policy Blueprint, the so called WDC Chairs attended the meeting of the PPDC on Friday, 6 October 2023.
Worse still, is the fact that the Provincial Executive is yet to table the names of members of the WDC to the Provincial Assembly for approval. The Provincial Assembly meets from 6 to 9 November 2023.
Notwithstanding the non-approval of the members of WDC by the Provincial Assembly as is required by Section 11.3 of the Policy Blueprint, the so called WDC Chairs attended the meeting of the PPDC on Friday, 6 October 2023.
In light of these events, the Non-Executive Members are of the view that Planning Division is misleading the Provincial Executive and Provincial Assembly by unnecessarily shortcutting and cutting corners of the confirmation of the appointment of members of the WDC process.
To the Non-Executive Members, it is obvious that Planning Office is misleading the Provincial Government and Provincial Assembly of Western Province with actions that are not for the betterment of participatory planning and ward development but to conceal their non-performances in office.
The Non-Executive Members are on alert mode to carefully scrutinize any ward development projects that were submitted by the non-endorsed and non-approved WDC Chairs to the PPDC in the consolidated 3-year rolling plans, annual plans and annual budgets that would accompany the Revised Budget Estimate 2023/2024.
Furthermore, it is sad to say that Planning Division of usual practice of coping, cutting and pasting of previous Three Year Development Plans is a showcase of non-performance by Planning Office in Western Province. The Non-Executive expects a better improved 3-year Development Plan to supplement the Revised Budget Estimate 2023/2024.
Although the appointment of confirmation of members of the WDC is not according to the process as prescribed in Section 11.3 of the Policy Blueprint and the copy, cut and paste of 3-year Development Plans are common planning practices, it is clear and obvious that Premier Billy Veo is turning a blind-eye on the non-performance of Planning Office in Western Province.
In the meantime, Premier Veo is prioritizing his travel to the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) ahead of the smooth sailing of the Revised Budget Estimate 2023/2024. Premier Veo leaves Honiara for Beijing on Sunday, 15 October 2023.