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Today is Papua New Guinea’s Independence day and many in Solomon Islands who had links to this great country through education, marriage business will be celebrating it.  Transparency Solomon Islands congratulates Papua New Guinea for what it has achieved to date and its contribution towards the education of men and women of Solomon Islands from pre-independence day to date.

But yesterday was also a very important day for Solomon Islands as a democratic country that this Executive Government swept under the carpet. Transparency Solomon Islands expected the Executive Government to reaffirm its commitment to democracy and democratic principles.  Sadly, it did not happen, and it could not have been an oversight other than intentional. Yesterday 15th September was the United Nations International Day of Democracy. Solomon Islands is a member of the United Nations on day one of its Independence as a state/country.  This UN International Day of Democracy was first marked by the UN in 2007 as a way to promote and protect the democratic principles and for Solomon Islands these principles are enshrined in our Constitution. The theme for this year is ‘COVID-19 SPOTLIGHT ON DEMOCRACY’.

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Transparency Solomon Islands on day one of the SOPE to date  continues to campaign for transparency and accountability for the COVID – 19 State of Emergency responses, be they funds, policies, process calling on the government [all members of parliament], public or state institutions to facilitate people’s participation in decision-making and the administration and management and implementation of the pandemic’s responses.

This is the day for the Executive Government should take some time and reflect on whether or not they have ensured democratic principles are applied in how they have governed during this crises.  It is a day that they should ask themselves if what they do and the decisions, they make reaffirm people’s right to have a voice in how they are governed.  Have they ensured that democracy delivers for all or will deliver for all during and after this crisis?  What has transpired under SOPE where power is in the hands of a few is an Executive Government that is mimicking an authoritarian regime and not a democracy. This threatens our rights as citizens to be heard, to participate, to critic constructively and above all silence the voice of civil society.

Crucial to a democracy in this time of crises as a result of the pandemic are the free flow of information, participation in decision-making and above all transparency and accountability for the pandemic response.

Transparency Solomon Islands therefore calls on all citizens to stand together against the authoritarian style of leadership we are beginning to experience and observe now creeping into our democracy in the face of threats from the pandemic.


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