Thursday, September 3, 2009

Govt files case against PEC- Angered by failure to revoke decision....((????)).!!

Hello Frens,

Yes, you read it right. The governmet is suing or has sued the PEC for its failure to revoke its decision of granting terminal grant of $50 000 for a MP's spouse. This is how Solomon star reported the matter: that the government has filed a case against PEC,through the Attorney-General's Office because the PEC has failed to act on its (government's) advice for it (PEC) to revoke its decision on the said matter. I was reading through old news items (24 August 2009)at the Solomon Star website ( when I came across the article. Having read about all the negative reactions that has been written in the media regarding the decision of PEC, I guess there is no better angle to view the issue than that.

It really striked me how politics is played nowadays. In the article it was quite funny how the Prime Minister makes it sound as if the government is really really angry with the PEC (an 'independent body')for not revoking its decision after it was told to do so by the government. What a turn of events, isn't it? And according to the article, the Prime Minister himself said that. Mind you I am not questioning the fact that the case has been referred to the court. What I am stunned about is the PM's unconscious revelation on the issue, as reported by the Star, that prior to filing the case the government has ordered the PEC to revoke its decision. He could just have said that they have refered the matter to the courts seeking declaration on the constitutionality of the issue rather than revealing that it only acted to refer the matter to the courts after PEC failed to listen to its advice or rather its directive.

Remember PEC is an independent body and even the government should not influence its decisions through unregulated means, whatever the circumstances, except through the judicial or law-making processes. Reading the statement of the PM as reported by the article only made me to become even more suspicious that even prior to reaching its decision to award the spousal terminal grant, PEC has received external influences and pressure to decide the way it did.

Reading the article makes me to further ponder on the issue and can't help but wonder how and from whom the PEC has received the submissions for the increases in entitlements at the first place, and on what grounds those decisions were reached. Given the lack of information and my failure to settle on any logical reasoning I silently resolved that it would really be a very interesting thing if this information is exposed and PEC settles its score on the sheet

However, reading the article I was quite disappointed that it had failed to highlight with enthusiasm the driving force behind the immediate reactions of the government, the PEC and now the courts: that is the victory of the voice of the people. This is unprecendented in Solomon Islands and we must all be proud that our voices have been finally heard. It should serve as an eye-opener for a shift towards better collaboration and consultation between the people and state apparatus in the future when dealing with affairs that can have overaching effects and consequences. And we should now be convinced that peoples' power can actually work when the system allows it to.

While the finality of the case is still unknown the fact that system is being used to 'check' itself in its enforcement is a positive development. We only hope that if the courts rule that the PEC's decision is revoked then at least some of the items in the log of claims of SIPEU could now be afforded, or at least seriously considered. With our fingers crossed, lets just hope for the better.

At least the point has been made and heard. Hopefully if the claims are not addressed now (given the global economic turmoil and the sorry state of our economy)then it better be soon because for sure they will never be reversed and hence will always be used as bargaining chips by SIPEU in the future. The government should know better and at least show some committment in addressing them now, if not later. It (government) should realise that addressing the claims is inevitable and an outright ignorance on its part would be detrimental.

In relation to the PEC and spousal grant, I believe that the current government's reaction, is but an indication that the system that we have is workable and is useful in achieving many of our political problems; that is, if it is properly understood and utilised to achieve common good. On the other hand it can also be abused to the benefit of others, a pocket of the society who are somewhere up there in the hierarchy of social stratification.

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