Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Monetary Award to Gold Medal Winners

Hello frens,

Our athletes participating at the current mini games have done us very proud, especially the two athletes, Mr. Chris Votu and Ms. Babalu. There have been calls in the media that they deserve recognition by the country and should be dully awarded for their great achievements. But there has been mixed reaction on the suggestion, with some people saying that the current economic situation we are in does not warrant such practices.

I for one strongly believe that rewarding our highest achieving athletes (gold medal winners) is not a bad idea. It is in fact a very good one as it is definitely not a ‘bad precedence’ but a much needed motivating factor that will encourage them to perform well and win. Winning is what we want and anything to encourage our athletes to win is a positive step towards sports development in Solomon Islands. Why do you think other regional and international athletes are so successful? It is partly because their welfare is well taken care of by their respective governments and sporting bodies, including proper rewards and recognitions to winners.

Our two athletes and lone gold medal winners have indeed done our country proud and have put us back in the winning maps of regional athleticism. And pondering the idea, I would assume that any rewards to them would not be even close to fifty thousand dollars.

However, obviously the only problem with the idea right now is that our country, as well as the rest of the world is going through a very difficult time economically (this is not to say that we were much better off pre-recession than now) and awarding the two hardworking athletes with a few thousand dollars will be detrimental to the state of our economy. Understandably so! It is unquestionable that with the current state of our economy, and given the $261 million budget shortfall, every single dollar we earn counts.

So the situation is critical, very critical. We do not have enough money to reward good deeds, like that of our athletes, or for a mere 5 percent pay rise for our public officers. The only money we have is to cater for the resolution of parliament, when our hardworking MPs will be awarded their rightful entitlements including their $100 000 each terminal grants and their spouses’ $50 000. Oh well, the courts will decide that for them soon, when they make their judgment on the matter. In the meantime, since our economy is hard hit on cash, the Finance Minister can decide on our behalf the best monetary tool there is to employ to keep us moving forward financially. The good news is that we can even trade at bargain prices.

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