Wednesday, November 16, 2011

News Source: SIBC, Honiara.

18:19hrs 16 November 2011

Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo has been sworn in.

Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo has been sworn in.

Governor General Sir Frank Kabui officiated the swearing in of the new prime minister this evening, hours after it was initially scheduled.

The ceremony was delayed due to disagreements by some groups of people who demanded the prime minister step down by 4.30 this afternoon.

The group gathered outside the Government House earlier in the afternoon and demanded the Governor General to ask the new prime minister to step down.

Commenting on the events of the day during the swearing in, Governor General Sir Frank Kabui said the gathering outside the Government House premises was illegal and at the same time threatening.

The Prime Minister Mr Lilo is expected to announce his cabinet soon.

18:18hrs 16 November 2011

Newly elected Prime Minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo, has assured Solomon Islanders, that his government will be an open and transparent and one that wish to see good governance beyond the democratic and bureaucratic processes.

Newly elected Prime Minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo, has assured Solomon Islanders, that his government will be an open and transparent and one that wish to see good governance beyond the democratic and bureaucratic processes.

In his maiden speech following his election, Mr Lilo said his government will ensure men and women, children, the old, the crippled and the disadvantaged are looked after.

Mr Lilo said this morning the country's elected representatives have made their choice in electing him as the new Prime Minister.

He thanked the MPs for the confidence they entrusted him to carry on the task before them.

Mr Lilo also paid tribute to his predecessor, the member of Parliament for South New George, Rendova and Tetepare, Danny Philip, who has held the Prime Minister's post for more than 14 months, adding that the country owe him admiration for his humility and respect for democracy.

He said the election was a resounding victory for Solomon Islands young and growing democracy after a week of intense political intensity and uncertainty.

Mr Lilo said it goes to show when there is uncertainty, the Constitution and democracy will prevail above the political, social and economic impasse.

He said the people deserve a stable government to govern their affairs and continue the awesome task of delivering the services to them.

18:15hrs 16 November 2011

The Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo, expresses his gratitude and appreciation to the People of Solomon Islands who, through their respective members of Parliament, elected him as the next Prime Minister of Solomon Islands.

The Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo, expresses his gratitude and appreciation to the People of Solomon Islands who, through their respective members of Parliament, elected him as the next Prime Minister of Solomon Islands.

Mr Lilo said he was moved by the support given to him by M-Ps on the floor of Parliament.

He said the people of Solomon Islands, through their MPs, have spoken.

He appealed to every citizen to respect Parliament’s wish and allow the government to govern Solomon Islands on their behalf.

The Prime Minister, Mr Lilo said his priority now is to ensure the 2012 national budget is passed so that services to the rural people are not affected.

In his brief remarks to MPs at the Cabinet Conference Room today, Mr. Lilo assured Caucus that he would undertake major decision through dialogue and consultation with his Cabinet and Caucus when need be.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Lilo appeals to the Opposition Leader and his group to work with the government to address national issues and to leave aside petty politics for the good of Solomon Islands.

18:13hrs 16 November 2011

The presence of police in the streets of Honiara today played a big part in avoiding a protest situation getting out of hand in the capital.

The presence of police in the streets of Honiara today played a big part in avoiding a protest situation getting out of hand in the capital.

Following the election of Gizo/Kolombangara M-P Gordon Darcy Lilo as new prime minister, pockets of unhappy Honiara residents regrouped and marched towards the Prime Minister's Office and then to the Government House.

But Acting Police Commissioner Walter Kola said the crowds were disbursed by police.

Mr Kola said the number of police officers on the ground for this security operation has been increased after what happened today.

Mr Kola also confirmed that police has made a number of arrests for unlawful behaviour, few police officers have received medical attention for minor injuries from stone-throwing and that a number of police vehicles have been damaged.

There's been no reports of further destruction to properties in the capital from the street protests today.

The protestors were unhappy with the result of this morning's parliamentary elections of a new prime minister.

With two candidates withdrawing their candidacies in the race earlier, Former Finance Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo was unanimously elected by 29 M-Ps in the first round of ballots, ahead of the other three candidates.

The Honiara Central Market remained close today and a liquor ban remains in force, and police continue their security operations overnight.

18:12hrs 16 November 2011

Police have increased the number of officers in its Operation National Parliament and will be on a 24-hour alert says Acting Police Commissioner, Walter Kola.

Police have increased the number of officers in its Operation National Parliament and will be on a 24-hour alert says Acting Police Commissioner, Walter Kola.

The Police Operation increased its manpower this afternoon and changed its operational status after a large crowd of hostile people began protesting against the win of Gizo-Kolombangara MP Gordon Darcy Lilo this morning.

The crowd made up of mainly young men and boys occupied the main street at Point Cruz and marched towards the Prime Ministers Office before changing their course to the Government House at East Kola'a Ridge.

A smaller group of young men and boys had broken away from the main group of protestors at the Government House to Chinatown where they were stopped by police officers armed with riot gear, including tear gas guns.

In an interview with SIBC News this afternoon, Acting Police Commissioner Kola says Chinatown has been sealed off and police moved the faction to the West Kola'a Ridge road.

Mr Kola also confirms he has increased deployment numbers and police officers will be on a 24-hour alert.

Social Unrest brewing in Honiara

Unconfirmed reports stated that a social unrest is brewing in Honiara. Latest reports that are coming in as we speak stated that some protesters are starting to take the law into their own hands. It was reported some groups of people are seen throwing rocks and attempted to break-in to shops in China town. Also, unconfirmed reports stated that the police have used small amount of tear gas to try and disperse the crowd. There is heavy presence of local police and RAMSI PPF within the vicinity of China town while police presence can be felt in other parts of Honiara city.

During the April riots majority of the shops at China town have been burned to the ground.

Meanwhile, Prejudiced understands that a crowd is sitting outside the Government House. It is believed the crowd is demanding Lilo’s resignation before 4.00pm today.

Tense atmosphere in Honiara after PMs Result

There are reports of people marching along the streets of Honiara demanding the resignation of the Prime Minister elect Hon. Gordon Darcy Lilo as we speak. Reports reaching Prejudiced stated that a group known as the Malaita Ma'asina Forum is leading the protest calling on Hon. Lilo to step down by 4:00pm today. This morning Parliament elected Hon. Gordon Darcy Lilo as the new Prime Minister replacing Hon. Danny Philip following the resignation of the former Prime Minister last week.

Some people spoken to Prejudiced earlier today said that they do not wish to have Darcy Lilo as the next Prime Minister. It is believed that the group who is leading the protest prefer Manasseh Sogavare for the top job.

Lilo is expected to take his oath today. But it is understood a large crowd is gathering outside the Prime Minister's Office and some at the Government House attempting to prevent the swearing-in ceremony not to take place. In 2006 similar developments led to the April riots and the burning down of a number of buildings in Honiara.

Meanwhile, the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force together with the support of RAMSI PPF and military are understood to be on high alert.

Gordon Darcy Lilo is new Solomon Islands Prime Minister

Solomon Islands has a new Prime Minister. he is Gordon Darcy Lilo, the Member of Parliament for Gizo and Kolombangara. Mr. Lilo defeated three other candidates in a very tense voting atmosphere inside Parliament House today. Lilo polled 29 votes, Sogavare polled 9 votes, Milner Tozaka 9 votes and Manetoali 2 votes. Moffat Fuigui withdraw before the election begins and Douglas Ete withdrew late yesterday.

Lilo was able to take out the victory when Steve Abana's Solomon Islands Democratic Party and Job Duddley Tausinga make a last minute switch on Lilo's side.

The situation in town is quite normal with pockets of gatherings around town, mainly to discuss the outcome of the votes. But local police are very alert and can be seen patrolling Honiara on foot and in vehicle.

In his victory Speech Lilo said that the result is a resounding victory for the young democracy of Solomon Islands after weeks of intense political lobbying and uncertainty, and that it goes to show that when there’s uncertainty the Constitution will prevail over the socio-economic and political impasse.

Friday, November 11, 2011

General Viewpoint on the Unfolding Events

Today, Friday 11th November, 2011 is a very special day- a one in a lifetime. This is because today is 11/11/11 and this triple 11 date has never occurred in history and will never come again in the future of humanity. That is in fact a matter of certainty as we are sure that this will never happen again.

In Solomon Islands, however, today is a day that has been filled with much uncertainty- not because of the 11/11/11 number coincidence but due to the political situation. Just after 10am this morning the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, voted into power on 24th August, 2010, had gracefully tendered his resignation at the dawn of a no confidence motion on the floor of Parliament.

In tendering his resignation, Prime Minister Philip said that his decision to resign was not a decision he made by himself but a collective decision of the NCRA coalition. He said the decision is for the best interest and benefit of the nation of Solomon Islands and its people, but claimed that the Sikua-led Opposition and the media collaborating to discredit him was a major cause of his fall. He however warned that despite the efforts of the media and the “perpetrators” of the no confidence motion to destroy him, they will never destroy the National Coalition for Rural Advancement (NCRA).

Prime Minister Philip then appealed to all Members of Parliament to form a good and sound government in the next few days and to continue on with the work and policies of NCRA.

Public reaction

Hours before the Parliamentary session commenced the gates of Parliament were already crowded with people wanting to go and listen to the deliberations. Prejudiced sources who were present at the locations discovered that a majority of the people were in favour of a change of government, citing their disagreement of the Prime Minister’s use of the Discretionary Fund as the main reason for wanting the Prime Minister out of Office. However, interestingly, while the majority agrees that the Prime Minister should step aside, not many people agreed on a choice for the new Prime Minister. One person that was spoken to said: “Iumi no savve too. Oketa everyone ia sem sem noma” (We don’t know who is the best candidate because they are all just the same).

Obviously there was an uncertainty, confusion and anxiety amongst the sizeable crowd that gathered to witness the deliberations.

Small gathering of people along the streets of Honiara were quickly dispersed by the local police who were very alert to ensure no opportunists took advantage of the situation.

Generally people were generally relieved that the Prime Minister had decided to resign, but were unsure whether a new government would be of any much difference.

Political maneuvering

In the chamber the arrival of Gordon Darcy Lilo to Parliament before the deliberations caused quite a stir among the Members and the public alike. Hon. Darcy Lilo, the former Finance Minister who was sacked on the eleventh hour came into parliament and found himself standing at the centre of the two groups: his former colleagues in the government at his left, and the Opposition Group who were reluctant to have him upon his sacking yesterday at his right. He came into the chamber and stood right in the middle of the two groups before asking loudly: “Where should I go”? He sounded almost like a confused person.

But is Hon. Lilo really confused of where he should go? Many people were quite suspicious of Hon. Lilo’s eleventh hour sacking that it was the last move of desperation by NCRA to try and regain the support for numbers. It is known that Hon. Lilo and Hon. Bodo cannot work together, and it is believed that one of the main reasons why Hon. Bodo and his group of “grasshoppers” (re)deflected to the Opposition was because of Hon. Lilo’s presence in NCRA. The move to sack Hon. Lilo obviously didn’t work out and it was no surprise that just an hour after the Prime Minister’s resignation, and only a day after Hon. Lilo’s sacking, he (Hon. Lilo) was seen parading the corridors of the Office of the Prime Minister again. He had a meeting with the Prime Minister which lasted for almost 3 hours. Is that how a sacked Member of Parliament reacts? Well, obviously not- hence it is almost certain that the move was collaborative between Lilo and NCRA and obviously was miscalculated, perhaps because of the limitation of time or because the Opposition were already content with their numbers and characters.

Is Opposition stable?

The Opposition is obviously not stable. It is fragmented and with the presence of Bodo and his “ping pong” boys anything can still happen. The presence of “ping pong” politicians with the likes of Mark Kemakeza, Marting Sophage, James Tora, Stanley Sofu, Douglas Ete, and their ring leader Dodo Dettke will always be a source for instability. These guys are Rambos who are always willing to tender personal service for gain in cash or kind. Their way of doing politics is almost to the way prostitutes do their trade- gaining monetary returns in exchange for their personal presence and service.

While they may have gained thousands of dollars doing this cunny practice there is no doubt about how grave they have sacrificed their integrity and dignity as national leaders without sound principles.

So what the “stable” Members should do is to regroup and isolate the “shaky” and form a new government. Currently there are 49 Members of Parliament and my count shows that even if the unstable Members, or the political prostitutes if you like, are isolated and pushed aside, the stable serious can still form a workable government. Because Bodo cannot work with many Members of Parliament, his group- together with the likes of Namson Tran, Gordon Darcy Lilo, and Matthew Wale-should be isolated and be forced to form the Opposition to allow those MPs that are serious to serve the country (rather than themselves and their vested interests) to form the government.

Solomon Island belongs to every single child, woman and man of this nation- not just the Members of Parliament. So if you (MPs) are to represent us the small people in Parliament then do it with the Grace of God- not the grace of dogs.

Lobbying intensifies for New PM

Parliament was suspended for an hour to allow the Prime Minister to officially tender his resignation to the Governor General. At the same time, lobbying is said to be intensifying in Parliament as we speak as the Members of both the current government and the Opposition attempt to gain Member support on their side for the post of a new Prime Minister. This follows after the resignation of the former Prime Minister Danny Philip on the floor of Parliament this morning.

Names of likely candidates for the Prime Minister is still unclear at this stage. Besides that, Prejudiced understands that the two sacked Ministers Hon. Gordon Darcy Lilo and Hon. Rick Hou are sitting on the Opposition side when Parliament meets this morning.

The former Prime Minister earlier asked Members of Parliament not to "destroy" NCRA, a statement that had a lot of meaning into it. Will there be a change of leadership or a new government, that remains a question. However, when Prejudiced asked the views of a number of ordinary citizens the respond is heavily sided for a new government.

Meanwhile, the Governor General is yet to convene a date as according to Parliament Standing Orders for the election of a new Prime Minister.

PM Resigns

Prime Minister Danny Philip has resigned on the floor of Parliament this morning. He tendered his resignation after Opposition Leader Hon. Dr. Derek Sikua asked him to do following the Speaker of Parliaments ruling for the Prime Minister to consider relevant section of the constitution and Standing Orders. The scheduled motion of No Confidence was never moved.

In a statement former Prime Minister Danny Philip blamed the media for his fall. He however said that he has no regrets for the decision and appeals for the formation of a good government. In what is a last attempt to maintain the current government he was instrumental to establish, Mr. Philip pleaded to Members of Parliament not to destroy the NCRA government.

Meanwhile, the likely scenario of a formation of a new government is still looming. Whether there will be a new government or a change in leadership is still the question. Prejudiced however understands that the Opposition commands the majority support when Parliament sits this morning.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

PM Faces Motion of No Confidence

The Prime Minister of Solomon Islands Hon. Danny Philip will face another motion of no confidence come Friday 11th of November 2011 when Parliament resume its Meeting. Prejudiced understands the political tug of war over who has the majority support still continues.

This week the Prime Minister loses grip on three of his Ministers after they resigned and joined the Opposition. The trio former Agriculture Minister, Hon. Connelly Sandakabatu, former Police Minister, Hon. Clay Forau and former Mines and Energy Minister Hon. Moses Garu stated in their resignation submission that they no longer hold confidence on the leadership of the Prime Minister. The resignation follows revelation of the Prime Ministers alleged misuse of the Prime Minister's discretionary funds on family relatives, friends and cronies. The government numbers was further trimmed today following the sacking of two prominent Cabinet Ministers the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Public Service.

Meanwhile the Prime Minister is still confident the motion of no confidence will be defeated on the floor of Parliament come Friday.

PM sacked two prominent Ministers

The Solomon Islands government is again on the cross road. This follows the latest sacking of two prominent Ministers by the Prime Minister today. The Solomon Islands Broadcasting cooperation (SIBC) this afternoon stated that the Minister of Finance, Hon. Gordon Darcy Lilo and the Minister of Public Service, Hon. Rick Hou are victims of what might be an eleventh hour move by the Prime Minister to gain political favor from other sympathetic MPs.

Few weeks ago the Leader of the Opposition alleges that the Prime Minister Hon. Danny Philip had used the Prime Minister's discretionary Fund on her family and other cronies. This led to a week long of political mud slinging between the Prime Minister and the leader of the Opposition. Last week the Opposition Leader filed a Motion of No Confidence on the PM. The proposed motion will be moved tomorrow.

Prejudiced understand there is a tense situation in Honiara amid the motion of no confidence as last minute lobbying intensifies.