Saturday, October 2, 2010

Solomon PM's colours oh! so similar to Bainimarama

Solomons Prime Minister Danny Philip has cobbled together enough of this rogues gallery to form a government with a one-seat majority. He is sanguine about the corruption claims. ''I'm concerned, there are certain things that people have tried to bring into the open,'' he says. ''There's a bit of frivolity in it, there's not seriousness in it. It's a little bit of a smear campaign.''

His government is on a charm offensive, eager to reassure foreign aid donors who are the mainstay of the Solomons economy. ''I'm working very hard talking to our partners in explaining the dynamics and the dimensions, the policies that we will present as a government,'' Philip says.
But this is a leader more focused on preserving his own political skin. Earlier in the day, speaking to a lunch meeting of the Chamber of Commerce, the reassuring rhetoric of ''reform'' is laid on thick, but Philip struggles to outline any specific, long-term plans - the exception a curious scheme to forgive the crimes of the tensions period by excusing all murders except those of police, clergy, women and children.

Many people complain that the underlying ethnic rivalries have not been tackled - despite the establishment of a South African-style truth and reconciliation commission - and cannot be tackled in a political climate so focused on the short term.

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