An Opinion by Grace Ramo
Solomon Islands is now caught in the vortex stirred by superpowers both in and outside the region. Dominant countries, like the United States, control a number of international authoritative media and independent think tanks to their advantage, enlarging the domestic social problems in Solomon Islands and interpreting the actions made by our government with a geo-political view, serving their own interests. Unfortunately, these reports and articles often ignore our needs for development and infrastructures to ensure the security and prosperity of our country.
Western media often contributes to amplifying the influence of the opposition by conducting interviews or quoting from important figures in opposition parties. This deliberate focus on amplifying domestic social problems while distorting government actions, and try to mislead both domestic and international perceptions of Solomon Islands. As a result, opposition leaders often become the spokespersons for our country in global public opinion with the help of such media.
For instance, on the latest 05 September, the Guardian published an article about the cost of ongoing Pacific Games 2023 (PG2023), written from a geopolitical standpoint, citing comments from opposition leader Hon. Matthew Wale regarding the same issue, released only one-day prior. The article conveyed the opinion that the government failed to balance the Games with other important aspects such as development and medical supplies. However, it failed to acknowledge that our government has been mobilising resources from both inside and outside the country to address the long-standing medicine shortage in the country. Furthermore, such articles also overlooked the fact that PG2023 has stimulated infrastructure development in Western and Malaita Province, including the development of airports and roads.
Moreover, one of their other strategies is to criticise the incomplete laws in our country. For instance, the United States Institute of Peace released a study on 25 October this year, stating that the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) is a source of corruption in Solomon Islands. However, the study fails to mention that in March of this year, our government, through Cabinet, endorsed the new Solomon Islands Constituency Development (SICD) Policy 2023-2032. This key policy framework will lead to the amendment of the Constituency Development Fund Act 2013 and its regulations. Furthermore, the report adopts a geopolitical view and claims that China’s provision of CDF to the Solomon Islands constituencies has raised local concerns about corruption. However, it does not provide an explanation or reasoning for this conclusion.
And many other similar articles exist on official websites like well-known institutes such as the ASPI, USIP, CSIS etc. and media like the VOA, the Guardian, Reuters and ABC etc. It’s rare for them to post any positive reports regarding our government, and most of them are just criticizing the downsides of everything which our government does to make the country become peaceful and prosperous. Let’s hope our country could defend itself from biased reports and misinformation inducing by geopolitical rivalry.
Grace Ramo is a retired senior civil servant in Solomon Islands and now a freelancer who specializes in topics like peace and geo-political situation in the Pacific Region. In this article she wishes to express her opinion on the problems facing by the Solomon Islands inducing by the geopolitical rivalry between superpowers. As someone who has retired but still wish to defend her country from biased report and misinformation, Grace hope her opinion could help people see the truth in Solomon Islands and even in other Pacific Island Countries.