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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

PM slams Tozaka over Dr Roughan's appointment

By George Tausiria

The Prime Minister Hon. Manasseh Sogavare has described the Opposition’s spokesman for public service Milner Tozaka’s outburst over his selection of Dr John Roughan as his secretary as racist, insensitive and lacking diplomacy and political maturity.

Mr Sogavare said: “If the Oppostion spokesman on Public Service views the appointment of Dr. John Roughan as a slap in the face of indigenous Solomon Islanders, then so be it, because if the present state of the economy is all we could show for indigenous effort in the public sector, then we must think again.

“While protection of indigenous rights and involvement are important, it would be plain stupidity and naïve to insist that the policy must be universally applied.

“This would be akin to a wilful suppression of our potentials and therefore was never the government’s intention.”

He said fairness in the context argued by Mr Tozaka is nothing more than a lame excuse for unproductiveness, which had been the hallmark of the public sector over the years.

Mr Sogavare said the government is interested in performance and achieving targets and would not trade them for any amount of Tozaka’s version of fairness.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister has reminded all aspiring Permanent Secretaries that these qualities will rank high in the handpicking process.

He said he had no regrets picking Dr Roughan, describing his decision as ‘strategic and political’ given the government’s rural-oriented development strategy.

The Prime Minister described Dr Roughan as a passionate advocator of people-centred development, both in words and action, and a person who understands the struggles of our people.



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