His Excellency the Governor-General Sir David Vunagi, GCMG, reminded Members of Parliament of the need to lead by example and to live up to the expectations of the country as national leaders when he delivered the ‘Traditional Speech from the Throne” in parliament on the occasion of the 5rd meeting of the 11th parliament, Monday.
The Governor- General’s advice could not have been more timely as the Solomon Islands government is faced with having to make serious considered decisions on how best the country needs to implement measures to prevent coronavirus reaching the Solomon Islands; measures that could have far-reaching economic implications for the national economy and growth prospects.
Some of the many implications to preventing the spread of coronavius reaching the Solomon Islands were set out in a comprehensive talk given by the Secretary to the Prime Minister, Dr. Jimmy Rodgers, over the weekend.
Dr Rogers was reported to have said during his radio talk, quote:
“An oversight committee headed by the Office of the Prime Minister & Cabinet including other stakeholders and relevant authorities has been undertaking assessment on all aspects including the legal, social and economic implications of the Covid-19.
“We need to tackle coronavirus as a country and not as a Government, civil society, or as a private sector. We all have a role to play in conquering the corona pandemic,”
“Coronavirus is a world health crisis that should not divide us but unite us and we should not be fighting each other and pointing fingers at each other.
“The oversight committee is also looking at all options including the lock down of the country including self – quarantine.
“We must understand that each option have different implications. When we talk about a total lock down of the country, we must also consider how much of our survival depends on our trade outside. No fuel means, clinics and hospitals closing down, major utilities will be forced to close down,” he said.
“A lock down means no supplies and food coming into the country for an indefinite period.
“If we lock down flights how can we fly samples for test and if we don’t test it will make it more difficult in our fight. We must also be considerate of our citizens in other countries
“All these options are not ignored and the Government will duly inform the public.”
Meanwhile, I believe it appropriate to say thank you to the officials of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services for the measures taken so far to keep coronavirus out of the country.
Frank Short, Bangkok, Thailand