8 Dec 2005

Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce chairman defends criticism of public service

4:30 pm on 8 December 2005

The chairman of the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry has defended his recent criticism of the public service.

Commenting earlier in the week on government plans to reform the public service, Peter Goodwin, called for stronger leadership in the sector to address basic issues like attendance.

The criticism has triggered outrage among public servants.

The permanent secretary to cabinet, Toswell Kaua, has told Mr Goodwin his comments are ill-informed.

Mr Kaua went on to say that if Mr Goodwin wanted to help the country, he could examine banking and lending policies that he says impose discriminatory conditions on Solomon Islanders.

But Mr Goodwin says he was not criticising individual public servants who do their best..

"We've attempted to be constructive, we've attempted to partner, we've attempted to engage with the public service, knowing full well that they're dealing with great difficulty. It was constructive criticism that generally raised issues that have been on the table for a long time. What's the big deal? And how come then there's this big backlash against banks?"

Peter Goodwin