11 Jun 2007

Samoa's Deputy PM warns against one-size fits all democracy

6:14 am on 11 June 2007

Samoa's Deputy Prime Minister, Misa Telefoni Retzlaff, has warned foreign aid donors and agencies not to try to impose the same form of democracy throughout the Pacific.

In a speech opening the college of the Marshall Islands' new Public Policy Institute, Misa spoke about how Samoa had developed its economy and is starting to rate highly on good governance indicators.

He says they had worked with NGOs to deliver community services, providing support to the business community, strengthening management at the highest levels of government, and privatizing the government's airline.

But he warned that to work, reforms had to be culturally sensitive.

However Misa said that cannot be used as an excuse to get around fiscal and economic responsibility.

Misa says good governance is only as good as the weakest link in a government.

He says leaders of integrity can overcome governance problems created by weak systems, but the strongest systems can be easily undone by dishonest leaders.