The picture of a three legged stool illustrates the three most important parts of any nation. If a nation wishes to be strong and useful like a three legged stool then it must pay attention to each of the legs. Just as it would be impossible to sit on a one or two legged stool, so it is quite hard to have a strong nation that depends upon only one or two parts of the nation.
The first duty of Government is to protect society from violence inside the country and invasion coming from outside. Also it has the duty to protect each member of society from injustice and hurt coming from other members of that society. This is usually done by having a good justice system.
A good justice system not only helps the small person, the villagers but it is only very important for business people as well. A business man wants to be sure that his investment monies are protected by law.
The third most important duty of government is making and maintaining public infrastructures like roads, wharves, bridges, hospitals and schools which would be too costly for any individual to do.
When the nation has a strong government leg, all members of society are protected from injustice from inside as well from invasions outside, health and education services are provided and a solid justice system exists. When this happens, the nation will be strong.
A government will grow stronger when it looks less at itself and more to the other legs – business and civic society. In fact a government can only be strong if the other two legs are strong and dynamic.
The second leg of the national stool is Business. That includes big companies like, Telekom, Bowmans, Isabel Development Company, as well as the small businesses, from village store to Honiara’s shops, to the taxi and bus transport businesses.
All of these Businesses are important for the good health of the nation. But the nation needs balance. The work of Business is not only the bottom line (profit) but the health of the nation. So like government, businesses must look two ways at the same time. Business houses have a duty to the government (pay taxes and duties) but to the people of the nation as well.
The third leg of the three-legged stool is Civic Society. Churches, villagers, non government organizations, sports groups, women’s clubs and the people themselves make up Civic Society.
Civic Society needs government to help in education, health, roads, wharves, air-field, etc.But people need to buy and sell as well. Business houses are needed for life. People are asked to pay their taxes, obey the law and work well. In other words, all three parts: Government, Business and Civic Society are needed to work together. Each has a job to do, each must look out for the other two parts. When the three sections work together, are strong independently, and are concerned with other two sections, then the nation lives well.
Unfortunately Solomon Islands now has a three-legged stool that is unstable. It is weak. No one can use this stool because Business has become too strong and pushes Government around. Civic Society has grown very weak. The picture of the top sided stool on this page shows what happens when the three legs of the stool no longer stand in balance.
The Business leg has grown too large and too powerful. It is too close to Government and pushes it around. Look at Honiara’s land deals. Why should only a few business people own most portions of lands in Honiara? How is it that too many logging companies have access to our country that is taken for granted? The Civic Society leg has grown much too thin, too weak. It is not holding up its part of the national stool.
Two things must happen and happen quickly. Civic Society must become stronger and Government must move away from Business pushing it around. That is why our national elections in June this year must begin the process of bringing three legs of the nation to their rightful place and proper strength.
When a candidate comes to your village, ask him what he will do in parliament to make sure that Civic Society begins to become strong again, and ensure that Business becomes less powerful and stops forcing the Government to listen only to their interests……