Sir Peter Kenilorea, speaker of Parliament, describes and evaluates recent efforts to rebuild the Solomon Islands public service, which was near collapse when external intervention ended five years of civil unrest in 2003. Kenilorea gives a detailed account of his own efforts, together with Taeasi Sanga, clerk of Parliament, and a United Nations Development Programme adviser, Warren Cahill, to strengthen the Parliament Secretariat. By hiring and training a cohort of recent graduates, Kenilorea and Sanga largely avoided the absenteeism and patronage problems that plagued other parts of the Solomon Islands government.
After playing a prominent role in independence negotiations with the U.K., Sir Peter Kenilorea became the first prime minister of the newly independent Solomon Islands in 1978. He held that office until 1981, and served in the position again from 1984 to 1986. He later served as minister of foreign affairs and, from 1996 to 2001, as governmental ombudsman. In 2001, he became speaker of Parliament. He was serving his second term in that office at the time of this interview.