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Two former militants says government approach ineffective

By Ednal Palmer

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, June 25, 2008) – Some members of a reconciliation committee established by the Government to prepare the nation for the proposed national reconciliation ceremony have resigned.

Two of those who have resigned are Joseph Sangu and Simon Manie.

The two were appointed into the sub committee under the Ministry of National Reconciliation and Peace to represent former militants of Guadalcanal and Malaita provinces.

However, speaking to Solomon Star yesterday Mr Manie said he had resigned because the government had no vision to heal the wounds of people before reconciling.

"During our time in the committee we found that the government’s approach will not pave the way to heal wounds once and for all," he said.

"The government’s approach is not in our best interest.

"We don’t want victims, Solomon Islanders and former militants to point fingers at us when this approach fails."

Mr Manie and Mr Sangu were appointed into the subcommittee in April but both decided to resign early this month.

Mr Manie said the Government had failed to embrace in its plan, a form of reconciliation that Solomon Islanders prefer.

"There was no consideration for our traditional and religious beliefs in its plans as well. Instead it wants a modern style of reconciliation," he said.

"These are decisions the Government made without consulting people. The Government needs to explain to people its plan of action for the proposed reconciliation so that people can share ideas."

He added that the Government should abolish the Ministry of Reconciliation and Peace because it is only a liability.

"I see no real planning whatsoever for a reconciliation that would bring lasting peace by the ministry," Mr Manie said.

"We feel the ministry should be abolished or renamed and the reconciliation task given to a committee of influential church members. The Government should only be the facilitator."

Meanwhile outspoken former councillor John Seti Iromea, who is also a member of the sub-committee, said that he would also resign.

"There are no meaningful plans in place and it would be a waste of time and money," Mr Iromea told the Solomon Star last week.

Solomon Star was unable to get comment from the Ministry of Reconciliation and Peace.

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