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Cabinet minister skips traditional review

By Douglas Marau HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Dec. 21, 2010) - Chiefs in Ulawa have described the enthroning of Member of Parliament and Police Minister James Tora as paramount chief as a slap on the face.

Speaking on behalf of the chiefs in Ulawa, Douglas Te’aitala said it was not a collective decision that was agreed upon by all chiefs and elders in Ulawa.

He said the ceremony should be regarded as reconciliation rather than an enthronement because communities in that particular village had been having strained relations with Mr. Tora and the ceremony was purposely to renew their relationship with the MP.

"This decision was from villagers in Aro’aha themselves and not all the villages and chiefs in Ulawa," he said.

Mr. Te’aitala said according to Ulawa tradition when someone is ordained to become a chief it must be witnessed by all the chiefs in Ulawa.

The role of paramount chief is the highest chief role in an area.

Te’aitala said Ulawa already has one paramount chief that was enthroned in 2005; therefore Tora should not call himself a paramount chief.

"Culture and politics do not go together in Ulawa’s traditional concept,’’ he said.

He said Ulawa was one of the unique places in the Solomon Islands where culture was still actively practiced and such practices only brings a bad face to the culture of Ulawa.

He recalled in the past when former Governor General Baddley Devesi visited Ulawa in which he was ordained by all the chiefs as a recognised chief.

"That is how it should be and not as cheap as an MP being ordained in front of his home in Naha," Te’aitala said.

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