Solomon Islands Youth Unhappy With Bus System

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Mobs reportedly taking over bus stops, damaging signs

By Ben Rakai

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, April 24, 2013) – The slowness to address a core issue affecting the Solomon Islands public – a short bus route system – is giving some youths a window for abuse.

Yesterday morning, young mobs at the borderline area ruled the bus stop, intercepting public buses with bus destination signs bearing SDA, Kukum and China Town.

It was the second time such incident occurred at that part of the city; the first was Monday last week at Kobito bus stop.

"Now it’s getting hot" an eyewitness wrote on the popular social media page, Forum Solomon Islands International (FSII).

"This morning (yesterday), the borderline and Kobito bus stops were ruled by thugs destroying bus destination sign boards that have SDA, Kukum and China Town.

The youths said they were fighting for justice.

Some members commenting on the FSII page said "it is time bus owners and responsible authorities see this as a warning of a possible uprising against short bus routes."

But some members said whilst the youths maybe angry about the short routes, they must understand that there are authorities who can deal with the issues.

"Now let’s keep echoing that the society is fragile-responsible authorities need to wake up," one member commented.

Other contributors on the Facebook page questioned how long the petition against short bus routes will lay at the Parliament.

"The question is who's responsible for this...and what is the responsible authority’s intervention... Believe me or not, sooner vehicles will be on fire if nothing is done...God save our youths," one commentator said.

Others also question police reaction to the two incidents because the borderline bus stop is right in front of a police post.

"Authorities must act responsibly otherwise people will rise up and take the law into their own hands and things will turn out chaotic."

Police officers at the borderline police post were helpless as they watched the tugs enjoyed their unlawful actions.

A female officer manning the post said they could not do much.

"We can do no more than to watch them terrorize the buses; there were only two of us on duty, indeed we were out numbered. We did call for support from the police patrol unit, they did arrive at the scene but the thugs disappeared into the settlements," she said.

She said such incident does not only call for the effectiveness of the police but how the public could work with the force by reporting to police those responsible so that lawful actions could be taken.

Unconfirmed reports from the previous burning of bus destination signs at the Kobito area last week stated that some SB$10,000 [US$1,375] was paid to the youths.

The reports said the youths demanded the money from a bus driver and his assistant who worked in a bus owned by a Chinese.

The reports said the bus driver and his assistant swore at the youths who demanded compensation from the bus owner.

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