Solomons PM Slams Truth And Reconciliation Report Release

admin's picture

Lilo says government will not be responsible for consequences

By Daniel Namosuaia

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, May 1, 2013) – Solomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo says Bishop Terry Brown acted "unlawfully" when he decided to release the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report.

Expressing his disappointment from Bangkok where here is attending the 69th Session of the Economic Commission of the Asia and Pacific (ESCAP), Mr. Lilo said:

"I don’t expect such an action to come from a person of Bishop Brown’s caliber."

"The bishop has broken all the confidentialities accorded to him by responsible authorities including the Solomon Islands Government. Also, in this case he has no right to publish the report as it is the property of the Government," Mr. Lilo said.

Canadian Bishop Brown, the former bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Malaita, released the report on Sunday through the internet from his country, where he now resides.

He said he took the decision as editor of the report after much prayer and reflection.

[PIR editor’s note: Solomons Attorney General Billy Titiulu has also criticized the release, calling Brown's actions irresponsible. Titiulu added that Brown may have broken the trust placed in the process by witnesses who willingly testified. Meanwhile, social media group Forum Solomon Islands International (FSII) has cautioned members of possible legal repercussions in the context of releasing the report through FSII. CEO Benjamin Afuga has warned members who may have received copies not to share the report on FSII until it has become available to the public.]

The report was given to Mr. Lilo in February last year. The Truth and Reconciliation Act requires that the prime minister, upon receiving the report, tables it before parliament.

But the Act does not give a time-frame as to how soon the report can be tabled in parliament.

Prime Minister Lilo has delayed presenting the report to parliament, citing its sensitivity.

But Bishop Brown said the report is very accurate and comprehensive and gives proper recognition to the victims of the conflict whose stories should be heard.

"It is not good enough to forgive the perpetrators and forget the victims, which seems to be the approach of the Government. I feel strongly about this as I too lived through this period of Solomon Islands history and was a participant in the tragedy of those times. Scripture tells us: ‘The truth shall make you free.’

"I am convinced that the TRC report, as an exercise in truth telling, painful as the recollection may sometimes be, will help bring about the lasting justice, peace, reconciliation and unity that Solomon Islands so badly needs."

Mr. Lilo last night warned the Government will not be liable for damages or any consequential effects from the illegal release of the report.

Similarly, he said, the Government will "explore the legal consequences of the unlawful release of the report."

He said the Government will also bring the issue to the highest authorities of the Anglican Church on the actions of Bishop Brown.

Mr. Lilo said he had already made a commitment to be more strategic and responsible when informing the parliament on the TRC report in its next sitting.

"We have taken the initiatives to assess the risk impacts and the costs that associated with the recommendations of the report. That shows how the government wants to manage the release of the report and its impact to our citizens, especially the victims. And here we have a church leader undermining the initiatives of a legitimate Government," he said.

Mr. Lilo said he has already directed his officials to look at the options to be taken against the release of the report.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment