Solomon Islands PM Issues National Apology For Ethnic Tension

Sogavare blames remnants of colonialism, centralization, failed land reform

By Eddie Osifelo

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, July 5, 2016) – Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare says sorry to the people of this nation on behalf of the national government since July 1978 for the pain and sufferings experienced during the ethnic tension from 1998-2000.

Sogavare made this solemn apology during the opening of the National Healing and Apology programme at Rove playing ground, West Honiara yesterday.

He highlighted the ethnic tension came about because the British system did not take into account the three pillars of government namely government, religion and customs.

 Furthermore, Sogavare blamed the centralized system and no sound land reform programme to address customary land system.

“It is not my intention to outline all these issues, but to make that point that what happened in 2000 is the direct response of people on the carelessness of national government and provincial government.

“This carelessness created a situation by innocent Solomon Islanders were forced to take up arms against each other and accepted atrocities at a level unimaginable against our own people,” he said.

Sogavare said their people are faced in this situation by an environment created by them by the carelessness of the national government and provincial government because no rational human beings will do what these people did.

As such, Sogavare said this nation needs peace and unity to pursue nation building in an environment free from barriers and hindrances.

“This programme is about getting the heart right before begin realistically talking nation building.

“I want to thank the former combatants and victims for coming forward, we are the people really matter in all thing, we suffer, all of us suffer because of the carelessness of the government, both national and provincial,” he said.

Sogavare also acknowledged the presence of people from Bougainville and Shortlands who attended the programme.

“Your presence is sending a strong message to other Solomon Islanders who are still living under the shadows of the past and want to continue to see this country sliding down the path of ethnic hatred and anarchy by making lives hard.

“We need to take the bold steps to come forward, thank you very much for taking the bold steps to declare to the people of this country that they desire peace, tolerance and happy co-existence of all Solomon Islanders,” he said.

The programme continues today.

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