Guadalcanal Premier Urges Government To Reconcile With Communities In South

During ethnic tension patrol boat fired upon innocent people in south Guadalcanal

By Elliot Dawea, Freelance Journalist

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Oct. 3, 2016) – Guadalcanal Provincial Premier Anthony Veke has challenged the Democratic Coalition for Change (DCC) Government that it must reconcile with communities in South Guadalcanal.

This was because in 2001 and 2002, a patrol boat owned by the Solomon Islands Government open fired on innocent children, women and men in south Guadalcanal.

In an exclusive interview, Premier Veke said it is a mess created by past governments but the responsibility now falls upon the DCC Government to bring eternal peace to the victims.

“This issue is too important to be overlooked and my provincial government expects it to be resolved.

“To date we have not received any formal confirmation of a proposed reconciliation,” Veke said.

He said the Guadalcanal Provincial Government will push for a reconciliation to happen.

The Premier calls on the national Government through the Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services to do the right thing and reconcile with the affected communities.

Leader of the Parliamentary Independent Group, Dr Derek Sikua and some members of the Guadalcanal Provincial Assembly have made similar calls recently.

Premier Veke said, his government’s call aligns with recent calls from other leaders from Guadalcanal Province.

“But not specifially to compensate because we don’t know whether to compensate or reconcile with the victims,” Mr Veke said.

Veke said he has raised the issue in the lead up to the much controversial national apology and healing program in June earlier this year.

“When you talk about national apology how significant is it when parties that are affected do not participate or even were not reconciled to allow them the opportunity to talk to the government about their situation and the trauma they faced after the shooting.

“My government’s position is we are skeptical to join such government reconciliation programs because the state needs to settle the outstanding issues that are still an embedded scar with the victims,” he said.

Veke said successive governments and the current one have been covering wounds that are yet to be healed.

“There are people in Guadalcanal who are still traumatised and desperate for when the national government will reconcile with them.

“Previous governments have started reconciliation with the people of south Guadalcanal and it should continue,” he said.

The Guadalcanal Premier insisted the Government must earn back the social relationship and trust from the people so that the people can regain confidence in the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF).

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