Gov’t Minister refuses to shake hands with Malaita Premier, public aghast

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BY GEORGE MANFORD & Georgina Kekea

AUKI

A senior minister of the crown has acted unbecomingly towards the Premier of Malaita province during a recent Church programme in Auki.

Leading up to the programme of the consecration of the Catholic’s new Bishop of Malaita, Premier Peter Ramohia got the shock of his life when he was ignored by the said MP when he greeted them upon their arrival in Malaita for the programme.

Witnesses to the incident say they were quite embarrassed and do not know what to think.

“We think they are coming for a church programme and not to show such disrespectful ways and actions like this,” a witness said.

The witnesses say they want the MP who is also a Minister of the Crown to clarify to the public why he acted unbecomingly towards the Premier.

“We are ashamed because our premier welcomes him with a hand shake but he refuses in front of everyone except for the PM where he was greeted first before the disrespectful way happened,” the witnesses say.

They say there were also ashamed of the MP’s behaviour because it goes against their traditional beliefs and custom including values.

The accused Minister was said to be part of the Prime Minister delegation that arrived on the same flight.

The incident was said to take place at the Auki airport when the Premier greeted the officials upon their arrival.

Meanwhile, Premier Peter Ramohia confirmed that this snootiness actually took place and he was quite taken aback when the MP ignored his handshake.

He said had he known he would be snubbed at the airport, he will send someone within his Executive to greet the officials when they arrive or requests that the Minister do not accompany the PM and his delegation.

He said the most likely reason that the MP snubbed him was because he (Premier) intends to contest the seat in which the MP currently holds.

“But the constitution clearly stated that it is everyone’s right to contest the National General Election. As long as you are fit, in a good state of mind and over 18 years of age, there is nothing stopping you to contest,” Ramohia said.

He said the MP also comes from the same village as his and he has heard from their people that the MP doesn’t like it that he (Premier) will be contesting against him and he is quite angry with him (Premier) for that.

“Even in Church, I was sitting right behind him during the Consecration mass and when it comes to the sharing of peace, he just ignored me and continued to take pictures with his camera,” Ramohia said.

With this behaviour displayed by the MP, those witnessing the incident said the MP’s action is contrary to the Christian principles and values which are more to do with love, mercy and forgiveness.

This was disrespectful to the government and people of Malaita province, they say.

“Disrespectful of the Leaders of Catholic church in Solomon Islands and Malaita province. We are demanding an explanation from the Minister,” the people said.

They say if this action was because of politics, then the Minister should know better than to leave politics out of the church activity.

They then requested that Prime Minister Rick Hou, reminds his Minister of good public conduct since he has tarnished the image of the PM’s delegation to Malaita province for an important Church event.

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