Gov’t takes note of Mala petition issues

CALM DOWN: Police Inspector Tex Tafoa addressing a crowd that gathered at Kukum yesterday in anticipation of a protest march to the Prime Minister's Office. Heavy presence of Police on ground at Kukum on Monday calmed the rowdy crowd and dispersed them while their leaders worked with Police to address the issue.
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Prime minister Sogavare’s government has been called to heel by a group of Malaitans based in Honiara.

Following a petition by the group, national government is taking on board issues raised and will address them through the Malaita provincial government.

How this will play out remains to be seen since the two governments are at loggerheads.

Speaking to journalists yesterday, special secretary to the prime minister, Albert Kabui said the provincial government is the rightful authority through which national government can work.

He said they met with the Honiara-based Malaitans last week and explained to them that they have taken note of the issues raised in the petition.

But to address those issues, government will deal directly with the Malaita provincial government (MPG) because the MPG is the mandated body which represents their people, Kabui said.

Kabui adds, some of the issues raised in the petition are being dealt with through responsible ministries.

“One of the issues is Fiu bridge. The government is continuing with its dialogue and will go back to the province on how to go forward,” he said.

Kabui said in terms of responding to Honiara-based Malaitans, they will invite them again tomorrow to brief them on the outcome of the petition.

The group had requested the Prime Minister to

  1. Honour and respect the Auki Communique and ceases its attempts to extinguish or curtail the right of the self-determination by the people of Malaita as represented through their MARA government in the said communique
  2. Keep the Chinese community party, its companies or agents our of Malaita province a made blatantly clear in the Auki Communique
  3. Refrain from weaponising infrastructure development in Malaita and specifically keep the World Bank SIIRAP Project on Malaita province alive according to the World Bank procurement guidelines
  4. Immediately cease all contracts granted to entities owned, endorsed or associated with Members of Parliament or their agents in the building of infrastructure in Malaita as sign of good faith and an important step to eradication corruption from the machinery of government in Solomon Islands.
  5. Focus on good, honest and transparent governance and stop petty politicking and disadvantaging the Malaita population
  6. Put a halt on the influx of cheap Asian labour into Solomon Islands who are systematically taking away economic opportunities from Solomon islanders
  7. Fulfil commitment and mandate to support Malaita province including commitment made in the Townsville peace agreement of the year 2000
  8. Afford Malaita the opportunity to explore and exercise rights and freedoms of democratic states as enshrined in the Solomon Islands constitution
  9. The DCGA to lift total ban of sea cucumber harvesting for our Malaita outer islander’s livelihood
  10. DCGA to immediately address mitigating measures to counter the desperate climate change situation affection our Malaita Outer islanders.

Meanwhile it was revealed that World Bank will proceed with the tender process to design the Fiu bridge.