PREMIER of Malaita Province, Peter Ramohia has lashed out at the slow response of the country’s search and rescue unit following the boat tragedy that claimed lives between the seas of Malaita and Guadalcanal Provinces last week.
About Five dead bodies have been recovered off the coast of Marau, with 11 still missing when the boat travelling from West Areáre enroute to Marau met its fate.
Ramohia said on Wednesday when the incident happened he received a message that one of the boats was missing and he called the search and rescue unit to respond to the incident,
He said no action was taken quickly and lives have been lost due to no rescue attempts being made at the first instance.
“This is not the first time for this unit to fail, they have failed many incidents in terms of rescue and many have lost their lives in our waters.
Ramohia added that the mission carried out by the search and rescue unit was not a rescue mission, but a recovery mission to recover the dead bodies of those people.
He pointed out that this is one of the National Government Departments that should be alert at all times rather than giving excuses of no support for the unit to operate.
“Why is this unit established, the unit should be dissolved because of no proper work being done.
Premier Ramohia said the National Government should also put in place the relevant laws to ensure that people take safety measures to avoid the loss of lives in our waters.
“The laws must be put in place immediately, especially for our safety measures.
Even one life is counted and when 17 or 18 lost their lives it is a sad thing for our people.
The Premier therefore send his condolences to the relatives of those who lost their lives in the tragic incident.
The incident happened on Wednesday last week when two boats believed to be carrying a youth group from Harumou village in the Uhu area on west Are’Are set off for Marau, East Guadalcanal.
They were planning to raise funds for their church building in one of the communities at Marau.
The second boat believed to have carried 24 people, mostly women met its tragic end.
Ramohia said it was the biggest tragedy to have happened to his people of west Are’Are people.
“I want to remind my people of malaita and the country at large that before travelling to sea we must look for safety measures first.
Sea is a different environment from land, the environment can change at any time and so those that travel by boats must ensure safety first before travelling.
On behalf of the malaita provincial government I send our condolence to all chiefs, leaders and immediate family members of those who lost their lives.
My heartfelt sorrow is always with them even though without my presence but through spirit we are all present.
May god’s comfort be with them and May god gave them a peace of mind.