BY BARNABAS MANEBONA
A one-day training workshop called the Pioneer Movement programme was held at Tamalupo local church, Kakabona Tanagai Parish, on August 18.
According to Sam Alasia the President of the Pioneer Movement in Solomon Islands, about 15 leaders including several youths from Tanagai Parish attended the program.
The Pioneer Movement is a Ministry in the Catholic Church that prays and encourages people who have problems with alcohol and drugs to abstain from taking them.
Mr Alasia said the training programme was facilitated by Michael Liliau, Christiano Van Der Laar, himself and the leaders of the Pioneer Movement in the Archdiocese of Honiara.
“Christiano the first Speaker highlighted that although the Pioneer Movement was started in Dublin, Ireland, in 1898 by a priest and 4 women who were concerned with the drinking habits of their husbands, and even though the movement reached Fiji in the early 1960s, it was not until in 2005 it was introduced here in the Solomons.
“Fr Joe Tuimavule and Romanu Ticoticoca both from Fiji started the movement in Honiara in 2005. Romanu was working under RAMSI in the area of community policing.
“The movement now has about two million members throughout the World and that its membership is not restricted only to the Catholic Church.
“The second speaker was Michael Liliau who in his presentation pointed out that there are usually 4 stages of drinking alcohol.
“The first stage is when a person takes 1 can of beer to 4 cans.
“This first stage is known as the happy stage and normally people are not intoxicated at this stage, they can still know what is going on except that they are happy and laugh more than in normal situations.
“The second stage is when a person takes five cans to 10 cans of beer.
“This stage is known as the excitement stage. The third stage is when a person takes in 11 cans to 18 cans of beer.
“This is the stage where a person can become stupid and acts irrationally.
“And, in the fourth stage from 20 cans upwards, the person becomes confused, aggressive and thinks that he owns the world.
“It is normally from the 3rd and 4th stages of drinking that the root of such problems as domestic violence, robbery, rape and murder can occur.
“The person is not able to think carefully about his actions. So it is better that people who drink should stop drinking when they are either in the first stage or second stage. People who drink alcohol should know their limits,” stated Alasia in his report.
The third Speaker for the day being Mr Alasia himself emphasised that in the European, Jewish or Polynesian cultures are disciplined in their drinking habits.
“For example in Fiji or Tonga, they have kava which their people respect.
“It is part of their culture. In the Solomon’s we do not have such a drink in our culture so people do not know how to be disciplined and respect alcohol.
“People who drink should train themselves to know their limits and that if their limit is 6 or 7 cans of beer then they should respect that choice and be disciplined to avoid going into the 3rd stage,” said Alasia.
Alasia also pointed out that according to the relevant statistics, about 80 percent of inmates go into Rove prison mainly because of alcohol related crimes and that Solomon Islands have not tackled the root causes of these problems.
He added that the government has not been serious in addressing alcohol and drugs problems in the country.
“This is a great concern and that the new government formed after the national elections in early 2019 should come up with a policy to work together with the churches to address this problem.
“Immediately after the ethnic crisis, the National peace council and RAMSI came up with weapons free communities.
“Any new government should have in its policy a strategy to have alcohol free and drugs free communities in Honiara and in our provinces as from this, we can be able to see a decrease in crime rates.”