Sir Albert wants Commission of Inquiry into 2021 Honiara riots.

Chief Justice Sir Albert Palmer. Photo by RNZ
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CHIEF Justice Sir Albert Palmer has called for a Commission of Inquiry to determine the cause of the 2021 November riot and looting.

He made the call during the opening of the legal year this week, which was conducted virtually.

Justice Palmer said the Chinatown riots were a disgrace and an embarrassment.

He said the criminal activities and lawlessness cannot be condoned.

“This is the second or third time this has occurred and is the most destructive of all,” Sir Albert said.

“Nearly the whole of China town was burnt down,” he added.

“For some businesses that had just rebuilt their properties, it would be heart wrenching to see their properties go up in smoke again.”

The chief justice said the incident sadly was not confined to Chinatown but other parts of the city were also targeted, looted and burnt down as well.

“At the right time an investigation or a commission of enquiry should be considered to be set up to determine inter alia, the causes of the riot and recommendations to be considered as to how that part of the town and businesses and property can be better secured and protected in future,” Sir Albert said. 

Meanwhile Attorney General John Muria Jnr said the events that occurred on November 24 was a sad one for Honiara and for Solomon Islands.

“This was a vibrant display of the lack of understanding and respect of the law and no respect for authority,” Muria said.

“Indeed, it was also a clear manifestation of the ongoing decay of moral and societal values,” he added.

Muria said what transpired during the November riots was amongst other things, a lack of understanding of basic principles of law by our youths.

He said the involvement of youths as young as 13 has prompted him to renew calls to all relevant stakeholders including the Ministry of Education and Human Resources that our school syllabus needs to be reviewed to include the education of our children of legal principles.

He said this includes the teaching of legal studies at senior Primary and / or at Secondary levels of education.

“Our Children must learn to appreciate our laws and understand their purpose, Muria added.

“Therefore, I would also like to take this opportunity to express my deepest condolences to those that have their livelihoods destroyed during the recent riots in 24-27 November 2022.

“A number of persons have had their homes, properties and life investments snatched before them in front of their very own eyes.

“I have been advised that investigations are continuing and rest assured that those responsible will still be brought to justice to face the long arm of the law.

“It is disheartening to see footages from the November riots that the rioting, looting

and burning of shops, buildings, vehicles, Police Stations etc were occasioned by a

majority of youths and young people between the ages 13 – 35.

“With these, we expect a rise of juvenile delinquents and Solomon Islands must now take serious strides in the development of juvenile processes, protocols and laws to deal with this issue,” Muria said.