Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has announced that New Zealand officers will now join three other countries: Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Australia in the latest intervention to support Solomon Islands following last week’s unrest in Honiara.
In his address last night, Sogavare said: “We have opened our borders to allow our neighbours to enter to assist us. New Zealand will join the three countries in the next few days.”
“On behalf of the people and Government of Solomon Islands I convey the grateful thanks of a grateful nation to our friends, neighbours and partners, the people and the governments of Australia, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, and New Zealand for responding to our call to help us back onto our feet,” he said.
Fiji troops arrived in Honiara Tuesday to join Australia and PNG personnel who had been in the country since Friday.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has admitted that COVID-19 tests conducted on the visiting peacekeeping contingent has returned with some inconclusive results.
He said the tests were repeated and the results have since returned negative.
The Prime Minster said that the opening of Solomon Islands borders for the peacekeeping contingent carries with it risks, but assures the public that measures are in place to mitigate such risks.
He said COVID-19 tests are, or have been conducted on days three, four, six, eight and 10 for low risk countries. High risk countries will have additional tests on days 12 and 14.
Sogavare said that the visiting peacekeeping team are in Honiara on the invitation of the Solomon Islands government and all the participating countries have followed strict testing protocols before coming over.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA) has expressed sadness following the destruction to business houses in Honiara in recent days.
A statement from DCGA said the destruction of businesses are done by unlawful and heartless people with selfish agendas.
The statement said the instigators of the recent looting and arson that gripped Honiara have no respect for our multi-diverse ethnic groupings.
“The looters and rioters destroy and victimise the innocent residents and business houses of Honiara,” the statement said.
The statement said the Government is aware of reports that the instigators are planning another evil plan to completely decimate the whole of Honiara city before implementing the next phase which they call the “third wave” including the declaration of Malaita as an independent state.
It says some of the ring leaders are openly stating on Facebook that “in order to build a new house, the old house must be first destroyed”.
“Such statements are not helping the volatile situation we are currently experiencing in Honiara,” the DCGA statement said.
“To the peace loving and right minded Malaitan’s, we should ask ourselves whether we are comfortable with the violent advocators to lead our people to an independent state.”
Nevertheless, the statement said the national government is encouraged by the wisdom of the majority of our citizens not to employ violence, looting or threatening tactics to impose one’s evil plan of decimating Honiara city, the capital of Solomon Islands.
“It is even beyond comprehension and brevity to see the violence and disrespect the instigators demonstrated against the peace loving people of this beloved country of ours,” the statement adds.
The DCGA statement said resorting to violence will never bring about peaceful solutions but disaster upon oneself.
The statement said the DCGA government sees that the majority of the people are not supportive of the ongoing unlawful events and thanked good citizens to continue to remain law-abiding citizens of this country.
The national government also thanked our Churches for urging their followers to refrain from unlawful gatherings and events and such call must continue to be reemphasised to our good people.
“Instigators are strongly urged to encourage their violent supporters to embrace similar pathways from the provincial governments of Choiseul and Western provinces if they want to democratically replace the national leadership,” it said.
The statement also urged all our peace-loving citizens irrespective of our ideological disagreements to resolve our differences within the bounds of our laws.
“Solomon Islands belongs to all of us and to all nine provinces in the country. There is a democratic process to elect and oust a duly elected Prime Minister and that is at the floor or Parliament and not through violence, looting and destruction,” the statement said.
SOURCE: SBM ONLINE/SOLOMON TIMES ONLINE/PACNEWS