Solomon Islands Opposition leader Matthew Wale has described sarcastic climate change comments by a government minister on social media as insensitive and shameful.
This followed a news article published on social media recently, which carried the President of the Federated Stated of Micronesia David W Panuelo’s letter to Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare raising concerns on the proposed security treaty with China.
The Police Minister Anthony Veke made sarcastic comments on social media in response to the article, stating that the president of FSM;
“Should be worrying about your atoll about to be swallowed by the ocean due to climate change. That’s your real threat! Period!”
The Opposition Leader said it is sad to see such comment from a Solomon Islands Cabinet Minister to the FSM president especially on climate change.
“I hope this is not the DCGA’s policy stand on climate change. Maybe the minister failed to see what climate change has done to our own backyard,” Wale said.
Wale said Minister Veke’s statement is insensitive of the fact that Solomon Islands and our own people are struggling with the impacts of climate change everyday.
“Such comments are disrespectful not only to a regional friend but also to our own people on atolls and islands that are faced with sea level rise and impacts of climate change every day of their lives. Such statement should not even come from any ordinary Solomon Islander,” he said.
The Opposition Leader said Minister Veke should apologise for making such inconsiderate comments on social media because it does not reflect well on himself as a Cabinet Minister of the Solomon Islands Government.
Meanwhile, Police Minister Anthony Veke says he stands by his social media comments in relation to a post carrying a letter by the President of the Federated State of Micronesia (FSM) to Solomon Islands Prime Minister asking the Solomon Islands Government to withdraw its security deal with China.
In a press statement Veke said his comments were his own and does not reflect any official response from the Solomon Islands Government.
He said he is a Solomon Islander, and like any other Solomon Islander he does have personal views on issues that affect the country.
Veke said while the President of FSM has the right as a member of the Pacific Islands Forum to express his views to the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands regarding the security deal, “he should not be swayed away from respecting the sovereignty of Solomon Islands.”
Veke said his comments were made in light of the issue around climate change, which he says “all pacific island countries including FSM should seek help to address rather than pacific island countries jumping into the geo-political tug of war that is currently sweeping across the region.”
The police minister said those that are quick to demand him for an apology are obviously “wobbling from other issues rather than defending the sovereignty of their own country.”
“My comments are my personal ones as a Solomon Islander and does not reflect the overall position of the Government or my position as Minister of the crown on the subject of debate and I will not apologise for them. I am simply expressing my views and they are also expressing theirs so what’s the fuss?” Veke said.
He encouraged his social media rivals to unite against those that are trying to destabilise the unity of Solomon Islands “rather than being brain-washed to promote the interest of outside forces during these trying times.”.
SOURCE: SOLOMON TIMES ONLINE/PACNEWS