Solomon Islands Member of Parliament for West Kwaio Constituency Claudius Tei’ifi says the ‘big fish’ behind the ethnic crisis are still out there.
Speaking during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Report debate in Parliament, the West Kwaio MP said the so called big fish who are the real perpetrators behind the crisis should face justice for bringing this country down to its knees during those years.
He said victims of the ethnic crisis need justice.
“The people of this nation especially victims of the ethnic tension have been waiting for too long to know the real truth about cause of the ethnic tension,” he said.
Tei’ifi said the real perpetrators and instigators must be exposed and face justice.
“All victims must be well compensated for their loss, suffering, and pain during those darkest moments in the history of our beloved country Solomon Islands,” he said.
The West Kwaio MP has also conveyed his respects to families that have lost loved ones, properties, wealth and those that suffered tremendously during the crisis.
“I believe that this report as we debate in this honourable house will bring forth many bad memories of the lost, sufferings, sense of bitter regrets, and abiding sorrows on many who have lived through that darkest period of our history. I regret that a good number of victims who suffered tremendously as a result of the events were not able to live today to listen and see the course of actions the government would take to address those issues that affected them during that time,” Tei’ifi told Parliament.
He said the seriousness of the matter has been down played for the past 20 years and many victims have been denied simple justice.
“The seriousness of the matter does not warrant us in this chamber to continue throw stones at each other over our shortfalls,” he said.
The West Kwaio MP said leaders must take serious consideration on how to address the underlying cause of the ethnic crisis.
Meanwhile, Opposition MP Peter Kenilorea says the Government needs to tell the truth to ex-combatants that they cannot deliver on their promises.
Kenilorea said certain former combatants who were his relatives approached him to discuss their grievances.
“I told them straight that there is no money. There is nothing. It is a harsh thing to say and to tell them but it has been a long time coming,” he said.
Kenilorea said former combatants also asked if there were any arrangements with UN and if there was money there.
“I told them not even a cent. Their mouths dropped. For me, it feels like the first time they are hearing the truth. These people have been led on and told to come back tomorrow, come back next month,” he said.
The East Are’Are MP said these people need to be told the truth because they deserve it.
“They are human beings, they have gone through hard times, they feel that they have made a contribution to this nation. That is what many of them feel. When you read the Truth and Reconciliation Report you will see why. Providing security for Honiara and helped out by business houses. I read it here. They were feeling legitimised,” he said.
But sometimes you should respect them enough to tell them the truth that you cannot deliver on whatever we have been promising, Kenilorea said.
“It is tough to swallow, but I think they deserve the respect of being told the truth,” he said.
The Opposition MP said it is unfortunate that since 20 years ago, issues of former combatants are still making headlines.
He said this newer generation would be confused because they were born with no idea of what had happened.
“Perhaps, it means that their interests have not yet been looked at seriously. The recommendation is quite clear; education, business, funds and projects, counseling, and reconciliation. These are the specific heads under which rehabilitation of former militants were listed for focus in the report itself,” he said.
But Kenilorea said for an ordinary Solomon Islander it will get to a point where the population will get tired of hearing the same headlines, when all they want to do is to get the next meal, when all they want to do is to try and get the money from the markets to get their child to school, educate their children.
“But to read and hearing headlines like millions will be given. Is that really the policy of this government?” he questioned.
The East Are’Are MP said that is a policy choice that this government will have to make, or it seems to be making, and that is a choice that they will have to live with.
“Whether it goes well or not, the consequences of this, and I am not speaking just about the former militants, I am speaking about just ordinary Solomon Islanders who have nothing to do. The 70 percent of the population. It comes back to my point that what we do to address the past, we have to look at how it impacts the future,” he said.
SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/SBM/PACNEWS