Essential humanitarian medical equipment bound for Malaita to fight COVID-19 was seized by Police on Thursday 11th June 2020.
In a secret action, the equipment was seized from customs without warrant or explanation despite the fact that the import duty was paid and cleared by the Customs and Exercise Division. When customs officers sought legal basis for this, none was given and the equipment was taken away by the Police.
The equipment was donated on humanitarian grounds by Republic of China and shipped to a Malaitan person who was going to donate them to Malaita Province.
MARA Government calls on the Commissioner of Police and Attorney General to explain what legal basis was used to hold up this life saving equipment.
The equipment included one set of Thermal Image Camera plus monitor and 2 Thermal temperature cameras to check people for fevers on entry to Malaita, and was specifically donated to assist with fighting COVID 19.
This appears to be a direct action against the fight of COVID-19 in Malaita the most populated province of Solomon Islands. It is also an action that is contrary to the purpose for which a State of Public Emergency is declared.
We would like to know: Why is lifesaving equipment for Malaita held up when it is to fight COVID-19? We know that a whole range of limitations to Constitutional Rights and Freedoms have been put on the people of Solomon Islands in the name of COVID-19, including closing of boarders. However, exemptions have been made for the arrival of supplies from PRC and others.
But when there is COVID-19 equipment donated to Malaita, the DCGA based on advice from the AG has ordered the Police to seize it. This looks like it is an action against the public health of Malaitans, and against the justifiable purpose of the State of Public Emergency.
The Malaita Provincial Government would like to see that the Commissioner of Police and the Attorney General quickly resolve this matter so as to ensure the equipment are freed.