In recent discussions of the National Government-Malaita saga, a controversial issue has been the arrival of the patrol boat in Auki. On the one hand, reports have stated that the Patrol boat was there to arrest the Malaita Premier. On the other hand, a recent statement by Auki police have denied such claims.
Responding to this issue, the Leader of Opposition Hon. Matthew Wale says that these reports of arrest is very concerning. While acknowledging the recent statement made by Auki Police denying such claims, Hon. Wale says that he understands how the large presence of 50 PRT officers along with foreign officers paints a different picture.
At this point, there are two things that are clear, Wale states. Firstly, the situation between National Government and Malaita is tense. Secondly, and more encouraging however, is that dialogue have already started between the two parties. The initiative for dialogue taken by Government in pursuit of national unity is both the sensitive and sensible thing to do.
What the Government cannot do at this stage, Wale asserts, is to jeopardize this progress through actions that have the potential to provoke or aggravate affect the situation. For example, the accepting of Chinese training is an act that adversely affects the situation.
The sending of the patrol boat, Wale points out, is similar to the former. According to Hon. Wale, these actions have the potential to jeopardize the chance for effective dialogue.
While recognizing that the law must take its course if people have broken the law, Wale contends that there is a time and place for everything.
Concluding, Wale emphasizes ‘as I suggested earlier, Government can’t have it both ways. Their assertion that they are for unity is contradicted by these insensitive and provocative acts that have the potential to cause more disunity’.