Friday, 17 February 2012 8:01 AM

Senior Statesman Passes Away

Solomon Islands first Governor General, Sir Baddeley Devesi, has passed away.

Sir Baddeley served as the first Governor-General of the Solomon Islands for two consecutive terms.

He was born in Guadalcanal on October 16, 1941. He served as the first Governor-General of the Solomon Islands from July 7, 1978 to July 7, 1988. Afterwards, he served as Foreign Minister from 1989 to 1990, Interior Minister from 1990 to 1992, and Deputy Prime Minister from 1990 to 1993 and 1997 to 2000, until the government was removed by a coup d'etat.

Leading up to the coup, he had strongly recommended to the Australian and New Zealand High Commissioner that they send peacekeepers. He encouraged election observers to ensure an orderly formation of a government after the 2006 election.

As a leader during independence, he has criticized Britain for its lack of preparation for the handover of autonomy, which he believes led to the political crises the Solomons suffered.

Sir Baddeley graciously retired from politics after the unfortunate ethnic conflict, an act admired by many as he could have easily won the elections. Many say that he recognized the need to allow new leaders to participate in politics, an example of the kind of leader he was.

Many will remember Sir Baddeley as a dignified leader, one of the founding fathers of modern Solomon Islands.

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By STEVE BANI Vura Heights, East Honiara
By GEOFFREY MAURIASI USP, Lacuala Campus, Fiji
By CHARLES KOULI Gizo, Western Province