The whole pacific region seems to be on high alert for our security deal with China. The news goes around the whole globe: Solomon Islands wants protection and security and so they ask China. It reminds me of Ukraine asking to enter NATO for the same reasons. Russia does not like the plan of Ukraine to find security in NATO. Russia wants Ukraine to be neutral, lay low, because it does not want NATO missiles at its backyard.

This situation reminds me of the USA, Australia and New Zealand not liking China missiles in their areas (backyard) in the Solomon Islands. What Russia is doing we all know it, poor Ukraine. What will Australia, NZ, USA do? We do not know it yet. What we now is that they are not happy at all and they said it loud and clear. They will certainly plan what to do. They will not take it sitting down. Is Solomon Islands provoking its big neighbors who have been supportive to us so far? Are we sure this is the top priority of our country now? Was it not enough to have two super powers fighting in our country (in our very homes not backyard) 70 years ago? Are we trying to get into a new trap where two or more superpowers will throw bombs at each other at Henderson or at Visale again?

We are a peace loving people. Let us just eliminate corruption and our local quarrels and let the projects for the development of the country take off, without money going to individual pockets. Can we not do it ourselves if we get rid of corruption and work hard as a team? With our own power and some support from traditional and new allies? Without delegating our own rights to self-defense to anyone especially to any country who does not seem to respect democracy in their own country.

We can improve and manage with our present allies can't we? It will be a though road, going upwards without short cuts: education, (more technical than academic...) respect for God, people and nature, our common home, with hard work and brotherly relationships with every people on earth, neutral and free from interference of foreign super powers with their big guns… from anywhere. There will be hard work to be done, but we will keep our freedom from pressures, our sovereignty and dignity as a small Nation proud of itself

I am Bishop Luciano Capelli, in the country since 23 years at North East Guale first during the ethnic tension (Don Bosco Henderson and Tetere RTC and GSH) and in Gizo since the earthquake of April 2, 2007. I feel a Solomon Islander with a heart made in Italy. I have done my piece for the country and in my last year before retirement I also feel I have to say my piece about this deal in this my country and people by adoption whom I dearly love.

Our best security is our culture, our faith, our resilience, our working together we firmly believe in this. We have a pandemic to face, with serious effects on our life and economy. This issue is strongly dividing issue. We need to be solid in unity now more than ever to face the pandemic which it appears so many of us take so lightly.

Would it not be wiser to give this deal a second thought? To see what the Sovereign Solomon Islands people really feel about it in a popular referendum or any other democratic way?

God save our Solomon Islands from shore to shore…the people, the land…and the sea.

With my episcopal blessing to all…

Bishop Luciano Capelli, sdb
Gizo Diocese, Western Province, Solomon Islands