The mock lockdown exercise conducted in August was to test our ability to respond to an outbreak of Covid-19.
While it was a mock lockdown, individuals found in breach of the 36-hour lockdown were arrested and prosecuted.
The same, however, did not apply to a logging landing craft that was seized for the same offence, the case remains murky.
The landing craft was intercepted by Police Maritime outside the Solfish area at Lungga around 8.35pm Sunday night on the 29th August, 2021, by than it was 2 hours into lockdown.
It is understood the decision to charge the vessel was made after the Solomon Islands Maritime Authority (SIMA) produced a technical assessment report that there is no excuse for the vessel to travel to Honiara during the lockdown.
The RSIPF Covid-19 Police Operation Commander, Assistant Commissioner (AC) Simpson Pogeava was quoted as saying that awareness messages regarding the 36 hours lockdown had been well circulated in good time and that anyone who intentionally ignored the orders would face the consequences.
Ordinary Solomon Islands citizens have paid the price for disregarding the lockdown, the logging landing craft is yet to have its day in court.
The pursuit for explanation from responsible authorities regarding the fate of the landing craft has been unsuccessful – no one seems to know, or want to answer.
When the question of the landing craft’s status was put to the Office of the Prime Minister during a talkback show over the national broadcaster the Attorney General said that the country’s local Maritime Police is putting together a report on the vessel.
He says that when the report is complete, the police will carry out its investigation before the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) can lay charges. To date, everyone is tightlipped about the issue, the case of the landing craft is not even registered with the courts - perhaps the case is still under investigatation?
Our systems and processes established to fight against Covid-19 must be applied equally to all, otherwise we are only putting ourselves at risk. Sweeping such issues under the carpet does little to assure all ordinary Solomon Islanders that the rule of law, especially during a crises, applies equally to all.