The Leader of opposition is hereby advised by the Solomon Islands Government not to mislead or confuse the Public on the China-Taiwan issue as related to the Malaita Premier.

This statement was made following the Opposition leader’s publication in yesterdays papers.

The Solomon Islands Government is appalled by the comments of the Leader of Official Opposition.

A statement from the Solomon Islands Government said, “this is the first time, a Leader of the Official Opposition and a very senior Member of Parliament, openly advocates for a breach of our laws in which as a legislator, he should instead be protecting and advocating for strict compliance.”

“It must be noted that the letter by the Minister for Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening (MPGIS) to the Malaita Premier is an internal matter by virtue of the Provincial Government Act 1997 and does not constitute any political motivations to suspend the Provincial Government.

“Hon. Wale knows that by law, all Provincial Governments are required to act in a manner that complies with the Provincial Government Act 1997 and Malaita Provincial Government is no exception,” the statement added.

By promoting and inducing a contravention of an Act, such actions are bordering as a criminal offence including sedition and this is a matter for Police to investigate.

Hon. Wale was ultimately advocating for all Provincial Governments to disregard legal obligations and expects the national Government to turn a blind eye.

The Statement clarifies that the Minister’s letter to the Premier of Malaita Province is an internal matter, which outlines the various contraventions of the Premier and advising the Hon. Premier to take corrective measures in regard to compliance with the PGA 1997.

The MPGIS Minister also advised that non-alignment of the Premier’s action to the National Government’s preparedness and emergency response priorities, potentially undermines public order and poses a risk to our national security with regards to the fight against COVID19 which requires intervention of the National Government.

Non-compliance and breaches to the Provincial Government Act can result in consequences that includes the suspension of the Provincial Government under the Provincial Government Act.

This is a matter of the application of law and not politics.

The letter does not in any way call for a suspension of the Malaita Provincial Government and that must be made clear.

It is unfortunate that certain media elements and the opposition leader are treating the matter as if the Malaita Provincial Government will be suspended or dissolved any moment from now.

Mr. Wale’s outburst and wrongful assertion to the media releases is provocative, speculative and does not reflect well on him as a senior leader.

Mr. Wale has quickly jumped to conclusions and rhetorically came up with irrational theories and ideologies that are designed to create disharmony and confusion in our communities. More so to provoke animosity against the Government during this critical state of emergency period to safeguard our nation from the threat of COVID-19.

The Emergency Powers (COVID-19) Regulations creates offences for such publications and as stated above, will be a matter for Police to investigate.

Further, in the call for the recent Premiers meeting, the Honourable Minister expected all Premiers to attend this important meeting in Honiara. The matter was to discuss measures concerning Government’s preparedness and responsiveness to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Whilst, all Premiers attended, the Malaita Premier failed to attend citing attendance at an awareness program at his ward/community and therefore sending only his Deputy, however, he apparently arrived in Honiara the following day after the closing of the Premiers’ meeting.

In a matter of significant national interest, it is expected that all commitments by all Premiers are to be set aside and their attendance as being paramount to the national interest.

The Minister’s letter also called for dialogue with Provincial Governments. After the completion of the Premiers meeting in 23rd of April 2020, the minister also sent over through a circular on the limitations of powers, responsibility and expectations from the Provinces in the joint fight against the spread of the COVID-19.

The Minister continuous to call for support in this regard from the provinces. It is surprising that the opposition leader continues to look for issues to arouse fear and resentment among members of the Public.

The statement further added that the Hon. Opposition leader need to validate his sources firstly before misleading and spreading lies to the public at large.

Hon. Wale stated in his media statement that in 2017 former Premiers of Guadalcanal, Malaita and Western Province did not obtain permission before taking overseas trips.

These visits were made with the endorsement and/or approval of the Minister. Further other visits by other Provincial delegations (previous Western Provincial delegation) to other countries such as Fiji and China were done also with the approval and endorsement of the Minister.

This was another attempt by the leader of opposition to belittle the integrity of our former Premiers who at all times acted in compliance with the requirements of the Provincial Government Act.

It was also regrettable that that a letter of caution to our leaders appealing for their support and corporation during this time of COVID-19 has been inflated and swayed in different directions, just to intentionally stir issues and provoke negative public perception against the Government and what it was doing at the moment in the COVID-19 fight.

The opposition’s hasty claim that the issue is in anyway related to the diplomatic switch with mainland China, is deplorable and inaccurate.

The Minister assured continuous collaboration with Premiers and will work and rectify any issues of anomalies confronting our Provincial Governments.

“This was the responsibility of the MPGIS. We take care of provinces and guides and assist them in attaining their socio-economic development goals” he said.

The MPGIS Minister further acknowledged the need to continue to work closely with all Provincial Governments.

“We may not understand and respect the plights and positions of our Provincial Governments on certain issues whether they are economical, social, financial or even political butthere are issues that the National government has powers to determine and there are other issues we require the support of our Provincial leaders. I must say that despite some of our difference, in most cases, we do share the same interest and challenges.

“This fight against the COVID-19 is universal and it is necessary that we join together as a country and people but the manner in which some elements within the Government structureof our country begins to incite hatred and confusion among our good citizen, truly reflects the notion that certain people have different agendas to destabilize our society," the Minister said.

"I therefore call for cooperation in this regard.”

Source: Press Release OPMC