By ANDREW FANASIA
MEMBER of Parliament (PM) for West Are'Are John Maneniaru has hit out at the Search and Rescue Division and the government for their slow response to an urgent request for assistance.
This was in relation to the tragic incident of the ill-fated voyage of MV Taimareho over the weekend.
Speaking on the floor of the parliament the devastated leader of East Are'Are uttered his grievances concerning the delay to search for the missing people from his constituency when he debated the motion of State of Emergency yesterday.
"It takes twenty-four hours for the Search & Rescue division to respond to an urgent request for assistance,” Maneniaru said.
Maneniaru said so far he had two not so good experiences with the division concerned and urged the prime minister to address the situation especially when the country is in a state of a public emergency situation.
"Our government systems and processes are themselves stumbling blocks to an efficient response by the search and rescue division," he expressed.
For instance, Maneniaru said that an incident occurred at that time where one of the RSIPF Patrol boats was prevented from participating initially in the search for the missing passengers of MV Taimareho because the patrol boat accidentally lost it's anchor as it got stuck in the sea while anchoring outside Tulagi.
As a result of that incident, the patrol boat could not take part in the search because the maritime law says that ships without an anchor could not take part in search operations.
To add to the problem, Maneniaru said an expatriate helicopter pilot was prevented from flying a chopper to search for the missing passengers just because of some strict formalities he had to abide to.
Later the pilot was given the approval to fly but Civil Authorities needed to give clearance.
Therefore, Maneniaru urged the government to address the situation by strengthening and improving the work of the Search and Rescue Division.
He further emphasised that the Search and Rescue Division needs to be well resourced for such a tragic disaster.
So far six bodies of the missing 27 have been recovered.
Five were discovered on Sunday.