In her recent ruling in the criminal case, Regina v Kevin Tarifiu & Others – CC N0. 379/2020, the Chief Magistrate stated that the lack of coordinates clearly demarcating the boundary of the Emergency Zone as defined in the Emergency Zone (COVID 19) (Declaration of Honiara as Emergency Zone) Order 2020, will have a bearing on the issue of the place of residence within the emergency zone.
Hon. Wale points out that, “According to the map attached to the COVID-19 plan, although there is a red line indicating the inland side of the emergency zone boundary, there are no coordinates to go with this line”.
He says if this means there are none in place then it raises the question, where exactly on the ground is the red line.
“Given the order purports to restrict the freedom of movement of people into and within, and confine people within to their places of residence, the point raised by the court must not be brushed aside.
“People must know precisely where exactly between Poha river and Aligator Creek is the emergency zone so they are clear on whether they are affected or not.
“This is not only an issue for people residing on the fringes of Honiara but even those right in the centre. In the absence of any coordinates, how can one say, Rove or Titinge is in the emergency zone?” Hon. Wale questions.
He says while the lockdown may be viewed as an important exercise by some, ensuring that the exercise affects people at the bare minimum is crucial.
“We are talking about suspending people’s movement to access food, water, and other basic needs on a daily basis by law and so the point raised by the Chief Magistrate is important.
“I, therefore, call on the government to seriously look into the issue. The last thing we want is to spend a lot of money on police enforcement only to find that there is a legal defect that might make all those efforts and spending of emergency funds futile in the end,” the Opposition Leader adds.
- Opposition Press