MONDAY’s annual commemoration of the Battle of Guadalcanal which took place at Bloody Ridge National Peace Park in East Honiara ended with a bloody incident that resulted in the stabbing of a Japanese Military personnel.
The unfortunate incident happened at the commemoration service of the 80th anniversary of the battle of Guadalcanal.
The incident received widespread condemnation.
One of them is the Solomon Islands Tourism Industry Council (SITIC).
SITIC President Ms Joyce Konofilia described the incident as an unfortunate situation considering the country has just reopened its international borders with overseas guests arriving back into the country.
No doubt the incident will definitely portrays a bad image of the country.
She also highlighted, it’s important for the organizing committee to always have a risk management plan in place to ensure and guarantee absolute safety of international visitors.
“This is an important area to learn from for future important events,” Ms Konofilia said.
Since the weekend Honiara has hosted a large number of foreign dignitaries from the US, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and other countries in the country.
Unfortunately, this somber event was marred by this stabbing incident.
It was highlighted, the incident occurred towards the end of the ceremony where an individual with mental health issues assaulted a photographer from the Japanese Navy media team.
Fortunately bystanders and community security personnel quickly subdued the assailant which stopped the attacker from further stabbing.
The victim quickly received first aid treatment and was in a stable condition.
The attacker is now under police custody.
The assault appeared to be random, and the assailant is an individual with a history of mental illness, said Bunyan Sivoro Permanent Secretary Ministry of Culture and Tourism said while expressing regret for the incident.
“We would like to extend our deepest apologies, primarily to the victim of the assault, but also to all participants who experienced stress and discomfort.
“At the same time, we would like to thank everyone who selflessly rendered assistance during the incident; foreign and local guests, bystanders, medics and local security,” PS Sivoro said.
Its good that soon after the incident a brief reconciliation ceremony was held between the Government of Solomon Islands represented by PS Sivoro and Officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ambassador of Japan representing the victim and Japanese delegation.
A shell money was presented as a traditional form of compensation.
The cordial relationship between the two countries remain intact despite the incident.
The Tourism Industry Council is calling on the local people and communities to respect visitors during such important event of the country’s history.
“We must be proud and patriotic about our country and always ensure our visitors have memorable experience in our country,” she said.
Yesterday’s event calls for tighter security measures in any major outdoor activities in the country when large numbers of overseas guests were present.
Not only that, yesterday’s incident means the growing number of mentally-ill people in our communities are a risk to communities and the public.
Its important for responsible authorities to take note of the incident and need to act in reducing these number of mentally-ill person in our communities.