Dear Editor – The Chief Justice, His Honour Sir Albert Palmer has called for a Commission of Inquiry to determine the cause of the 2021 November rioting and looting in Honiara.
He made the call during the opening of the legal year this week, which was conducted virtually.
Chief Justice Palmer said the Chinatown riots were a disgrace and an embarrassment.
He said the kind of criminal activities and lawlessness cannot be condoned.
Meanwhile Attorney General John Muria Jnr said the events that occurred on November 24 last year were a sad event for Honiara and for Solomon Islands.
My comment: I associate with the call from His Honour the Chief Justice for a Commission of Inquiry into last November’s rioting and widespread arson and looting for the very reason His Honour has expressed, but also
because I believe there remains lingering reasons of a political belief or bias for the destruction that occurred.
A Commission of Inquiry could also look into any alleged failings in security that might be improved in terms of surveillance, intelligence planning and police deployment.
Also if the Solomon Islands is to attract foreign investment, trade, tourism and the wide degree of development support needed, then not only development partners but investors and importers will need to feel assured of the political and general security arrangements long term for the country.
International media coverage of the rioting and the consequential arson and looting by many young people conveyed a very bad image of a country over 40 odd years into its independence of a sovereign nation and despite the security arrangements in place for regional response to a security breakdown by countries such as Australia and New Zealand, it should be noted that not all sectors of the Australian population were in favour of the recent assistance mission that again stepped up to help the SI.
Another important consideration is the need for the Solomon Islands to be considered stable and secure for the hosting of the Pacific Games to be hosted in Honiara in 12 months time.