MEMBER of Parliament (MP) for Small Malaita Rick Hou has questioned the government whether is it worth taking the risk to operate a charter flight to China.
He raised this question in parliament on Tuesday after learning the government organizing a special flight to pick nineteen Chinese nationals directly from China to work on the 2023 Pacific Games preparations.
“Delivery of this important project on time is a good call, but the question is it worth taking that risk?” questioned Mr. Hou.
He further questioned whether the government is sure that China is now at low risk of COVID-19.
“China is 26 of the 215 countries positive of the virus.
“Sending Solomon Airlines aircraft to China seems to be too much of a gamble,” said Mr. Houenipwela.
He added if the flight proceeds, it is opposite to government policies and steps needed to safe guide the people of the country from the COVID-19.
“Even if China was declared Coronavirus free which I believe it is not, how is the government be so sure that where the aircraft and its crew will stop is also coronavirus free?” he said.
He said operating the special flight to China will send a wrong message to the people of this country when the government is trying to protect the country from COVID-19.
“To me, it’s a bad idea in the current circumstances. It is very risky for the well-being of our people. “Proceeding with the flight will further undermine public confidence in the government seriousness to deal with the various and its efforts to ensure Solomon Islands remain COVID-19 free,” Mr. Hou said.
Hou who is a member of the opposition also suggested that the Pacific Games 2023 be deferred.
He said there are other more important and bigger sports events like the Olympic Games that have to be postponed as the result of the pandemic.
“With the current status, the government can postpone the 2023 Pacific Games by talking to the president of Pacific Games Council.
The paper understands a direct charter flight to China is set for the 29th August to repatriate 50 stranded nationals and technical officials from China to help with the construction of games facilities.