By ANDREW FANASIA
MEMBER of Parliament (MP) for West Are’are Constituency has recently called on the Office of the Prime Minister to leave politics aside and help address the Taimareho sea tragedy.
On 2nd April of this year, the MV Taimareho left Honiara for West Are’are when it encountered strong winds and rough seas generated by Cyclone Harold.
As a result, 27 people were washed overboard and perished as a result.
Speaking exclusively to the Solomon Star, John Maneniaru said he has been contacting the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (OPMC) for a chance to talk over this sad tragedy but there seemed to be no response from them.
This paper understands that Maneniaru was instrumental in the formation of the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA) as Wing Leader of Kadere Party.
He was later sacked by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare for abstaining to vote on the switch to China.
When asked if this could be the reason why Prime Minister and his office did not want to respond to his request, Maneniaru declined to comment.
Maneniaru said that he wants the Office of the Prime Minister to set politics aside.
“All I want is for our good Prime Minister to give us the opportunity to sit and talk things over so as to give closure to victims and to help them move on peacefully,” he said.
Earlier on before this exclusive interview, Maneniaru raised his concern on the floor of the parliament when he contributed to the 2020 Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2020 moved by the Minister of Finance this week.
He told parliament that the families, relatives of T27, and himself are still waiting for responses from the Office of the Prime Minister so as to find a lasting and amicable solution that would put the issue to rest.
“Lest we forget that this tragedy has left unhealed wounds.
“More so, the tragedy occurred during the Solomon Islands Government COVID-19 mass repatriation policy during the early stages of the first State of Public Emergency (SOPE),” Maneniaru said.
He further stressed that if the Prime Minister truly lived by his message of Unity, One People and One Nation against COVID-19, then he might as well demonstrate his seriousness to the people of West Are’are Constituency.
Meanwhile, Maneniaru said he will continue to pursue this issue with the Prime Minister and other relevant authorities to settle the whole issue.
He said that at the moment, his constituency office and himself continue to support the families who have lost their loved ones during the tragedy.
“I am looking forward to the day when our prime minister will accept my constituency’s request to meet and finally lay this issue to rest for the good of the people of my constituency and the country,” Maneniaru told this paper.