By WILSON SAENI
Auki Newsroom Bureau
THE move by the government to recall Malaita Provincial Secretary (PS) Fredrick Fa'abasua back to Honiara has sparked a peaceful protest at the Malaita provincial capital of Auki yesterday morning.
At the same time, there were demands to have him reinstated within 24 hours.
The protest was carried out by the employees of the Malaita Provincial Government, members of the public, and members of the Malaita for Democracy (M4D) after they became aware of the action taken by government yesterday morning.
The crowd then mobilized and marched to the Malaita Provincial Administration Office to show their support for PS Fa'abasua while calling for his reinstatement.
An estimated crowd of between 700-1000 protesters shouted to the top of their voices while displaying supportive slogans for the PS to remain in office.
The march took the streets of Auki by surprise at around 9:30 am in the morning.
M4D President Knoxly Atu together with the protesters presented a document to Premier Daniel Suidani.
Mr. Atu in a speech addressed to the premier stated the people stand as one united people of Malaita.
The protesters through M4D has made it clear through the statement that they will not accept any new PS.
“We want the current PS to be reinstated and continue with his good work.”
They also expressed the Sogavare led government as not a friend of the province after making so many controversial decisions against the province.
They also declared that they have no trust in Malaita MPs with the national government.
"We come here today with our heartfelt concerns of what we heard.
"We come here today to stand shoulder to shoulder with our Malaitan brother Fredrick Fa'abasua, our provincial secretary.
"We are aware that the Sogavare led DCGA Government has made a very harsh and a bad decision against the wishes of Malaita.
"The action to remove our PS from Malaita and recall him back to Honiara for no good reasons is a direct action against Malaita.
"But let the Sogavare government know that we the people of Malaita do not allow our smart and hardworking PS Fredrick to leave us,” the statement said.
The protesters said the PS has done so much to improve the province and the lives of Malaitans.
“We want someone who does things for our common betterment.
"We won’t accept anyone to replace him,” the statement expressed.
The protesters said the action taken by the government has caused pain to their hearts.
" A pain for a Malaitan brother who we shall stand for him and we shall protect him no matter what," they expressed.
They called on the government to reverse its decision within 24 hours and allow the PS to remain.
"Our call today is for the national government to reverse its decision. On that note, we are giving the government 24 hours to reverse its decision and reinstate our PS.
"This is a call from our hearts and this is our demand,” they expressed.
They did not mention what action they will take if their demand is not met.
They expressed that they still remember the 27 Malaitans who lost their lives at sea because of a decision by the government.
"We still remember how the government confiscated our Taiwanese donated COVID19 equipment during the height of the terrible pandemic,” the statement added.
The statement further claimed the action taken by the government to remove the PS shows how it is working against the people of Malaita Province.
The public through the statement told MPs of Malaita Province that are supporting the Sogavare government that they no longer trust them.
"We see that you no longer serve the interest of Malaita and you have betrayed us like when Judas betrayed the Son of Man.
"We see that your action in supporting Sogavare means you are no longer part of us and our struggles today.”
The statement said the public in Malaita will not back down in their actions to have the PS reinstated.
The peaceful protest was dismissed around 10:30 am after the public met and submitted their request to the Malaita Provincial Premier and his executive at the provincial admin office.
Meanwhile, Officers of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) in Auki are closely monitoring the situation.
Provincial Police Commander (PPC) Malaita Province, Chief Superintendent Stanley Riolo said the protest march was staged on the main road from Aligegeo to Auki Township with protesters carrying banners calling for a change in the national Government’s decision to recall the PS to the Ministry of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening in Honiara.
“Police at Auki monitored the peaceful demonstration through high visibility patrols along the main road to ensure no illegal activities were carried out by some opportunists. The peaceful march ended at the Malaita Provincial headquarters.”
He said officers in Auki continue to be on high alert and are monitoring the situation for the next 48 hours.
“I call on my good people from Malaita to do everything within the bounds of Solomon Islands laws. This is to avoid any arrests. There are ways of resolving disagreements within the laws of this country,” said PPC Riolo.