The MPs including senior government ministers have taken a full page advertisement in today’s paper to express their views.
The advertisement was signed by Deputy Prime Minister and MP for East Malaita, Manasseh Maelanga, Stanley Sofu, MP for East Kwaio, Titus Fika, MP for West Kwaio, Rexson Ramofafia, MP for Fataleka, Jackson Fiulaua, MP for Central Kwaraae, Makario Tagini, MP Baegu/Asifola, Augustine Auga MP for Lau/Mbaelelea, Martin Kealoe, MP for Malaita Outer Islands and Senley Filualea, MP for North Malaita
In their joint statement, the MPs said:
“We the nine (9) Members of Parliament in the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement in relation to the continuous unlawful call by the Premier of Malaita Province hereby state as follows:
“The fourteen (14) Members of Parliament of Malaita Province both in the Government and Opposition are the constitutionally mandated representatives of the people in their constituencies and not the Premier of Malaita, his advisors or any other groups,” they said.
Among other things, they said the call for referendum “does not reflect the true position of the law-abiding citizens of Malaita Province nor the wishes of the Constituencies of which we the undersigned have been mandated to represent.”
“Any actions to establish Independence for Malaita Province will require wider and more comprehensive consultations [to be] done in accordance with the rule of law over a realistic period of time to ensure that achieving Independence protects the best interests of all Malaitans rather than to simply advance individual agendas of a select few being supported by foreign interests to demand a referendum for Independence without any regard for the consequences of such actions while claiming to represent the majority population of Malaita.
“Premier Suidani and his advisors are promoting their own interest with regards to the call for referendum and are misleading the people of Malaita at such a critical time when we all should be united in our efforts to safeguard the country from the threat of a global pandemic and a worldwide economic recession. Premier Suidani and his advisors are but just a mouthpiece and a pawn in this geopolitical game. The real victim of Suidani's self-interest is Malaita and her people.
“Such a call is irresponsible of a leader and a cause for concern for Malaitans living in other provinces and Honiara as well. Such cavalier and careless attitude by Premier Suidani and his advisors are irresponsible and uncalled for in view of the unnecessary risk to public stability that he is placing on Malaita Province and the country as a whole.
They also said that the group calling itself Malaita for Democracy “is not a legally registered group and does not represent the people of Malaita. Where does Malaita for Democracy gets its mandate from? Malaita for Democracy is instead a group with no legal standing that has taken the law into its own hands and claims to represent the law abiding people of Malaita.
“We also condemn allegations made against the Deputy Prime Minister by an advisor of the Malaita Provincial Government. We are elected by our people and we represent them. Malaita is our home and no one can say otherwise.
“As such we the nine (9) Members of Parliament of Malaita Province in the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement condemn the unlawful calls by Premier Suidani and neither do we formally recognise the Malaita for Democracy group.
“We call on the good people of Malaita to work together for a united Malaita and Solomon Islands. Allow us to exercise the mandate that you have given us on your behalf on Election Day,” the advertisement said.”
Deputy Prime Minister Maelanga last night told Solomon Star the Malaitan MPs will meet next Tuesday after some MPs were unable to attend a meeting yesterday.
“Many MPs had to attend constituency commitments in Honiara so they were unable to attend,” Mr. Maelanga said.
By Alfred Sasako