THE outer islands of Malaita province known as the atolls comprise of Ontong Java and Lord Howe and Sikaiana are currently looking forward to make a ‘peaceful exit’ from the Solomon Islands.
A Lord Howe man who was also an outspoken Civil Society member, Lawrence Makili said at the moment, it’s becoming an issue and so they want to revisit the historic Colonial agreements.
“Actually, we really want to know how we become part of Solomon Islands.
“Our understanding is that Ontong Java in the 1800, is part of German –New Guinea,” he said.
Makili added that according to information obtained, it was in the mid-1800 during the Anglo German convention that Isabel and Choiseul was released to be part of the British Protectorate and not Ontong Java.
“So in that particular annexation, we Ontong Java is not part of it except Isabel and Choiseul and that’s how the two become part of the British protectorate,” he said.
But prior to that, he said Isabel, Choiseul and Ontong Java are part of the German New Guinea and not until the German Anglo Convention where the two islands were released to be part of the British protectorate.
“According to record, Ontong Java has never annexed at the period even through to the time Solomon Islands gained its independence in 1978.
“Until now there is no legal instrument available to show us that Ontong Java is part of Solomon Islands,” he said.
Makil said so Solomon Islands and even the British Protectorate have all along administered Ontong Java illegally.
“So what our community in Ontong Java especially our leaders do is just considering those issues because we want to have a dialogue with the Solomon Islands Government just to give us a peaceful exit,” he said.
“We thought it’s a high time for us as we understand we only become part of this country just to be exploited especially with our great marine resources.
“We know much have been there in return for those resources but to the services we are the least to benefit from,” he added.
Makili said not that, Ontonga Java is the most vulnerable islands to climate change but nothing has been done by any given government with serious policy on climate change with regards to their situation being an atoll.
“At the same time, we were never consulted in past consultations regarding our areas within our jurisdictions and resources especially by the government and one for instance is the consultation on the sea bed boundaries though it sits on our boundaries,” he said.
He stated that as a man from Ontong Java, the only chance their issues can be raised and be heard both in the regional community and internationally is when they stand alone with their own decision making process.
“We need to have our own decision making process with our own state because the moment we stay with Solomon Islands, it will continue to silent us not to speak about our issues in the regional and international level,” he said.
By IAN M.KAUKUI