FOR the second time on Friday, West Are’Are MP John Maneniaru failed to meet relatives of the 27 who died in the MV Taimareho tragedy April 2 this year.
Relatives wanted to meet and discuss with Maneniaru and the directors of the shipping company that operates MV Taimareho possible compensation. The ship was owned by West Are’Are Constituency.
The relatives first gathered at the Central Police station on Thursday, hoping Maneniaru will show up. He did not.
Yesterday, they gathered again but neither Maneniaru, nor the directors showed up.
“This is frustrating,” their spokesman said.
“We supposed to meet and discuss our issues concerning the 27 who died, but they did not turn up,” he added.
“We were told later that our MP ordered the shipping directors not to meet with us because of unknown reasons.
The spokesman further said the MP told through one of his officers that he will only reply their queries by texting them via their mobile phones.
“Is this how you solve an issue with your people?
“Is this how a leader should act or even does our leader forgot about his culture and custom to solve issues?”
One of the mothers Maria Ruqebatu, who was also part of the committee, said their families and relatives at home are counting on them and if this matter is swept under carpet by the shipping company and the government then things will turn another direction.
Roqebatu, from Haunasi village, lost her nephew in the tragedy.
Government has already set up investigations into the matter. Results of the investigations are yet to be made public.
The vessel was carrying more than 700 passengers when it met Cyclone Harold in the waters between Honiara and West Are’Are.
The passengers are those who left Honiara under the government’s mass COVID-19 repatriation exercise.
The 27 perished souls were swept overboard by high swells.
Only six bodies were recovered.
By ANDREW FANASIA