Premier’s move raises stand-off level over diplomatic change
MALAITA Premier Daniel Suidani has raised the stand-off with the National Government over diplomatic change to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to a new international level.
Mr. Suidani who was initially seeking medical attention in Australia is now in Taiwan’s capital, Taipei, his former political advisor revealed last night.
There are suspicions that the United States and Australia are behind the Premier’s travel to Taiwan to seek medical assistance, which could be easily done in Australia.
Premier Suidani’s arrival in Taipei is a month to the day when this paper published a story suggesting that the Premier’s former political advisor was reportedly visiting Taiwan.
The story which appeared on the front page on April 30 was vehemently denied. Now newshounds are saying, “so the prediction in your story on the trip to Taiwan was correct after all.”
In his posting on the Malaita Development Forum last night, former advisor Celsius Talifilu said:
“ … Premier Daniel Suidani, his family, and the MARA Malaita Provincial Government would like to sincerely thank Taiwan for its kindness in extending its humanitarian assistance to the Premier to undergo an urgent Head CT/MRI scan diagnosis and treatment in Taiwan.
“He is fighting for his life. He sincerely thanks Taiwan for making it possible for him to seek medical treatment in one of the most advance(d) medical places in the world, former advisor Celsius Talifilu said in a posting on the Malaita Development Forum.
“Suidani has been ill for the last 5 months with a provisional diagnosis pointing to a probable brain space-occupying lesion. Medical doctors in Honiara referred Suidani for an urgent Head CT/MRI scan diagnosis and treatment overseas. His case was referred to the Overseas Referral Committee of the National Referral Hospital in Solomon Islands on 5 March 2021 for assistance. But since then, there was no response from the Committee,” he said.
It is unclear why “an urgent Head CT/MRI scan diagnosis and treatment” could not be done in Australia. Many speculate that this could be due to lack of finances, which triggered an international fund-raising drive online.
According to an online introduction to the fundraiser, “Premier Suidani has been a principled, accountable leader to the indigenous peoples of Malaita and Malaita Outer Islands.”
The online fundraiser is organised by a Keith Sanga and two others, the introduction said.
“Since attaining Premiership in 2019, Suidani has championed the protection of the remaining rainforests of Malaita and the restoration of indigenous dignity and guardianship in the face of opposition and corruption.
“Now he faces a serious medical condition and is seeking the help of like-minded friends for the cost of his medical treatment in Australia. He has not sought official support from the Solomon government as he recognises that Solomon government is in dire financial straits.
“He also does not wish to politicize the matter of his health, so his medical fundraising committee is seeking your support through this fundraising appeal,” the introduction said.
“ALL FUNDS WILL GO TO PAYING HIS MEDICAL BILL IN AUSTRALIA.”
The online fundraising appeal has so far raised AUD12, 300 by anonymous donors, including one who donated $10, 000.
Keith Sanga and 2 others are organizing this fundraiser.
It is understood a logging company on Malaita also donated SBD50, 000 towards the trip to Australia.
“In an effort to do private fundraising to support Premier Suidani’s medical case many good-hearted Malaitans and friends have given financial support to help the Premier get overseas medical treatment as soon as possible. A GoFundMe account was also created online in mid-February to reach out to friends and supporters overseas,” Mr. Talifilu said.
“Through the GoFundMe online platform, overseas supporters and friends who share the same democratic values and principles that Premier Suidani fiercely defend were able to help. Premier Suidani and his family would like to sincerely thank those who have supported the course [cause] to ensure he gets medical treatment and those who have spread the information around.
“Through this concerted effort of these friends reaching out to Taiwan, it made it possible for Taiwan to support the diagnosis and treatment.”
A government spokesman said last night the government had “actually approved Premier Suidani’s application seeking overseas medical treatment.”
“It was the Premier’s Office that decided against accepting the support, including financial support. We have the paperwork here, including letters to this effect,” the spokesman said.
By ALFRED SASAKO