IN a few days, the national government will stage the week-long National Healing and Apology programme in Honiara.
The event will run from July 1 to 7.
The government expects the programme will bring to an end the sad chapter of the ethnic tension, and open a new page for the country to move forward.
This is a noble intention and one that must be appreciated.
Already, some critics, especially on social media, have described the event as a waste of public funds.
They may be right.
A number of reconciliation ceremonies have not been conducted in the past and involved the exchanges of traditional gifts and money.
But they did not achieve their purpose because those involved failed to respect and honour the events.
This is why people are sceptical.
However, let’s give the upcoming one a chance.
We’ve learned from the ethnic tension that hostility and hatred take us to nowhere.
They only brought us down and further delayed our progress as a nation.
The government has allocated $6 million to bring parties from Western, Malaita, and Guadalcanal to the event.
The success of the upcoming event lies with every Solomon Islander.
If we want our nation to move forward, we have to accept that fact that the ethnic tension had happened, forgive each other, and move on.
That forgiveness however, cannot be purchased.
It has to come from the heart.
So let’s hope the National Healing and Apology programme will open a new page for the country to stride in its development endeavours.
Let’s also hope that this event will see the closure of the Ministry of National Unity, Reconciliation, and Peace soon after.
This particular ministry was not part of the government set up.
It was created specifically in the early 2000 to spearhead peace and reconciliation efforts at that time.
It costs tax payers millions of dollars each year to maintain this ministry.
With the upcoming national reconciliation ceremony hoping to end all that’s associated with the ethnic tension, the ministry should be dismantled as part of cost cutting measures.
Any further peace and reconciliation initiatives could be spearheaded by the Ministry of Home Affairs.