After three days of riots in Honiara last week which saw street protests turn ugly and which led to rioting, arson, property damage, and reportedly three deaths, the Solomon Islands is now counting the cost and facing food shortages and medicines.
During the uprising, a total of 56 buildings, business premises, a school, a police station, and a bank were destroyed.
An estimate of nearly 1,000 people will have lost their jobs arising from the deadly uprising
Many Chinese individuals and families have lost everything and are also homeless following the widespread looting and burning of shops and properties last week.
A statement from the Solomon Islands Chinese Association (SICA) condemned the unlawful events which had endangered many innocent lives since Wednesday last week.
QUOTING THE STATEMENT, IT READ.
The SICA condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the senseless widespread looting and burning of shops and properties that have endangered the lives of many innocent individuals and families, including the indigenous Solomon Islanders.
Many Chinese individuals and families have lost literally everything and are also homeless,” SICA said.
The association said indigenous Solomon Islanders will also be heavily affected through loss of employment, and lack of timely supplies for their businesses and canteens.
The majority of Solomon Islanders are friendly, caring, easy-going, and peaceful people.
The criminals who loot and burn are but a very small minority of the country’s population,” the statement said.
The association on behalf of the Chinese community thanks to the many peace-loving Solomon Islanders who have offered their support and sympathy during this difficult time.
“The bravery of the RSIPF, PRT, securities, Chinese individuals, and friends of the Chinese community is recognized and acknowledged.
“These organizations and individuals risked their lives to protect other community members and properties from criminals, and SICA will forever be grateful for their help,” the statement said.
The SICA also thanks to the Government for their continuous support in helping to rebuild businesses and support the Solomon Islands’ economy and also the governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea.
The support from the governments of Australia and Papua New Guinea in assisting the RSIPF to stabilize the situation and provide security is deeply appreciated.
The association encourages all Chinese owned and operated businesses to continue operating in an ethical and fair manner; respecting and abiding by the laws of the country.
The SICA and the Chinese community are confident that no matter how difficult or long it will take, they are looking forward to a brighter Solomon Islands.
End of quote.
At the same time, prices in the shops have begun to rise to make life miserable for families as they face rather grim prospects...
The RSIPF are said to have arrested 124 youths for alleged looting.
It has become clear that the rioting and property damage was largely confined to the east of the city and the RSIPF police commissioner has acknowledged communities in the west side of Honiara who came out to support the Police in covering half of our town area from Honiara City Council down to White River.
Commissioner Mangu said, yesterday, “I appreciate the Community Policing Committee (CPC) who created checkpoints in certain parts of the western part of Honiara as far as Kakabona.”
“You displayed great ownership of our town by protecting other parts of it from being destroyed. It shows how we value and respect each other’s property by considering those who have provided daily services to us,”
“Your support was much appreciated and we will always look forward to working together with you. I also acknowledge that your support was voluntary.”
Today, Tuesday, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has announced that the National Government will assist business houses that were destroyed during last week’s unrest in Honiara.
Many business houses in the China Town, Kukum and Ranadi commercial districts suffered from looting and burning during the unrest.
Speaking in Parliament Mr. Sogavare said the Government is already working on a recovery package to assist businesses that suffered last week’s destruction.
“As a responsible government, the government will come up with a recovery package for those who lost their properties during last week’s unrest,” Mr. Sogavare said.
The Prime Minister is already advancing discussions with development partners to explore ways to help in the rebuilding and recovery process.
In addition, Mr. Sogavare also announced that the Government will also beef up the capacity of the Solomon Islands Police Force (SIPF) to withstand future unrests.
Last week’s unrest sunk the economy and further challenged the government’s twin policy objectives to contain and annihilate COVID 19 from community transmission and to sustain the economy.
The ruined businesses are amongst the contributors to the government’s tax revenue. Those businesses’ tax contributions have helped to ensure main services such as health, security and education and utilities are maintained.
“The assistance package that government will put together is like “trying to pull up a sunken economy,” Mr.Sogavare said.
Meanwhile, Mr.Sogavare commended the Opposition Leader and Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee and Members of Parliament for passing the Motion of Supply.
The passage of the motion of supply now empowers the Minister for Finance to authorize the issue of monies from the Consolidated Fund for the purpose of meeting expenditure necessary to carry on public services at a level not exceeding the level of these services in the previous financial year.
The spending will continue until the expiration of four months from the beginning of the financial year 2022 or the coming into operation of the 2022 Appropriation Act 2022.
Last Saturday local contractors volunteers and came out in force to clean the industrial site at Ranadi.
On Sunday, companies, church groups and others also volunteered to start cleaning China Town.
Mr. Sogavare paid tribute to the communities throughout Honiara who stood shoulder to shoulder with the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) to protect Honiara.
“Those were patriotic fellow Solomon Islanders who have had enough of criminal activities.
“The silent majority of our people want a peaceful and stable city and country.
“While the protests and ransacking was prevalent in the past few days, we also saw our people rallying behind the RSIPF to protect properties and lives.
“We had fellow Solomon Islanders working side by side with the RSIPF manning checkpoints and roadblocks.
“I thank them for their courage and commitment,” the Prime Minister said.
He also took the opportunity to thank the RSIPF for their sacrifice, commitment, and courage in the face of insurmountable adversity.
“They could have resorted to using deadly and lethal force but they exercised great restraint, even in the face of clear and present danger to their lives.”
“I thank them for their bravery and courage. You have my highest respect and undying gratitude and that of our people Solomon Islands.”
It has been announced today that 50 Fijian troops are on their way to Honiara where they are expected to join Australian and PNG police and army personnel in a joint peacekeeping force.
Sources.. GCU, Solomon Star News, and Solomon Times Online.