As one that has never failed to support and help with aid for the people of the Solomon Islands for more than 24 years, first as a policeman and then by way of charity help, I am sickened by the events that have unfolded in Honiara since last Wednesday and witnessed video footage of widespread looting of properties in the east of the city, property damaged, a school burned down, a police station, commercial premises and a bank.
Many people are now short of food, premises closed and security forces on the streets from outside the country aiding the local police force caught up in the wanton violence but unable to have contained the rioting and the consequences.
I am still a policeman at heart and view what has happened through the lens of a security intelligence officer confident enough to say what has occurred yet again much as it did in late 1998 and then continued to 2003, albeit I left the Solomon Islands at the end of my contract in mid-1999, is politically motivated.
For some time I have written about the polarisation in media outlets of the people but, not being my duty or concern any more as an outsider, I would have hoped leaders and politicians, as well as provincial leaders, would have sensed the warning signals of dissention brewing and, in the traditional and Solomon Islands way, got down to some serious talking to circumvent the spill- over evident today.
Such talks must begin as soon as possible now security personnel are on hand to stop further riotous behavior and the criminal acts of looting.
Have we witnessed something short of a people’s revolution in the last few days? I hope the adjective is not correct but I recall the words of the late President J F Kennedy of the United States once saying, ‘When non-violent revolution becomes impossible, then violent revolution becomes inevitable.”
It is something to think about as leaders will hopefully meet and seriously try hard to resolve differences that seem to have prompted so much civil unrest and unlawful conduct.
I feel extremely sorry for the property damage; loss of stock included, and only hope that property insurance will help sufferers of damage and loss recover quickly.
I am particularly concerned, however, for the plight of the innocent school children of the Honiara High School now without premises for their learning.
People need to have closer involvement in the community and respect for their neighbours and their property, but the criminal looting seems to me to suggest there is still some way to go before all feel equal and follow the Christian values I am sure all are aware.
I will not stop supporting the Solomon Islands and its people despite the serious matters I have touched upon but I believe the whole world will have seen what has sadly occurred and will hope, as I do, the need for reconciliation, compromise, equal sharing of development and infrastructure - and an end to corruption which has blighted the Solomon Islands for years.