The Solomon Islands Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal by the Attorney General Chambers against Hon. Peter Kenilorea Jr.
The AG Chambers had appealed a decision by the high court in favour of Hon. Kenilorea regarding the status of his two children as Solomon Islands citizens.
In an exclusive interview with with SBM, an elated Hon. Kenilorea stated that he was pleased with the outcome of the Court of Appeal to dismiss the appeal.
‘I am happy with the Court of Appeal’s decision as it settles this matter of the status of my children as Solomon Islands citizens since their birth once and for all. There was no legal merit in the appeal lodged by the AG Chambers in the first place’.
The appeal by the AG Chambers was for a ruling in the High Court in favour of Hon. Kenilorea who had sought a judicial review of the decision taken by the immigration department, on advice of the AG Chambers, not to issue Solomon Islands passport to his two children who were born in the USA.
The High Court had ordered that Solomon Islands passports be issued to the two Kenilorea children as their father, Hon. Kenilorea, was a Solomon Islands citizen at the time of their birth in the USA, in accordance with the constitution of Solomon Islands.
The High Court had also declared that the two children did not and do not need a visa to enter and reside in Solomon Islands as they were already Solomon Islands citizens.
The Court of Appeal described the appeal by the AG Chambers against the ruling by the High Court as ‘pointless’, and noted that the AG Chambers had conceded during the appeal hearing that their advice to immigration was wrong.
Hon. Kenilorea told SBM that he is aware that there are many other families in similar situations as he had faced.
‘I know that there are many families who are facing similar situations and were affected by the poor advice that have been given to immigration and so I hope that this case settles the issue for them as well’.
He stated that it should be a profound and joyful moment for families in the same situation to also know that their children may already be Solomon Islands citizens regardless of where they are born as long as at least one of their parent was a Solomon Islands citizen at the time of their birth.
‘It is an injustice for the citizens of this nation to have to pay visa for entering and residing in their own country. I am very pleased that the courts have corrected this injustice.’
He further added that, ‘We are an inclusive nation and our citizens, who are born overseas should be accorded the same rights and privileges as those Solomon Islands citizens who are born in the country. Regardless of where we are born, we should be able to contribute to building our nation together’.
The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal with solicitor costs to the respondent, Hon. Kenilorea.