OPPOSITION MP Hon Peter Kenilorea says the Government needs to tell the truth to ex-combatants that they cannot deliver on their promises.
Speaking in Parliament recently on the TRC Report Debate this week, Hon Kenilorea said certain former combatants who were his relatives approached him to discuss their grievances.
“I told them straight that there is no money. There is nothing. It is a harsh thing to say and to tell them but it has been a long time coming,” he said.
Hon Kenilorea said former combatants also asked if there were any arrangements with UN and if there was money there.
“I told them not even a cent. Their mouths dropped. For me, it feels like the first time they are hearing the truth. These people have been led on and told to come back tomorrow, come back next month,” he said.
The East Are’Are MP said these people need to be told the truth because they deserve it.
“They are human beings, they have gone through hard times, they feel that they have made a contribution to this nation. That is what many of them feel. When you read the Truth and Reconciliation Report you will see why. Providing security for Honiara and helped out by business houses. I read it here. They were feeling legitimized,” he said.
But sometimes you should respect them enough to tell them the truth that you cannot deliver on whatever we have been promising, Hon Kenilorea said.
“It is tough to swallow, but I think they deserve the respect of being told the truth,” he said.
The Opposition MP said it is unfortunate that since 20 years ago, issues of former combatants are still making headlines.
He said this newer generation would be confused because they were born with no idea of what had happened.
“Perhaps, it means that their interests have not yet been looked at seriously. The recommendation is quite clear; education, business, funds and projects, counseling, and reconciliation. These are the specific heads under which rehabilitation of former militants were listed for focus in the report itself,” he said.
But Hon Kenilorea said for an ordinary Solomon Islander it will get to a point where the population will get tired of hearing the same headlines, when all they want to do is to get the next meal, when all they want to do is to try and get the money from the markets to get their child to school, educate their children.
“But to read and hearing headlines like millions will be given. Is that really the policy of this government?” he questioned.
The East Are’Are MP said that is a policy choice that this government will have to make, or it seems to be making, and that is a choice that they will have to live with.
“Whether it goes well or not, the consequences of this, and I am not speaking just about the former militants, I am speaking about just ordinary Solomon Islanders who have nothing to do. The 70% of the population. It comes back to my point that what we do to address the past, we have to look at how it impacts the future,” he said.