LEADER of Opposition Hon Matthew Wale has slammed Australia’s decision to supply guns to Solomon Islands describing it as ‘very disturbing’.
Hon Wale made the statement following the handing over of 60 Daniel’s Defense MKN type rifles to the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force at a ceremony at the Rove Police Headquarters today.
The Opposition Leader questioned why our police force needed the high-powered guns.
Hon Wale said Solomon Islands has a dark history with guns and with recent events involving the public demonstrating their frustration against the government, one can easily speculate that the guns are to be used against our own citizens.
He said if this is the case then it is very worrying.
“Obviously we do not have external threats so why the introduction of these high-powered guns? Or are we on the pathway of being militarised again? If it is none of the two matters raised above then we are arming ourselves against our own citizens,” Hon Wale said.
Hon Wale also questioned whether the supply of guns is a request from the national government or a gift from Australia.
The Opposition Leader said he is worried that the concerns he has raised in the past on geopolitics and Solomon Islands becoming the play ground where big powers play are slowly unfolding before our eyes.
He said Australia’s anxiety is obvious and it is pushing them to counter China’s ‘gun diplomacy’ in Solomon Islands.
“It is clear Australia is anxious that if they do not supply guns then China will. Geopolitical interests has surpassed national interest in this country and it is a sad state of affairs,” he said.
The Opposition Leader said the guns might be put to good use at protecting the Shortlands border but not in Honiara.
Hon Wale during his visit to Shortlands in 2020 raised the need for high-powered weapons capability at the border to man illegal activities at our international border in Shortlands.
However, Hon Wale said guns should never be the answer to our domestic security, social and economical problems in this country.
“The root causes of these problems lie in the lack of sound economic policies which guns cannot solve,” he said.