LEADER of Opposition Hon Matthew Wale has discredited the reasons given for the Prime Minister’s absence during the commemoration of the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Guadalcanal (G80).
He said the reasons given that the visiting delegations from US, Australia, New Zealand and Japan were represented at the Ministers, and senior officials levels and therefore did not require the Prime Minister’s presence at any of the commemoration events is an ‘insult’ to our friends.
Hon Wale said as hosts, the Prime Minister should be honoured and humbled to lead the delegation here.
The Opposition Leader said the G80 is a historical event not only for our visiting friends but also because of its significant history attached to our people.
“We owe great debt to those that liberated this country and our own local brave men and women that risked their lives during the WWII pacific campaign,” Hon Wale said.
“It is not about the level of representation, it is about humility, humanity and respect.”
The Opposition Leader said the explanation by the Foreign Ministry in the Island Sun newspaper this morning was a disgrace.
“The Foreign Affairs PS or any official that has ill advised the Prime Minister not to attend the commemoration should be removed,” he said.
The Opposition Leader said he is concerned that there is currently an imbalance in how we treat some of our friends compared to others.
“We see the Prime Minister and his senior ministers posing for photos during vehicle handovers and at mere ground breakings with shovels in hand and yet we chose not to show up at such significant occasion even though the Prime Minister and his senior ministers were invited to partake,” Hon Wale said.
Hon. Wale stated that he was deeply disappointed that the SIG also cancelled a welcome reception in honour of our friends.
He said this is a diplomatic embarrassment.
“I am embarrassed that the government did not even host a simple welcome reception for our friends. Even in the cultural context, it is unthinkable to not even welcome our important visitors who were visiting to mark the anniversary of a global event that changed the cause of world history”, he said.
Hon Wale said such attitude and action speaks a lot about the Government’s policy ‘Friends to all, enemies to none’.