To'abaita Authority for Research & Development (TARD)

[P.O Box 13, Honiara, Solomon Islands/ Email: Tel:+677 7424025]

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Friday, October 27, 2006

TARD condemns raid against yacht family in North Malaita

North Malaita students who are studying in Fiji, who are also members of the student initiated voluntary group known as the To’abaita Authority for Research and Development (TARD) have strongly condemned the recent barbaric actions against a New Caledonia family yacht at Bita’ama, North Malaita.

According to the students, the recent event is a major drawback to the good work that the North Malaita House of Chiefs, communities, volunteer groups and leaders have been trying to consolidate in a collective effort to restore a good national and international image to that part of Malaita.

“In trying times like this, it is not right to do doing things that can discourage people from visiting our region, but we need to involve ourselves in activities that can attract tourists and donors to come to our villages and witness our culture and urgent development needs. However, the robbery and malicious demands by youths in Bita’ama and Taba’a against that New Caledonia family yacht has set a bad precedence to tourists and outside visitors, which is capable of bringing numerous benefits to our shores.”

“The fact that the woman said they had met the villagers and the chief had agreed for them to stay on the Bita’ama Harbour for the next day, has shown that these criminals are cowards as there actions will only fuel the continuous suffering that a lot of innocent and law-abiding North Malaita people are facing. Such actions will give a bad impression about North Malaita and will only scare away genuine and generous donors and helpers”

“While we acknowledge the fact that outsiders need to seek permission to use our land and sea resources, there are better ways of achieving it rather making confrontational demands and using force.”

Therefore, as the educated human resource base of North Malaita we would like to convey our sincere apology on behalf of the North Malaita House of Chiefs, communities and people to the New Caledonian family for that unfortunate experience. It shows that this is a pressing issue that needs to be addressed promptly through broader community awareness.

The To’abaita Authority for Research and Development volunteer association would therefore call on the Member of Parliament for North Malaita Constituency, provincial assembly members, North Malaita chiefs, communities and the police to address this issue as soon as possible as such attack has given a negative international publicity for not only North Malaita but the Solomon Islands as a whole.

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