Moti’s compensation - Solomon Star News

Moti’s compensation

31 January 2014

Dear Editor – At the outset, it appears that the issue regarding Moti’s compensation has drawn both legal and political overtones.

 I am not privy to Moti’s employment contract with the Solomon Islands Government.

Hence, if he is therefore claiming for dues he is entitled to under that contract, then perhaps that is something the law could help resolve.

Obviously over the years, other Solomon Islanders who have disputed the termination of their employment with the Government have taken action against the State too.

But they did not go to Parliament with a compensation claim. They instead went to court.

Interestingly, we never heard any Prime Minister of the day using Parliament to moot a possible compensation payment to any Solomon Islander whose employment has been terminated by the Public Service Commission.

Moti is not a Solomon Islander. Whilst he deserves to be treated humanely, he should not be given preferential treatment above or at the expense of other Solomon Islanders.

 Regrettably, it appears that the purported injustice he had experienced has become priority concern for our nation’s leaders.

Both Prime Minister Hon Lilo and former PM, Hon Sogavare are barracking for him. Both have reportedly said in essence that Moti was illegally deported to Australia and hence ought to be compensated.

 Meanwhile there are other Solomon Islanders with legitimate claims against the Government too.

Yet it appears the Government may not have the same passion to resolve them in the same way it had for Moti.

 I can understand if Moti is compensated based on his employment contract. After all many Solomon Islands Christians perhaps wouldn’t mind seeing their Government doing the right thing and giving to Caesar whatever belongs to Caesar.

 The issue of Moti’s purported illegal deportation however needs a definitive answer in this jurisdiction if the taxpayers are going to pay for his compensation.

In my opinion it is not for PM Lilo and Hon Sogavare to decide alone.  

 As politicians and leaders of this country, their top priority is to show good leadership by advocating for the rule of law.

Equally important, they ought to show that they are in office to serve our people. As it stands, Moti is not the only person with a claim for compensation from Government.

 There are other Solomon Islanders with legitimate claims against the Government.

It shouldn’t be a surprise to Moti and his supporters if other Solomon Islanders have been venomous towards him. Our people deserve to be treated with respect by their own Government and leaders.

 Many Solomon Islanders may not be well versed with the law.

But when they see and hear their Prime Minister and national leaders opting for an easy solution to try and solve a foreigner’s predicament at their expense, they consider that an insult.

Moti may boast that Hon Sogavare is his “old friend”. And perhaps Hon Sogavare might also think that he is obliged to support his old friend.

But lest Moti forgets, both Hon Sogavare and Hon Lilo are first and foremost leaders of Solomon Islands.

Needless to say, their fundamental duty is to be concerned about and act according to the interests and concerns of Solomon Islanders.

 Recently President Barack Obama defended America’s interest to spy on other countries.

Not long ago PM Tony Abbott defended Australia’s policy to turn back to Indonesia illegal boats carrying asylum seekers.

 If other countries’ leaders could stand up for what they considered were in their countries’ best interests, why can’t PM Lilo and Hon Sogavare show that they too have guts and spines and thus will stand up for what is best for our country?

 My respectful view is for the Government to deal with the Moti compensation within the bounds of law and not politics.

But equally important, in the same manner the Government is keen to sort Moti out, the Government should also promptly and legally sort out those other grievances of other fellow Solomon Islanders.

Our nation Solomon Islands, stands for ever more!

Gary Fa’aitoa
Central Honiara