BY TAVAKE SIMON HANA’AROA
FORMER Isatambu Freedom Movement (IFM) Commander Joseph Sangu who is now a peace maker urged the 600 plus participants to the peace restoration ceremony that was held at Sughu Village in South Guadalcanal on Sunday 5th July ‘to forgive but never forget the past’.
Mr Sangu who is the President of the Guadalcanal Province Reconciliation Rehabilitation Restoration Committee (GPRRRC) had referred to the horrific days that traumatized the whole of east and south Guadalcanal coasts after the signing of the Townsville Peace Agreement (TPA) in year 2000.
Though there are people that might not agree with his statement, the GPRRRC President said that’s their right.
“Some people might disagree with the statement though, I understand that’s their prerogatives.
“What I simply mean is that we must remember the past as a lesson so that we must never repeat it in the future,” Mr Sangu explained.
Although the peace restoration program had seen as a success for the parties involved, others have somewhat criticized it for its long overdue, more than 20 years ago.
On that note, Mr Sangu explained and made it clear that it was never a wrong time for justice or peace.
“It too wish that peace can be easily achievable so we can move on with our normal lives.
“As someone who is committed in achieving peace after my dark past, I have to be honest that true peace takes time to fully be achieved because one cannot force it to someone because people deal with things differently, in this case, forgiveness,” he explained.
He continued; “some easily forgive, but for others, it takes time.
“This is what I learned as a peacemaker throughout my involvement with the now defunct Ministry of National Unity Reconciliation and Peace (MNURP) and other NGOs over the years,” the GPRRRC told the huge crowd.
According to the former rebel, peace had already returned in Sughu Village, Talise and Vatukulau wards few years ago through the Solovisu (Called Back) Programs under the UNDP, SIG, and other stakeholders since 2014.
Last Sunday’s restoration peace program was to continue reminding people that peace must permanently exist.
With his “never forget the past” statement, Mr Sangu also appealed to all the people to remember other peace restoration event.
“I kindly appeal to everybody who are here today to remember all the past peace events including this one because such space provides that collective healing processes we desire to have.
“Remember that peace is fragile, but we have the responsibility to perpetuate it through our actions and how we live,” he said.
Mr Sangu therefore thanked all the participants who attended the peace restoration ceremony.
The event was also attended by Correctional Service Solomon Islands (CSSI) Commissioner Gabriel Manelusi, the Deputy Police Commissioner, Ms. Evelyn Thugea, Guadalcanal PPC, Mr Ishmael Vunagi, the Guadalcanal Provincial Government Executive members, the Guadalcanal Speaker, Peter Aoraunisaka, Hon. Minister Mr. Bradley Tovosia and Rt. Hon. Ezekiel Alebua.