After President Momis and his Australian adviser Tony Regan were slammed at Monday’s public meeting for attempting to pass a ‘colonial’ mining bill written in London by Adam Smith International – a bill that will criminalise resistance to mining, and put companies like BCL in the box seat – his public relations officer Anthony Kaybing attempted to resurrect matters by putting out a deceptive press release.
President Momis was widely supported at the meeting, we are wrongly told. And who is the star witness, Cornelius Solomon, a man also known by the name Cornelius Galasa. Presented by Kaybing as the ex-combatant’s spokesperson – he is not – Cornelius is quoted as stating:
“The government has done everything to thoroughly explain to the people the new Bill and how it will greatly regulate the extractive industry on Bougainville. We cannot continue to undermine the government for it is the very thing that we fought and died for, doing so only renders the purpose of our struggle moot, .We are all behind the government and will not resort to creating instability within the region”.
Quite the testimonial for Adam Smith International, and Dr Momis. What Kaybing fails to tell the public is that Cornelius Solomon (aka Cornelius Galasa) was a member of the criminal gang, the Black Sharks, and is a convicted murderer. In 2007 the High Court of the Solomon Islands found Cornelius guilty of murdering Bobby Sae Nare in Gizo. The decision can be read here:
His gang, the Black Sharks, also stands accused of murder and rape by the Solomon Island Truth and Reconciliation Commission [pdf file]
Surely the President’s press office can do better than a convicted murderer and alleged gangster, or is public support for this bill so low that nobody else is left?