Call to scrap MSG

HONIARA – An opposition MP in the Solomon Islands says the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) has lost its way and needs to be dismantled.

Solomon Islands Democratic Party MP Matthew Wale’s comments came after a war of words erupted between the leaders of Fiji and Solomon Islands over Indonesia’s admission as an associate member to the sub-regional group in 2015.

Solomon Islands Deputy Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare accused Fiji of pressuring other Melanesian countries into accepting Indonesia, but Fiji’s Defence Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola denied the allegations.

Mr Wale said Indonesia’s presence in the MSG has had a chilling effect on Melanesian leaders’ ability to speak out about human rights abuses and calls for self-determination in West Papua.

“The MSG has worked itself into a bad joke. A really seriously bad joke,” Mr Wale said.

“I advocate for the dismantling of the MSG and then a reconstituting of something new in its place that will truly advocate for decolonisation and much better treatment of Melanesians that are oppressed, that are living under conditions that are not at all humane.”

Mr Wale, who is also the chairperson of the Bills and Legislation committee in the Solomon Islands’ parliament, said MSG leaders should either kick Indonesia out or dismantle the sub-regional group.

“Indonesia is not Melanesian, Indonesia does not have Melanesian interests at its heart and Indonesia is the oppressor of Melanesians in the regions of West Papua Iran Jaya they used to call it.

“And so it was a terrible mistake for Indonesia to be admitted as an associate member of the MSG.”