Wednesday, January 12, 2011

...Kelvyn Alp side-kick(s) enters the scene

The debate with Kelvyn Alp in the media is getting very interesting indeed, at least for me.

Since his first letter and my (and others')  responses to him a strings of letter from non-Solomon Islanders have come to his support. The first was Mr. Nick Reese who wrote a brief vague letter to Solomon Star.

Just this afternoon another was posted, written by one Mr. Michael Baker who identified himself as being from Queensland, Australia.

At last the debate has gone almost full circle. :) ... Below are the articles written by both men and my replies to them.

Letter from Mr. Nick Reese, 10 January 2010, Solomon Star Letters to the Editor.

What were you talking about?

Dear Editor - In reference to Kelvyn Alp's letter of the 8th of January. Mr Alp may know what he is talking about, the problem seems to be that no one else has a clue about what he is talking about! It's good to see that some things never change.

Nick Reese

My reply: 

What are you talking about- Reply to Reese!

Dear Editor,

Just wanted to make a brief reply to Mr. Nick Reese, who commented as follows under the above subject: “Mr Alp may know what he is talking about, the problem seems to be that no one else has a clue about what he is talking about!”  He added: “It's good to see that some things never change”.

The crux of the matter, Mr. Reese, is that nobody gives a damn about what Mr. Alp is talking about because it does not serve any good for the country and the people of Solomon Islands. 

As a citizen of New Zealand Mr. Alp can pursue the matter further at his own will. 

Also, Mr. Reese why should you be so surprised if “no one else has a clue about what [Mr. Alp] is talking about”? What he is talking about primarily concerns Australian and New Zealand and so as a New Zealander it is of no surprise that Mr. Alp knows about the issue in detail. 

Why would you expect Solomon Islanders to be well versed with the history of New Zealand and Australia? 
There is no need for that! 

On the other hand, let me ask you this Mr. Reese, how many New Zealanders and Australians know about the history of Solomon Islands, albeit a young and less complex one comparably? 

I can tell you that RAMSI has helped a lot in raising the awareness about Solomon Islands in the region. But generally, apart from academics and people who have direct interests on Solomon Islands because of its people and resources, the answer is that people barely know about the Solomons.

 I was talking to a Kiwi friend in Wellington some time back and he asked me where I am from. I told him: “Solomons”- in my understanding that is how most people in Aussie and New Zealand refer to Solomon Islands. He turned to me with a confused look on his face and said: “Solomons is also part of New Zealand, ey bro?” 

And this guy is not an uneducated street kid. He is an average middle class-aspiring young kiwi bloke. 

So, Mr. Reese, don’t be too surprised if nobody has a clue about what Mr. Alp is talking about because: firstly, it does not hold any good for Solomon Islands and its people; secondly, why should we know about it – we don’t care if we don’t know because it’s not our history; and lastly perhaps because most of it is just fabrication of distorted facts!

Yours truly,

Mr. Michael Baker's letter to Solomon Star Letters to the Editor, 12 January 2010. 

Judging Alp

Dear Editor - Congratulations on running a paper with robust debate. I think Derrick Manuari protested too much.  

His personal attacks on Kelvyn Alp has caught my attention.  

Mr Alp is a business man who has invested in Derrick’s country. 

It is plain Kelvyn has done his homework and will be vindicated.

Derrick appears to be concerned about Solomon Islands future. 

He mentions widespread illiteracy!  His letters to the Editor are testament to his absence from this unfortunate affliction.

Mr Alp can see Australian influence in the Solomons and obviously and rightly so would expect the Australians to get their own house in order before using the Solomons as a launching pad for a world stage.

The picture described by Mr Alp is a depressingly accurate one.

Australia is not a British Colony but is run as one.

Would Derrick Manuari like his beloved Solomon Island West Makira to be an Australian Colony?

Below is a self explanatory document which disgusts us all! Now Solomon Islanders will understand why Mr Kelvyn Alp is interested in expressing the truth about those with influance.

To Derrick I say, do not judge people too harshly.

To Kelvyn I say, keep up the good work.

Michael Baker
Queensland, Australia

My reply:

Accept the REALITY, Mr. Baker!

Dear Editor, 

Please allow me to reply to one Mr. Michael Baker, from Queensland, Australia who had written a letter to you in support of Mr. Alp’s views.

I do not wish to waste too much of my time and effort in trying to reply to his extraneous perception because obviously he is  too  detached from the realities of what Solomon Islands is today to have a complete grasp of the circumstances in question. 

And because of that he has greatly missed the points of my letters to you on this subject.
First of all I must clarify that this is not a personalized issue and that nobody is making any personalized attacks on anyone.

Mr. Baker also accused me of protesting too much; but how much is too much? Mr. Baker, have you ever had the time to read all the lengthy and patronizing letters Mr. Alp had written to the media regarding issues in Solomons? Most of his ideas were unconventional and does not hold water and pragmatism to the current realities of Solomon Islands. 

Mr. Alp’s investment in Solomon Islands, my beloved country, is a non-issue in all these Mr. Baker. Nobody is making any fuss about that. Indeed we are very grateful of his commitment and desire to come and invest in our economy. 

But the real issue here that Mr. Michael Baker of Queensland has greatly missed is that whatever the truth may be, the reality is that it does not serve any good for Solomon Islands at this point in our history and even in the future. 

Instead it may serve all well for the intentions of anti-RAMSI and anti- Labour critics and advocates, including socialists; for us Solomon Islanders it serves us no good. Not even a slight of it. 

How would illegitimating Australia and New Zealand help in improving our level of literacy, economic growth, and most importantly in helping to reconstruct and rebuild our lives and economy after many years of social disintegration, political and economic distress?  

There is no way this would help. It will only worsen things for us Solomon Islanders!

The arguments surrounding Solomon Islands being the launching ground for Australia are well known. But I believe there are avenues that such discussions can be better addressed, not by stirring uneasiness, confusion and sense of insecurity in society. 

I also understand, Mr. Baker that this argument is a typical anti- RAMSI sentiment being argued by critics of the current Gillard-led Labour Government in the domestic political debate in Australia pertaining to RAMSI.

On that I must tell you that it is a better political leverage in Australian domestic politics than it is in the context of Solomon Islands, at least for now when our country’s priorities are still focused and limited to state-building, reconstruction and peace-building. 

So I think it is best that instead of trying to brain-wash Solomon Islanders, let us Solomon Islanders decide on what is best for us and our priorities. 

As a Solomon Islander I do not have to remind myself that the current socio- economic and political context of my country is such that prioritizing of our pressing issues is most important. 

Off course there are elements of truth in what you are saying regarding the Australian – led intervention. But, is trying to de-stabilize its many achievements what Solomon Islanders want? The answer is a big fat NO!

It is rather obvious that Mr. Baker is anti-RAMSI. Again, one thing Mr. Baker has forgotten is that numerous studies that have been undertaken have shown that a good majority of Solomon Islanders still want the presence of RAMSI in Solomon Islands and that they are better off now than they were few years ago prior to RAMSI’s arrival. 

The recent of such studies was the Foreign Relations Committee Review of RAMSI undertaken by Parliament. 

Dubbed as “the People’s Voice” by many of our politicians in that its coverage included all the provinces of the country and the perspective of all sectors of the society, the Report also reached similar conclusions: that while changes should be undertaken to its current scope and focus, RAMSI is still needed in Solomon Islands and that the partnership between SIG and RAMSI must address the root causes of the recent conflict. 

These are the ‘killer facts’ that the likes of Mr. Baker must learn to live with at the moment. 

As a Solomon Islander I have endured challenges that had it not been for RAMSI we would still be worse off. Had Mr. Baker experienced these hardships himself he would understand why we are so appreciative of the current progress our country has gone through because of RAMSI. 

So my advice to you Mr. Baker is this: Do not try to domesticate your argument to suit the context of Solomon Islands because, at this point in the journey of Solomon Islands as a country, that angle of arguing is not in the best interest of Solomon Islanders, at least for us rural Solomon Islanders. 

In short, it simply just doesn’t count.

Yours truly  

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