AN investigation into the ‘unruly behaviour’ of Solomon Islands students studying at the University of the South Pacific (USP), Laucala Campus in Fiji has proven that students misbehaved but lack evidence to prove any involvement in the ‘allege sex’ blame.
The joint investigation was conducted by the Solomon Islands Student Association (SISA) in alliance with the Solomon Islands Education Attaché in Fiji, last week.
In recent weeks, the issue has come under limelight with heated debate both on social media and in print media after it was exposed by the former RAMSI Assistant Special Coordinator, Mataiasi Lomaloma who served in the mission for 12 years in Solomon Islands.
Following the revelation, it prompted the student body (SISA) to launch an inquiry into the matter to ascertain facts surrounding the allegations – ‘unruly behaviour’ levelled against Solomon Islands scholars.
According to SISA investigation findings, it proven that the issue of partying, loud noise, music and using of abusive words are true but denied any knowledge of involvement in the ‘allege sex’ as claimed by Mr Lomaloma.
SISA says, in the process of the joint investigation through the Solomon Island High Commissioner to the Republic of Fiji, Patteson Oti, they had met with Mr Lomaloma on August 14th, 2pm at the SI High Commission office in Suva and get his (Lomaloma) side of the story.
“We interviewed 11 students residing at the actual residence (Barret) on August 15th & 16th at the SISA office.
“We also meet with the Vanuatu Education Attaché in Fiji on August 16th at his office and had conversation over the matter,” it adds.
SISA says during the meeting Mr Lomaloma, raised concern over the ‘unruly behaviour’ of SI students which often ensued during weekends.
Mr Lomaloma recalled a ‘bottle throwing’ incident which occurred on July 7th where Solomon Islands students (boys) threw bottle (s) at some Fijian boys and on the next day (8th July) a brawl was broke out along the road also between SI students and Fijians over using of foul language (swearing) from SI students.
“On July 9th Mr Lomaloma pointed out two incidents. One instance was the case of a SI student who use bad language (swear) and say he is a lawyer and even goes on to the extent of mentioning his people are the one who killed Mr Bell. The other incident involved an ‘allege sex’. He said that on the early morning of July 9th, he saw a boy and girl involve in a sexual act as he could see it from his balcony. Mr Lomaloma said he never mention they are from Solomon Islands or Vanuatu because the girl only speak English the whole time,” the SISA investigation report states.
SISA says from the findings, they have established that partying (fundraising activity), loud noise, music and using of abusive words are true but not to the extent of the immoral act (allege sex).
“There is a mixer of report connected to this matter and there is no concrete evidence to prove the involvement of Solomon Islands students into the ‘allege sex’ claim since the actual residence was shared between Solomon Islands and Vanuatu students.”
SISA confirms that the ‘bottle throwing’ incident that happened on July 7th was true adding the SI students launched (throw) a bottle at the Fijians because they intruded (trespass) into their residence compound/area and attempted to rob two SI students.
“With regards to the fighting incident over swearing as reported to have happened on 8th July was in fact happened on July 22nd on Saturday evening. That incident occurred because it was instigated by two boys from Fiji and that was already settled on July 23rd with the Fiji Police.”
SISA says, it will not tolerate any more such behaviour adding they will deal with the matter at hand and resolve to take tough measures on students if they continue with such ‘unruly behaviour’.
“We now ban fundraising activities at the particular place (Barret) and advise those students occupying the home to look for other residences.
“SISA also wish to clarify that not all Solomon Islands students studying in Fiji have the (involved in) ‘unruly behaviour’.
“Majority are good aspiring students who are doing their utmost best in Fiji to complete their studies and return to serve the country,” SISA says.
The way in which SBM Online and social media and other media outlets alluded that all Solomon Islands studying in Fiji are involving in the issue are misleading and simply not true.
“SISA while appreciate the intention of Mr Lomaloma to address the issue by raising it through to the Media, regretted that he should have raise it in a more diplomatic way or referred his concerns through the rightful channels.
“As a respectable person serving RAMSI for 12 years in the Solomon Islands, he should have consider raising issues by approaching the Solomon Islands High Commissioner in Fiji and our Education Attaché or come see us SISA to ensure we address such issues politely,” SISA emphasises.
Meanwhile, SISA says a reconciliation ceremony has been planned and will be held between the Fiji Community at Baret, High Commission, Lomaloma family and SISA to settle the issue once and for all.
Date for the reconciliation ritual is yet to be set.
SISA also urges local journalists in the country (Solomon Islands) to verify facts for their stories before putting it out for public consumption – like on the social media, online websites and in the print media.
“Local journalists should always uphold the fundamental principles of good journalism and that is to report with fairness and balance view not just for the purpose of disseminating information to meet the deadline or breaking news.”
No disciplinary action is yet taken by SISA on the students concern.