Bishop Terry hits back
Know the facts before you reconcile
TRUE reconciliation can only happen when people know the facts of the issue, an Anglican bishop says.
Bishop Terry Brown was responding to accusations Guadalcanal premier Stephen Panga levelled at him over his decision to release the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report.
Mr Panga accused Bishop Terry of acting illegally, adding the report should be released after reconciliation is held between Malaita and Guadalcanal.
But Bishop Terry said via email:
“It would be even worse to do reconciliation first and have all the facts come out later. That would reopen wounds and destroy the reconciliation that has taken place
“As the TRC Report was the one mandated document to provide the facts (the truth), the sooner it is in the public forum, the better.
“I have great respect for Stephen Panga and I do not want to engage in a public debate with him.
“I don’t quite know what he means by “there [are] issues [that] need to be settled” before the report is released.
“It seems to me that there are so many unknown facts that the TRC Report brings to light, that need to come to light, before true reconciliation is possible between Malaita, Guadalcanal and the national government.”
He added that the Report documents the failure of the “top down” or “high level” reconciliation process.
“A ‘bottom up’ process requires the people to know the facts and the TRC Report provides them.”
A former bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Malaita, Bishop Terry was the editor of the report.
He released the report online from his home country of Canada, where he now lives.
He said on previous occasions, he has requested the Government to release the report through parliament, but that was not done.
Bishop Terry also said he initiated discussion on social media network to get the public to pressure the government to release the report, but that too has not produced any results.
He said he decided to release the report after much prayer and reflection and was prepared to take personal responsibility for his decision.
Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo had held on to the report since February last year, citing sensitivity issues.
While the releasing of the report was unprocedural, most Solomon Islanders welcomed Bishop Terry’s decision, and instead urged the Government to act on the recommendations.
By Elliot Dawea