Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare said the Democratic Coalition for Change Government is committed to ensuring the proposed United States ‘Bloody Ridge Project’ on Guadalcanal is successfully implemented.
The Bloody Ridge Project proposes the turning of Bloody Ridge into a US Memorial Park. Bloody Ridge is situated between the Honiara International Airport and Tenaru.
The Prime Minister made the remarks yesterday when the United States Army Commander for the Asia-Pacific Region, General Vincent Brooks, paid a courtesy call on him.
“Welcome to Solomon Islands General, one of the issues I would like to mention is the Bloody Ridge Project. This project must be on and ready by the 75th Anniversary of the landing of the Allied Forces on Guadalcanal.
“We will ensure that it is successfully implemented and we will probably require a legislation to avail the land for this project, which will remind us of the price of peace paid by the Allied Forces.
“Furthermore the Bloody Ridge Project after its completion will be a major tourist attraction.”
General Brooks in turn thanked Solomon Islands Government for its help in recovering the remains of the Allied Forces soldiers who fell in Solomon Islands during WWII and preserving the battle sites.
He said the battle sites are war memorials which attribute to the price of peace paid by the Allied Forces.
“Whether it is Iron Bottom Sound, Mount Austen and Bloody Ridge, they all attest to why peace has not come without a cost.”
Prime Minister Sogavare and General Brooks also touched on the significant role played by the United States in ensuring world peace and security and reiterated the commitment of their two countries to this agenda.
Other issues they discussed included the RAMSI drawdown, importance of addressing the recommendations of the Solomon Islands Truth and Reconciliation Process, the admission of West Papua into the Melanesian Spearhead Group as an Observer member, the decision reached by the Pacific Islands Forum leaders in Port Moresby in 2015 to dispatch a fact-finding mission to West Papua to assess the human rights situation there and the recent positive change of approach by the Indonesian Government on the issue of West Papua.
Prime Minister Sogavare and General Brooks acknowledged that these issues have a bearing on the issue of peace and national security and therefore ought to be dealt with strategically.
The end of their meeting, Prime Minister presented a Malaitan shell money neckwear to General Brooks who reciprocated it with a wooden plague bearing his (General Brook’s) name and title.
General Brooks was accompanied by his wife Dr Carol Brooks, the Port Moresby-based US Ambassador to Solomon Islands, His Excellency Walter North and the US Consular Agent in Solomon Islands, Mrs Keithie Saunders.
Apart from the courtesy call on the Prime Minister, General Brooks and his wife participated in a wreath laying ceremony at the Scouts/Coastwatchers Memorial at the Commonwealth Street as well as the US Memorial at Skyline and visited the National Referral Hospital.