The Solomon Islands government intends to change the country’s Coat of Arms, to ensure it reflects cultural sensitivity, national consciousness, peace and unity.
National Traditional Governance Advisor to the Ministry of National Unity, Reconciliation and Peace, Peter Boyers explained.
Mr Boyers told SIBC, the proposed change was a government policy since 2015.
“It was based upon a consultation with six provinces back in 2014 to get the discussion and one of these was that the Coat of Arms and how it reflects ourselves as Solomon Islanders and our identity and how we see ourselves in this Coat of Arms .
“So it was generally agreed that the Government should take this up as a policy initiative to review it so that’s why it’s in the Ministry’s policy doc to review it, the purpose of maybe changing it to reflect cultural sensitivity and national consciousness.”
He said the objective of this policy is to get the people’s view on whether the current Coat of Arms represents a peaceful Solomon Islands.
“The objectives of this is to make people aware, are they happy with the Coat or Arms that we adopted or we accept at independence and does it have a meaning in our life, knowing that this is the coat of arms that sits above the Speaker of Parliament? It’s on our money, it’s on our letterheads, and it represents who we are.
“It’s a dominating symbolism that has a impact on our sub-conscious which indirectly determines how we think. The objective is to see whether this is a fitting Coat of Arms that represents a peaceful Solomon Islands.”
A civic awareness will be conducted to get people’s views on the proposed change to the country’s Coat of Arms.
Mr Boyers said despite the work being delayed over the years due to policy prioritization, they will pursue it further.
“It’s being delayed somewhat over the years because of the prioritization of the other main policy that we’re working on, but it doesn’t stop us from following through in ensuring that we’re starting a process of civic awareness to see whether people of our country do want to see a change if the shield in the front represents four regions, our flag’s got five stars representing five regions.
“We’ve got nine provinces, so how do we reflect our identity now in the process, knowing that we’ve come out of an ethnic tension and are we going to have a new beginning and how do we see that new beginning?”
Disappointed with the delay, Mr Boyers said tangible concepts of the work will be evident within a year.
“I’m disappointed that it’s being delayed for so long and that’s probably why I was sent in there a year and a half ago to advise the Ministry on how to go about doing this,” he said. “It’s a difficult one and i think there’s a lot process and procedures but I believe that the civic awareness will start after July and it will go through into the next government.
“It’s a social issue, so I believe that within a year or so you’ll be seeing some tangible manifestations on concepts of our Coat of Arms reflecting ourselves.”
By: Rickson Bau