Solomons Opposition calls for reinstatement of top doctor

6:27 pm on 9 April 2020

The Leader of the Opposition in Solomon Islands has called for the reinstatement of a top doctor sacked yesterday for criticising government action under the Covid-19 State of Public Emergency.

Matthew Wale the MP for Aoke Langa Langa, who is one of the two candidates contesting the prime ministerial election in Solomon Islands on Wednesday 24 April.

Matthew Wale Photo: Island Sun/Charles Kadamana

In a statement, Matthew Wale said the decision was ill-considered and based on bad judgement.

"Solomon Islands needs all the qualified professionals it has in the country to be harnessed to the fight against Covid-19," Mr Wale said.

Claude Posala was the head of the Department of Ophthalmology at the regional eye centre in Honiara. He was also the president of the Solomon Islands Medical Association.

The termination letter from the Ministry of Public Service said Dr Posala had been critical of government action on Facebook, and claimed he posted false information and internal government documents online.

In criticising the sacking, Matthew Wale, said frontline professionals, and especially the president of the medical association, should be free to speak on the country's level of preparedness.

"So we know what issues they are facing and must be addressed. To ban their free speech may result in lives lost, if the virus gets here," Mr Wale said.

He called on the Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, to immediately reinstate Dr Posala, and to review Regulation 26 of the State of Public Emergency orders so that senior health officials were exempt from the media gag.

Dr Claude Posala, the head of opthamology at Honiara's eye centre

Dr Claude Posala, the head of opthamology at Honiara's eye centre Photo: Fred Hollows Foundation