23 Jun 2003

Solomons lawyer calls for wide consultation about constitutional changes

10:23 am on 23 June 2003

Prominent Solomon Islands lawyer, Andrew Nori, says there needs to be wide public consultation before any changes are made to the constitution.

The Government is planning to present legislation for a federal system later this year after several of the nine provinces had threatened to declare independence.

The provinces were angry at the way the Honiara administration failed to meet funding commitments to them, particularly during the civil unrest on Guadalcanal.

Mr Nori, a former spokesman for the Malaitan militants, the Eagle Force, says there has been debate in political circles, but more focussed discussion is needed.

"Whatever changes we effect on the constitution [must] work to the betterment of Solomon islanders. They should not be based on political hatred or ethnic rivalry. The constitution is the only unifying factor about Solomon Islands. Any changes to it should be based purely on what Solomon Islanders can benefit from."

Andrew Nori says the Bar Association is holding a seminar on the proposed law changes today.