6 Aug 2003

Solomons PM defends gun amnesty violation talks

10:26 am on 6 August 2003

The Solomon Islands prime minister has defended telling militants last year to hold onto guns, saying he was trying to initiate negotiations for a mass surrender of weapons.

This comes after recent statements by opposition MPs that he should stand down in light of allegations made by ex-militants.

Sir Allen Kemakeza says it is not a time to play politics, but the leader of the Independent MPs in the Opposition, Gordon Darcy Lilo, says the Prime Minister has compromised his office and should go.

He says when the amnesty ended last year, the law and order situation in Solomon deteriorated and Sir Allen is to blame.

Sir Allen's Cabinet is also known to include at least one person involved in a public extortion and Mr Lilo says all ministers should resign if they have failed to set a good example.

"Setting the ethics, the higher standard, the dignity and the respect that the people can look to, the position of leadership now if these people can have some principle and see and assess, they have actually compromised their position of leadership, then they should step down they should step out of those public offices."