20 Aug 2004

Solomons police minister says government looking at inmates' petition

3:39 pm on 20 August 2004

The Solomon Islands police minister says last week's prison riot had nothing to do with the jail conditions.

More than a hundred inmates were involved in the one-day incident which was not brought under control until after the prisoners caused almost 300-thousand US dollars in damages,

The minister, Michael Maina, says the unrest related to demands for reconciliation and amnesty provisions.

Mr Maina received a petition and says he cannot rule out that the inmates will submit another petition.

"It's now before the government and the government has sought some legal advice as to possibly how to respond to some of the demands that have been put forward by the inmates."

Michael Maina

The Police Commissioner, Bill Morrell, has given assurances that the Rove Central Prison is secure.

He says police are prepared for early intervention if required...

There is an absolute determination by the police authorities and the prison service that the prisoners within Rove are going to be contained within Rove so people can rest assured that they are safe and the prisoners are not going to escape from Rove. And the sooner that they understand that and start complying, some of those individuals who feel that they can start determining their behaviour in prisons, the sooner they realise that, the better.


Mr Morrell also admits the lack of training and experience by prison guards allowed the situation to get out of hand.

However he says under the RAMSI restructure of the prison system, training will be provided for the guards.