21 Dec 2004

Malaita says independence needed, but any break from Solomon Island 20 years away

2:27 pm on 21 December 2004

The Premier of the Solomon Island province of Malaita says calls for independence have been triggered by maltreatment of Malaitans.

At the Malaita Leaders' Summit earlier this month, delegates adopted a resolution calling for the province to break away from Solomon Islands.

Ruben Moli says there is a feeling that the national government has not done enough to help Malaita economically.

Mr Moli says the government has been moving to address infrastructure issues in the province but not quickly enough.

He also says Malaitans working in other provinces are looked down upon.

"The kind of treatment that the Malaitans received, these treatments provoked the kind of feeling that maybe Malaitans are not wanted on other islands so maybe the answer is independence."

Mr Moli says more work would need to be done to look into the feasibility of the independence calls and he says it would take at least 20 years before it could be implemented.