21 Dec 2004

Solomons government turns down offer of new Australian police commissioner

4:20 pm on 21 December 2004

The Solomon Islands government has turned down an Australian offer to provide the new police commissioner.

Australia's Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, made the offer during a visit to Honiara last week.

The contract of Briton Bill Morrell is to expire on December the 31st, but the government has extended his contract by three months to allow the position to be advertised.

The Cabinet considered the Australian offer yesterday but the police minister, Michael Maina, says in a statement that whoever is selected must be a person who can help in rebuilding the Royal Solomon Islands Police.

Mr Maina says they appreciate Australia's offer, but feel that Canberra's candidate should apply through the normal process when the position is publicly advertised locally and overseas.

He also says that Commissioner Morrell, whose position had been funded by the European Union, is eligible to re-apply.