27 Apr 2005

Solomons provincial premier dismisses secession call

4:10 pm on 27 April 2005

The Solomon Island's Premier of the Western Province has dismissed calls from the former Finance Minister Francis Zama for the region to pursue independence from the rest of the country.

Clement Base says there's little support in the province for South New Georgia MP's views and the proposed Federal State system of government is the way forward.

Mr Zama was sacked from the Finance Minister's portfolio soon after criticising the Regional Assistance Mission's presence in the country.

He has since been charged with official corruption and making a false statement without an oath.

He claims that autonomy is the only option if the province wants to prosper, but Mr Base says independence is not a short term option.

"We totally disagree with with independence, we'd rather go for a transitional sort of a government which will lead to independence, but that is not the aim of the Western Province to go into a total secession at this point in time."

Mr Base says decentralising government will see huge benefits to the province.