24 May 2006

Solomon Islands government should consult before RAMSI changed says politician

7:53 pm on 24 May 2006

The Solomon Islands Guadalcanal deputy premier, Stephen Panga, says the national government should consult widely before it makes any move to alter the way RAMSI operates.

The prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare, has previously indicated that there will be changes made when the review of RAMSI is undertaken and that the many RAMSI advisers are taking decisions which should be made by Solomon Islanders.

This follows discussions with the Australian Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, who warned against what he calls "cherry picking" and altering parts of RAMSI that don't suit some.

Mr Panga agrees and says the government should be speaking to people in the rural areas and finding out public opinion before it goes ahead with any changes.

"I think the way that RAMSI operates in this country, in Solomon Islands - so far, so good. We want to see that law and order becomes full normalcy to this country and protect the investments within the country."

Mr Panga says, however, that RAMSI, does need to investigate the reasons behind the rioting and to understand the underlying issues.

The annual review, which the national parliament undertakes, is expected to be done by July 23rd.