24 Oct 2006

Solomon Islands anti-corruption watchdog says expelling RAMSI is suicide

11:47 am on 24 October 2006

A Solomon Islands anti-corruption watchdog says expelling the regional assistance mission in the country would be an act of national suicide.

The warning's come from Transparency Solomon Islands in the wake of the Prime Minister's threats to remove RAMSI and sack the Australian police commissioner, Shane Castles.

The organisation's chair, Bob Pollard, says if Manasseh Sogavare goes ahead with his threats, the Solomons will revert to the lawlessness of 1999 to 2003.

He says he believes Mr Sogavare's behaviour is a knee-jerk reaction to facing the law.

"I think it's simply a move to avoid facing the law. It seems that the Prime Minister has some idea that he's above the law and when he comes into conflict with it, he seems to attack the police for enforcing the law, which is really absurd."

Mr Pollard says the fight against corruption has only just begun and it would suffer a major set back were RAMSI to be dismantled.