23 Jan 2008

Community leader in Solomon Islands says compensation should never have been paid

12:07 pm on 23 January 2008

A former Solomon Islands police officer now community leader Joseph Baetolingia believes the government should never have paid out 50,000 Solomon Islands dollars to a group of Malaitans.

His comments comes after a group of people from Malaita province demanded the compensation for a public notice that used offensive language against Malaita people and threatend violent activities in the city if the government didn't pay up.

Mr Baetolingia says the government cannot be forced into a corner, and the move he believes is tantamount to blackmail.

"Well I'm not 100 percent sure, but I think it is, I don't think it's with people trying to disintegrate the Tumotu and the Malaitan communities I think it's something that is being done to test the government of Derek Sikua which is not the right thing to do."

Mr Baetolingia says precedence of such bad practice had been set in the past, and it will continue if nothing is done to stop it.