24 Feb 2010

Development on Malaita looms as big Solomons election issue

10:03 pm on 24 February 2010

Development on Solomon Islands' most populous province, Malaita, has been in the political spotlight recently as the country heads towards general elections in April.

The former prime minister and leader of the opposition, Manasseh Sogavare, said that successive governments have been ill-treating Malaitans.

The deputy prime minister, Fred Fono, has accused Mr Sogavare of being divisive.

Our correspondent, Dorothy Wickham, expects Malaita will play some role in the election campaign.

"This issue of the development of Malaita is raised by candidates and recontesting MPs of parliament when they comment about Malaita. This is why everything must be put into context. As you know these issues are now starting to come up. And if it's just to become a political debate then they are not doing any good to Malaita by just using it as a political debate."

Dorothy Wickham says Malaita could not attract much investment in the past, because it has huge issues with landrights and other matters.