22 Apr 2010

Solomon Islands PM sacks five government ministers over party bill

11:45 am on 22 April 2010

The Solomon Islands Prime Minister's office has confirmed that Dr Derek Sikua has sacked five of his ministers after accusing them of sabotaging the government's political party bill.

The bill, which aims to stabilise politics by strengthening the weak political party system, was rejected by parliament yesterday.

The Solomon Times reports those who have been sacked are the Finance Minister, Snyder Rini, the Environment Minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo, the Agriculture Minister, Selwyn Riumana, the Justice Minister, Laurie Chan, and the Fisheries Minister, Nollen Leni.

Our correspondent Dorothy Wickham says the five ministers were absent from the parliamentary chamber when the bill was about to be voted on, and the Prime Minister Derek Sikua accused them of being bought off.

"Now whether the Prime Minister is just being paranoid or he is actually basing his decisions on some concrete evidence he has that some of his ministers have switched alliances on this bill is not clear."

Dorothy Wickham says many people say the bill is not in the interest of those who are financially backing ministers if MPs are forced to stick to party politics.

She says the bill would probably have been defeated even if the ministers had been present.

She says people are interested to see how the sackings affects the government's numbers.