22 Apr 2010

Five Solomons ministers sacked over party bill

3:35 pm on 22 April 2010

The Solomon Islands Prime Minister 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 ministers 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.

In Parliament the Prime Minister, Derek Sikua, accused some MPs of being bought off and plotting against the bill.

"Its part of a scheme and a campaign staged by some of my ministers to cut down the numbers of the government, to have this bill not go through its second reading. I'm aware of this and right in front of me are my letters for termination of five of my ministers."

Derek Sikua says he will appoint five new ministers.

Our correspondent Dorothy Wickham says it's not clear whether the Prime Minister has concrete evidence that some of his ministers switched alliances on the bill.

But she says those who seek to maintain their influence over politicians would be keen to see it rejected.

There's a lot of people saying that its not to the interest of those financially backing ministers if ministers are not able to move, and it will also mean it will get a little bit more difficult to buy off MPs if they are sticking to party politics instead of individualism, like we've seen over the last 25 years.

Dorothy Wickham says it will be interesting to see how the sackings affects the government's numbers.