Solomons govt warned not to abuse emergency powers

8:27 pm on 8 May 2020

The Solomon Islands Leader of the Opposition has warned the government not to abuse the powers it has under the ongoing State of Public Emergency.

Matthew Wale the MP for Aoke Langa Langa, who is one of the two candidates contesting the prime ministerial election in Solomon Islands on Wednesday 24 April.

Opposition Leader, Matthew Wale Photo: Island Sun/Charles Kadamana

Matthew Wale's comments come after a government statement earlier this week said he would be referred to police for breaching Covid-19 emergency measures after he urged the government not to suspend outspoken Malaita Province Premier Daniel Suidani.

Mr Suidani had been in the government's bad books since last year for opposing its diplomatic switch to China and cracking down on loggers.

Last week Mr Suidani was sent a letter from the Minister of Provincial Government accusing him of breaching government procedures and telling him to toe the line or face suspension.

After the letter was made public, Matthew Wale urged the government not to suspend the popular premier suggesting such a move would "risk undesirable outcomes" at time when unity was needed.

The government statement likened Mr Wale's comments to supporting lawlessness which could warrant a police investigation.

However Mr Wale dismissed the statement, describing it as a "knee-jerk reaction" and somewhat "juvenile and dictatorial".

"Solomon Islands is a democracy and must uphold democratic values and principles enshrined in our constitution," he said.

"The Leader of Opposition has a constitutional mandate that cannot be removed by the Covid-19 regulations or the State of Emergency regulations."

"The Prime Minister, government and officials must not abuse the state of emergency and the consequential regulations for political reasons," the Opposition Leader said.

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Photo: RNZ/Koroi Hawkins

Solomon Telekom to support police investigations

Meanwhile police investigations in the country are to get a boost with the support of local telecommunications provider Solomon Telekom.

A two-year MOU was signed by acting Police Commissioner Mostyn Mangau and Solomon Telekom chief executive Arthur Yen.

The understanding was that Telekom would support police investigations by facilitating access to call data, information and user history for people of interest identified through official written requests from an authorised police representative.

Mostyn Mangau said the process would be guided by the legislative requirements for the disclosure and protection of personal information.

"Under the MoU, the RSIPF and Solomon Telekom agree not to disclose any confidential information relating to this MoU to any third Party, without prior written approval from the other Party, unless the disclosure is directly related to a subpoena, warrant or other legislative obligation," Mr Mangau explained.