SOLOMON ISLANDS PROVINCIAL HEADS RECOMMEND CONSTITUTIONAL REVIEW

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (December 21, 1998 - PACNEWS/SIBC)---The heads of the Solomon Islands' nine provinces have recommended the national constitution be reviewed and amended to reflect the political, economic and social development of the country.

The provincial premiers made the recommendation as they ended a weekend conference, during which they discussed issues raised by Guadalcanal province.

Guadalcanal has demanded millions of dollars from the national government in compensation for the capital, Honiara, being located in the province, and for the murders of Guadalcanal people by people from outside the island.

It also wants outsiders to be barred from owning land in the province, and that members of one province should not be allowed to own land in another province.

The conference of provincial heads agreed that the compensation claim is a national issue, to be resolved between the provincial government and the national government.

The premiers agreed that other provinces with similar claims must submit their claims to the central government.

The meeting also recommended that the provinces establish Goodwill or Friendship Treaties between themselves, either bilaterally or multilaterally, through the review of the Provincial Government Act.

The premiers strongly urged the government to take immediate appropriate steps to address the more urgent issues at hand.

Meanwhile, the Premier of Malaita province, David Oeta, is sure that a militant group exists on Guadalcanal.

He told the provincial premiers meeting in Honiara that there is undeniable evidence that such a group exists.

He says, however, that the group's motives, demands and identity remain unclear.

The Premier has called on the police to defuse the group swiftly before it is too late.

He has called for co-operation among leaders from all sectors, to ensure that such activities do not flourish and break up the country.

Police say they have received further reports about a group called the Guadalcanal Revolutionary Army, following reports of young people involved in firearms training and military drills in West Guadalcanal. Reports of the group surfaced after Guadalcanal Premier Ezekiel Alebua's statements on compensation two weeks ago.

POLICE WARN AGAINST GUADALCANAL FIREARMS TRAINING

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (December 21, 1998 -PACNEWS/SIBC)---Police in the Solomon Islands have received reports of militant youths carrying out firearms training and military drills in West Guadalcanal.

The activity is reportedly being carried out to back up the Guadalcanal provincial government's demand for compensation from the central government.

The Guadalcanal provincial executive has demanded millions of dollars in compensation for the location of the capital, Honiara, on the island, and for Guadalcanal people murdered by outsiders on the island.

It is also demanding that people from other provinces should not be allowed to hold land titles in Guadalcanal.

The reports of the firearms training and military drills come after 15 young men claiming to belong to a group called the Guadalcanal Revolutionary Army, gave themselves up to police last week.

While the Guadalcanal provincial executive has denied any involvement in such a group, police say they have received information on the existence of the group.

The same group was also allegedly involved in the raid on arms and ammunition at the Yandina police depot in Central Province two weeks ago.

Police Commissioner Frank Short has warned that firearms training and drilling without permission is illegal in Solomon Islands, and has urged members of the public to help police with any information on such activities.

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