SOLOMON ISLANDS MALAITA PREMIER SUGGESTS MOVING CAPITAL AWAY FROM GUADALCANAL

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (December 22, 1998 - PACNEWS/SIBC)--- The Premier of Malaita province, David Oeta, has called on the national government to change the location of the capital and spread development evenly among the country's nine provinces.

Premier Oeta suggested that the government move its headquarters from the capital, Honiara in Guadalcanal, to another province, and let Honiara remain the country's commercial center.

Guadalcanal wants millions of dollars in compensation from the national government for locating the capital in Guadalcanal province.

Premier Oeta said more evenly spread development also will minimize the problem of urban drift.

He was speaking during a meeting of the heads of the Solomon Islands' nine provinces last weekend, where the leaders discussed compensation claims raised by Guadalcanal province.

People from Premier Oeta's Malaita province make up the highest number of residents from outside Guadalcanal living in the capital province.

Tension has been high in Honiara between the people of Malaita and those of Guadalcanal after Guadalcanal's Premier, Ezekiel Alebua, put forth the compensation claims earlier this month.

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