MONEY CRISIS HITS SOLOMONS’ PARLIAMENTARIANS

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (April 29, 2001 - Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation/PINA)---Lawmakers in Honiara for the current session of Parliament have been asked to leave their motels -- because of problems over payments.

MP for East Kwaio Alfred Sasako told SIBC that at least two MPs have already left for their home provinces because they could not afford to stay any longer.

He said motels in Honiara that agreed to accommodate the MPs had done so in good faith on the understanding the government would at least foot half of the bills at some stage during the session.

The eviction of MPs from the motels came ahead of the vote to be taken on the controversial bill to extend the life of Parliament from four to five years.

In another financial development, public servants in some government ministries and departments did not receive their pay on time.

This is due to the government's current financial problems. It follows two years of Guadalcanal-Malaita ethnic conflict that caused the closedown of key industries and the awarding of compensation and other financial claims following the peace agreements.

Meanwhile, police are conducting investigations into alleged criminal elements who fired high-powered guns at the residence of a senior public servant.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Operations Wilfred Akao said police believe the culprits are those who are frustrated over the government's delay in paying their claims.

Mr. Akao said police are taking measures to provide security for senior government officers who deal daily with issues brought about by the ethnic tension.

Peace Monitoring Council's Chairman Sir Peter Kenilorea said recent shooting incidents should be a concern for everyone.

Sir Peter said guns must be retrieved before innocent persons are killed.

He said the council has repeatedly warned those still holding guns that they are breaking the Townsville Peace Agreement and this offence is not covered by the amnesty.

If fear of imprisonment hasn't convinced them to surrender, they must be disarmed for the sake of public safety, he said.

For additional reports from the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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