FORMER SOLOMONS POLICE COMMISSIONER SHORT BACKS CALLS FOR INQUIRY

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (January 31, 2002 - Radio Australia)---The Solomon Islands police commissioner who was in charge when the Guadalcanal-Malaita ethnic war erupted fully supports a call by the country’s acting chief justice for a commission of inquiry to investigate what went wrong.

Radio Australia correspondent Sean Dorney reports that Frank Short claims that the Solomons went from a peaceful state in mid 1998 to a tragic situation within months and that the police had warned the government of much of what was being planned.

"In his address opening the legal year, the Solomon Islands acting chief justice, Justice Albert Palmer, suggested a commission of inquiry be set up to determine why what he called a ‘storm in a teacup’ was not contained in the teacup but instead was allowed to turn into a hurricane that destroyed the country.

"Frank Short, who was police commissioner at the time and is now retired in Australia, supports the call for an inquiry but disputes the storm in a teacup analogy.

"Mr. Short said much information was provided to the government of the day by the police on the alleged planning and involvement of some of the alleged initiators, including their stockpiling of old weapons and ammunition, their seizure of registered firearms, their actions to destabilize the police and their plans to wreck the Solomon’s economic assets.

"It’s not the first time Mr. Short has gone on record supporting a full inquiry. In the past he’s offered himself as a witness.

"Sean Dorney, Radio Australia."

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia. 

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