WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, Dec. 3) - The South Seas Evangelical Church (SSEC) in Solomon Islands says if the rebuilding of the country is to be effective, any development must be decentralized.

But it has distanced itself from a suggestion by one of its pastors, former Cabinet Minister Reverend Michael Maeliau, that permanent peace could only come if the islands of Malaita became independent from the Solomons.

The President of the SSEC, Rev. Eric Takila, says that is the Reverend Maeliau’s personal view, not the church’s.

He says what is needed is for work opportunities to be created around the country.

"We would rather see this taking place in different parts of the country and that is all the different provinces, more so because Malaita has a very strong and big population. We would like to see things happening on Malaita so that it will give jobs and occupation for people and that will stop people from coming back to Honiara, or Guadalcanal for that matter, that is our view."

Malaitan MP Alfred Sasako has also spoken out about Reverend Maeliau’s suggestion, saying it’s regrettable.

December 3, 2003

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