SOLOMONS LAWMAKER OUT OF PRISON ON BAIL

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By Robert L. Iroga

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Dec. 4) – After almost seven months in custody, East Honiara Member of Parliament Charles Dausabea, has been released on bail.

Mr Dausabea had been applying for bail since his detention in the aftermath of the April riots but was denied it until last week.

Speaking to Solomon Star yesterday, Mr Dausabea said this was a relief for his constituency.

"It’s quite a relief for my constitution, which is like life in a field of sheep without shepherd," Mr Dausabea, who claimed to be the government’s hard core supporter, said.

He said he fully sympathised and felt sorry for his people.

"I could not do much but now I’m happy because my people are coming to see me, congratulate me and talk to me about plans for East Honiara," Mr Dausabea said.

Mr Dausabea has been charged with incidents leading to the April riots. He has been committed to the High Court to face trial.

Mr Dausabea, who had spent the last couple of weeks in hospital, could not contain his joy when the High Court granted him bail on Friday.

"I have been looking forward to working closely with my people to implement plans for East Honiara which I have been unable to do following my arrest after the riots.

"It is now like a shepherd coming back to visit his sheep (East Honiara constituency) because I have plans for East Honiara which involved women, youth, big people and TOL. These plans did not take place because after election they arrested me," Mr Dausabea said.

He said he is quite happy to pursue his planned programmes in support of the government’s bottom up approach.

Mr Dausabea was appointed police minister when Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare named his Cabinet after the April Riots even though the East Honiara MP was detained in custody.

Australia opposed his appointment forcing Prime Minister Sogavare to replace him with West Honiara MP Isaac Inoke, who is now the minister responsible for the ministry.

Yesterday, Dausabea indicated that he is unwilling to take up any ministerial positions but would remain a loyal government backbencher.

"I’m a hard core member of the coalition, regardless of what happened - I’m with the government.

"I don’t want to be minister or chairman but I want to be a backbencher to catch up with work because of the time I lost with my people which means that I have to catch up with government’s bottom-up approach programme," he said.

Mr Dausabea was released on conditions that he remains attached to residential stay at the hospital, don’t talk to prosecution witnesses as well as the co-accused.

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