Malaita Premier Anticipates No-Confidence Vote In Solomons

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Ex-ministers criticize Suibaea administration’s money problems

By Ednal R. Palmer

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, March 4, 2013) – The Malaita province ruling government is preparing for a second test in the Solomon Islands, as Premier Edwin Suibaea is anticipating a motion of no confidence during a budget meeting in Auki this month.

A spokesperson from the provincial office in Auki said lobbying is evident but there is still no official confirmation of a motion.

The spokesperson said two ministers from Suibaea’s government had already resigned.

"Minister for forestry, mines and energy Job Salan and minister for public health service Beato Apaniai resigned last week."

The two resigned ministers claimed Mr. Suibaea’a government faces a lot of financial problems.

Mr. Suibaea’s camp during the weekend quickly defended the claims saying the two members were frustrated because they wanted more ward grants but that was not released to them.

One member in Mr. Suibaea’s camp and minister for works and transport Joel Mamali said the two members had already exhausted their ward grants for this financial year.

"We don’t know what ward grants they insisted on. They were frustrated men because the government cannot release that ward grants to them. They already collected theirs but still asked for more," Mr. Mamali said.

Provincial members are entitled to a SB$50,000 [US$6,855] ward grant each financial year.

Meanwhile Mr. Mamali said they had already filled up the two portfolios vacated by the two resigned minister.

"On Saturday (weekend), a new minister for forestry, mines and energy Abraham Fanamaea was sworn in."

Another to take up the public health service ministry vacated by Beato Apaniai, is expected to be sworn in today.

Mr. Mamali said the two new intakes means Mr. Suibaea’s-led government still enjoys the support of the majority.

"We still maintain our number of 21 members four of whom are backbenchers and 17 Ministers."

He said there is no time to waste because the province has huge projects in the pipeline.

"We cannot allow political wrangling to destabilize our proposed development projects."

Mr. Suibaea has defeated one motion since capturing power.

The provincial government has a total of 33 members.

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