New Solomons Police Commissioner Facing Court Case In Australia

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Prendergast allegedly ‘manufactured’ riot on Christmas Islands in 2011

By Daniel Namosuaia

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, July 25, 2014) – The appointment of the new police commissioner has raised serious questions over Australia’s integrity in its dealings with Pacific island countries and especially Solomon Islands.

This came following the appointment of Frank Prendergast an Australian who has been the deputy commissioner of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) blamed for manufacturing the riot on Christmas Island in 2011.

Mr Prendergast was caught on tape revealing that the riot on Christmas Island was a manufactured situation so that people can pay attention to the issues on Christmas Island.

Outspoken civil society group the Malaita Ma’asina Forum (MMF) has claimed the new appointment as a move by Canberra to fulfil their agenda to control the sovereignty of the country.

MMF questioned why Canberra through the AFP sees fit to orchestrate such move knowing very well Mr Prendergast has a court case over his head that hasn’t been cleared.

"Why is it that the RAMSI special coordinator and the assistant commissioner of AFP are so quick to congratulate and celebrate Mr Prendergast’s appointment over the weekend when they knew very well of his outstanding court case? These two people put the integrity of Australia and Canberra in tatters.

"Because MMF knows very well these two should know very well the background of this person and should have informed the panel and the government of this candidates background and especially his court case that is yet to be heard," Forum president Charles Dausabea said.

[PIR editor’s note: Radio New Zealand International reported that ‘The former Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare says he supports the appointment of an Australian as his country's new Police Commissioner. ... Mr Sogavare says the new appointment consolidates the good work that Australia has done in securing law and order in Solomon Islands. ... He says it's felt that senior local police are still vulnerable to ethnic bias.’]

The Solomon Star has been reliably told that the case of Mr Prendergast in relation to his involvement in the Christmas Island riot is still before the court.

This has forced MMF to call on Canberra to quickly recall the RAMSI’s special coordinator and PPF commander who has put Australia’s integrity in question over its dealings with Solomon Islands.

Dausabea said these two people are making mockery of the people of this country for knowing very well Mr Prendergast still has a case before the Australian Federal Court and yet failed miserably to inform the panel and the government.

"Instead they acted differently by congratulating him as if he is a genuine candidate. This is total mockery of Solomon Islands people and the supreme laws of this country. So we strongly call on Canberra to recall the RAMSI special Coordinator and the assistant commissioner of AFP for making mockery of Solomon Islands," Duasabea said.

He added that their actions clearly showed they don’t have much concern for the country.

"But MMF do really care for this country that is why we are so concerned over the appointment of Mr Prendergast. We are not paid for this job but we want to protect this country and its people. But it is very sad to see RAMSI celebrate the appointment. It clearly shows RAMSI have no interest in serving this country and its people," Dausabea slammed.

Dausabea further calls on the government and the panel to revoke the appointment of Mr Prendergast and get a new person.

He questioned why the panel has its first choice but yet the government decide for the second.

"We know beforehand that PM Lilo will try to mock MMF with the new appointment. But what he failed to know is he was pinched on the nose by Canberra and has miserably blinded for making a wrong choice that will ruin this nation. We are surprised why PM Lilo did not even know about the background of this person before appointing him," Dausabea added.

He said the government and panel need to do something urgently otherwise MMF will apply for a peaceful protest against this new appointment.

"I would be surprise if the current acting police commissioner rejects our application for a peaceful protest knowing very well we are fighting for the right thing. If she rejects it, that signals she too is pulled on the nose by Canberra and as a result the force is now crawling on its knees," Dausabea said.

He added if the government fail to listen, the new government will terminate the contract of the commissioner as soon as it comes into power.

Meanwhile the Australian High Commission office when contacted through email with questions on the issue declined to comment.

In a response through their communications officer the office said it will not make any comment.

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