20 Jan 2003

Solomons supposed gift from a Bougainville group an international embarrassment

5:30 pm on 20 January 2003

The Solomon Islands Government has been told the country will suffer greatly because of a deal with a controversial group which runs pyramid schemes.

John Roughan of the Solomon Islands Development Trust says the country will become a laughing stock after the Government said it would receive a huge cash gift from a Bougainville based group, called the Royal Assembly of Nations and Kingdoms.

The Group is associated with the failed U-Vistract pyramid scheme in Papua New Guinea, which collapsed owing millions.

The Solomons Government says it signed the MOU because the deal will not cost it a cent, but John Roughan says it will damage the country's reputation enormously.

He says foreign investors and aid donors will re-assess their commitment to Solomon Islands.

"so there is a big loss in my eyes for us publicly to embrace this kind of stance so we lose big even if we get the money, which is impossible,.... but if we don't get the money we lose nothing, no, no - we lose our reputation, we lose our self confidence, we lose very badly in a public way"