15 Aug 2002

It is still not clear if all sixteen Forum leaders will attend the Forum meeting

10:33 am on 15 August 2002

Leaders from all sixteen member nations have accepted invitations to attend the summit in Suva, however at least one of them, Solomon Islands prime minister, Sir Allen Kemakeza, is having problems getting there.

Sir Allen was to have left Honiara on Tuesday but his flight was cancelled after a stopwork meeting by airport workers demanding the government pay overdue wages.

Our correspondent in Honiara, George Atkin, says Sir Allen reacted to the workers action by issuing a directive that they be sacked.

"Sir Allen is reported to have been bitter with the airport workers because they took advantage of his trip to press him for a meeting to force the government to meet their demands. RNZI understands that the diective to sack the public servants involved in the airport sit-in protest still stands. The government should be able to meet the payments today. It's not clear if Sir Allen will attend the Forum meeting, but it is understood he has left for Suva. This report cannot be verified. Offers from Australia and New Zealand to have Sir Allen and his delegation air-lifted have been received in Honiara."

George Atkin.