16 Sep 2002

Council of Women says Malaitan Autonomy bill a cover up for Peace Agreement failure

5:36 pm on 16 September 2002

The National Council of Women in Solomon Islands has criticised the proposed Malaitan Autonomy Bill saying it is an attempt to cover up what it calls the failure of the Townsville Peace Agreement.

The NCW's President, Ruth Maetala says the TPA has created further divisions because the warring factions which signed it have not complied with its terms.

She says lawyers such as Andrew Nori, who helped draft the TPA, are trying to cover their tracks by rushing the autonomy bill through Parliament.

Ms Maetala says Malaitan women are opposed to the bill as it does not promote national unity.

"The Townsville Peace Agreement which Andrew Nori has drafted has been a failure and so we see that this maybe one of the ways that this person is trying to get some credit in the country. We would like to see that there is national unity rather than division caused by the Townsville Peace Agreement."

Ruth Maetala who says it is expected that the Malaitan Autonomy bill will be brought to parliament by the end of the month and if passed will be implemented in January next year.