23 Oct 2002

Solomons finance secretary refuses to re-open offices until security improved

11:59 am on 23 October 2002

The Solomon Islands finance secretary says security must be improved at the treasury division before it can be re-opened.

Lloyd Powell was speaking out after police special constables went to the homes of finance officers at the weekend and threatened them to hand over payments after their salaries weren't paid.

He then shut the division down and says until the staff can work without intimidation, it will remain closed.

Mr Powell says special constables and members of the police force have been among those who have breached security at the finance ministry and harassed and threatened his staff recently.

"I'm not prepared to let my staff continue to be at the brunt of totally unacceptable social behaviour. The Government has erected a security fence around it, it needs to have people monitoring those coming in and out of that security perimeter with some degree of efficiency."

The finance secretary says he's having discussions with the prime minister's office on improving security but no resolution has been reached.