6 Dec 2002

Solomons special constables strip goods from shop in protest

4:44 pm on 6 December 2002

A group of around 50 special constables on Solomon Islands have stripped a shop of its food stuffs in an apparent protest over the Government's failure to pay them in full.

Our correspondent in Honiara Dorothy Wickham says the Asian owner stood aside and cried while the store was emptied of its stock.

"police officers that I spoke to say that they were special constables, and that they were doing this in protest at the fact that they did not get allowances they were claiming for an operation they had done recently in town called the Pispol Operation which was aimed at maintaining law and order and fighting the increase in crime."

I've been told by the Prime Minister's office that the total claim amounts to around 9 point 3 million Solomon dollars.

I spoke to Deputy Commissioner Akao and he said he did not want to comment because it is a very sensitive issue. He said they had already had trouble with their special constables when they smashed up the police office and a vehicle, and he said he didn't want to comment because Cabinet was going to make a decision on this and they had an extraordinary meeting. The Prime Minister called the executive of the police and they had a meeting, and it was agreed that Cabinet would meet and decide on this claim.