21 May 2003

Solomons Government to focus on rehabilitation rather than compenation for victims of unrest

4:25 pm on 21 May 2003

The Solomon Islands Ministry of National Unity, Reconciliation and Peace, says the Government's focus is now on how to rehabilitate former militants and no more money will be paid out to victims of the unrest.

Over the past two years the Government has paid out millions of dollars with money given as soft loans by Taiwan.

A pressure group, the Central Committee, wants the payments resumed.

But the Ministry's permanent secretary Caspar Fa'asala says while some people may have missed out, there is no more money available.

He says the hope is those people will be catered for with the rehabilitation programmes, some of which are already underway under the auspices of the UNDP.

But Mr Fa'asala says the key problem to be faced is how to rehabilitate the former militants.

"the difficult one which we have now, and are already trying to work out, is the one for the ex-militants, and that is; identifiying their needs; where they want their protest to go to; and the question of who is going to fund."