22 Dec 2004

Solomons government declines Australian offer to supply and pay a new Police Commissioner

11:12 am on 22 December 2004

The Solomon Islands government says it will pay for its police commissioner from early next year.

The current commissioner, Englishman Bill Morrell, is paid for by the European Union.

His contract is about to finish and Canberra is ready to fund a replacement, but the Government has turned down the Australian offer.

The Police Minister, Michael Maina, says Commissioner Morrell will stay on an extra 3 months until the end of March to allow for the position to be advertised locally and overseas.

He says Mr Morrell and any Australian candidate can apply for the position, and whoever gets it will be funded by his Government.

"We will pay for that, yeah. Solomon Islands Government will pay for the cost of having a police commissioner, whether it is national or from any other country - that is our decision."

Mr Maina says the Solomons cabinet wants to retain more control over the appointment and wished to conduct the selection process itself