10 Apr 2008

Solomons police minister rejects opposition's police assessment

11:02 am on 10 April 2008

The Solomon Islands Police Minister says the local police force was already in a downward spiral before Australia decided to intervene in the country with support from Forum member countries.

Samuel Manetoali has disputed allegations by the Opposition Leader Manasseh Sogavare that Australia waited until the situation suited its motives.

Mr Sogavare claims Australia came into the country in 2003 under the guise of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands with ulterior political motives.

But the Minister says Mr Sogavare's comments are a total distortion of the history of the Solomon Islands.

Mr Manetoali says RAMSI was invited because the Solomon's parliament recognised that the government had lost control of the country.

"The Regional Assistance Mission could not exist without the commitment of all of the assisting Pacific Island countries, and the Regional Assistance Mission has not undermined the loyalty of the police force. The loyalty of the Solomon islands police force was at its lowest point when its members turned on the government."

Solomon Islands Police Minister Samuel Manetoali.