8 Nov 2008

Solomons police minister says it's harder to get firearms

1:53 pm on 8 November 2008

The Solomon Islands Police Minister says it's a lot harder for members of the public to get hold of firearms now compared to the days of the ethnic tensions.

Licensed Solomon Islands gun holders who surrendered their weapons in 2003 to RAMSI have started receiving their compensation from the Police Ministry this week.

Government has allocated half a million US dollars for the payments with around 1700 people reportedly eligible for compensation.

The Minister, Samuel Manetoali, says compensation payouts began this week in Honiara and Guadalcanal and the team disbursing payments will later go out to the provinces.

"It's not easy to buy guns now. It's not allowed. I don't know whether there are guns around at the moment. There may be guns. But those guns were handed in at the time. That's the issue at the moment. Some may get the compensation this week, others maybe next week. It will continue until all the payments are done."

Meanwhile, point-22 rifle owners are being paid 340 US dollars per person and shot gun rifle holders almost 200 dollars.