23 Feb 2009

Solomons' deputy leader dismisses results of survey calling for Malaitan independence

8:16 pm on 23 February 2009

The Solomons Islands Deputy Prime Minister Fred Fono is casting doubt on a survey that found overwhelming support for Malaitan independence.

The Malaitan Maasina Forum says it questioned 1,000 Malaitans in the capital, Honiara for the survey, with 619 of the 624 people who responded favouring independence.

But Mr Fono says the Forum had no mandate to conduct the survey, and its sample size is ridiculous given that the population of Malaita is more than 200,000.

He says he doesn't believe an inch of the result.

"Nobody knows the authenticity of the survey whether it's true or cooked up, they must have been selecting those on the street, those who are anti-RAMSI, anti-government, anti-Guadalcanal."

Solomons Islands Deputy Prime Minister Fred Fono

The president of the Malaita Maasina Forum, Hudson Kwalea, says people were chosen for the survey from churches, the government, NGOs, the marginalised, people on the street and in rural areas.