7 Jun 2002

Effectiveness of Solomon Islands gun amnesty hailed

3:43 pm on 7 June 2002

A spokesman from the Solomon Islands Christian Association's Peace Office, Bob Pollard, says the tide has turned with the surrender of hundreds of weapons in the past few weeks.

The Peace Monitoring Council says since October 2000 more than two thousand weapons, and nearly three tonnes of explosives had been surrendered.

That includes 759 guns handed in since the end of April.

Mr Pollard says the police position was critical to the latest amnesty's success.

"......when they made a strong stand within the police...I think that sent ripples right through the society saying police are now taking a stand on this ..certainly their stand was challenged, but they stood firm....ah that sort of leadership we hadn't seen before and that provided the catalyst for people to realise you know it was time for the guns to go back"

Bob Pollard

Meanwhile, no stolen property is reported to have been returned and members of the police force are said to keep using stolen vehicles with impunity.