1 Aug 2002

Solomons Government under threat after reshuffle

10:22 am on 1 August 2002

The Government coalition in Solomon Islands could collapse because of infighting sparked by a Cabinet reshuffle at the weekend.

The reshuffle demoted several MPs, notably Foreign Minister Alex Bartlett, who was moved to Tourism and Aviation, and Benjamin Una, who lost his Police portfolio, and will now become the Health Minister.

Sources in Honiara say the Prime Minister Sir Allen Kemakeza tried unsuccessfully to remove Snyder Rini as Deputy Prime Minister.

Mr Rini heads the Association of Independent MPs, the biggest grouping in the coalition, while Sir Allen is the leader of the People's Alliance Party. .

The sources say the changes had been made without full Cabinet approval and that Mr Rini may take the Association out of the coalition.