3 Aug 2002

Solomons Minister sacked by mistake in continuing reshuffle standoff

9:55 am on 3 August 2002

It is not yet clear whether attempts by the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands to reshuffle his Cabinet will last.

Some Cabinet Ministers, mostly members of the Association of Independent MPs, have taken exception to the move by Sir Allen Kemakeza, who last weekend announced eight changes in the line up.

Sir Allen has issued a statement saying the government continues to operate as normal, but one of those demoted, former Foreign Minister, Alex Bartlett, has since been sacked and then reinstated.

The Prime Minister's offices says the sacking was an error, but it has given Mr Bartlett an ultimatum that he accept the Tourism portfolio or resign.

Mr Bartlett says it is the Prime Minister who must go.

"We feel the actions he has taken are outrageous and they are not correct...you will hear more discussion over the coming days over this issue because the man is not right...the actions he has taken are completely outrageous and are not in the interests of healing the nation"

Alex Bartlett.

Sources in Honiara say that the Prime Minister is most likely to compromise and withdraw some of the changes.

One commentator, Bob Pollard of the SICA Peace Office, says the issue is a test of the Prime Minister's leadership.

firstly I think that reshuffling the Ministers isn't the solution to the problems but nevertheless he says it is a step in the right direction so it really is a test to see if he is the Prime Minister

Bob Pollard.