13 Sep 2002

Solomon Islands western province rejects compensation payout

10:16 am on 13 September 2002

The western province in Solomon Islands has rejected the government's allocation of 70-thousand US dollar in compensation money.

For the past week, the national government has been disbursing millions of dollars in funds borrowed from a Taiwanese bank to complete the compensation payments for property lost during the ethnic conflict.

The government drew up a plan to allocate the money but the western province says it will boycott the process because the half a million Solomon Islands dollars offered to it is too little.

This comes as it was revealed this week that former Malaitan militants pressured the finance ministry to change the allocation plan and withdrew double their share.

Unconfirmed reports say the western province is now considering withholding taxes to the national government in protest.

Revenue from the area and from neighbouring Choiseul is said to have dropped in the past week.