5 Feb 2003

UNDP says Solomons police project funding is conditional

6:04 pm on 5 February 2003

The UN Development Programme in Solomon Islands says special constables who do not surrender their weapons will not receive any financial help for their rehabilitation.

The UNDP's Richard Ponzio says the 800 special constables who are expected to be made redundant must surrender their firearms to qualify for allowances to assist in their reintegration into the community.

The Deputy Police Commissioner, John Homelo, has said some special constables may refuse to surrender their weapons because of frustration over the government's failure to pay them outstanding wages.

Mr Ponzio says mechanisms are in place to ensure the surrender of firearms by those who volunteer to participate in the programme.

"When they are officially being demobilised, we ask them to sign a certificate stating that they are not in possession of any other armament and it's up to the Royal Solomon Island police to enforce this. If they know of any who still maintains weapons, it's their responsibility. UNDP will not take any follow-up action of any part, within this project, but all we can do, is send out the message that participants in the programme will not be given assistance if they are found to be in possession of any weapon."

Richard Ponzio, UNDP's Coordinator.