24 Jun 2005

Solomon Island PMs spokesman denies cover-up over whaling vote

6:28 pm on 24 June 2005

The spokesman for the Solomon Islands Prime Minister has denied that the Government has attempted a cover-up in the way it's cast votes on whaling.

The Solomons delegation at the International Whaling Commission went against a pledge by its Prime Minister, Sir Allan Kemakeza, and voted for a resumption of commercial whaling.

This irritated Sir Allan, who has raised the possibility he may sack the Fisheries Minister in charge of the delegation, Paul Maenu'u, when he returns from South Korea in early July.

An opposition MP, Nollen Leni, says this is a cover-up and it would have been very clear following the cabinet decision on how Mr Maenu'u should vote.

But Sir Allan's spokesman, George Atkin, says there's been no attempt at dishonesty.

"One has to weight carefully what position one should be in, actually. For instance, Solomon Islands, because as I said Solomon Islands depends very much on aid donor assistance and it respects the relations it has with Japan, Australia and New Zealand, and I'm sure the Government has not been trying or is not trying to fool anyone."

George Atkin.