13 Dec 2005

Solomons provinces again threaten to push for independence from Honiara

7:14 pm on 13 December 2005

Several provinces in the Solomon Islands are again threatening to seek independence in the face of what they say is government inaction over a new federal constitution.

Both Temotu and Malaita say the national government is continuing to neglect the economic needs of people living outside of Honiara.

The Temotu premier, Johnson Levela, says progress on the draft constitution - designed to give more regional control over local resources - has been too slow.

He says they were promised that the new system would be adopted by last year and now parliament was about to dissolve, with little progress.

"It seems that certain foreign influences are being exerted to dictate what's happening with the federal constitution. If that's the case then independence from the national government is perhaps the best way for us to go so that we could start to do things for ourselves."

Mr Levela warned that the country could see a return of ethnic tensions, unless progress was made soon.