6 May 2006

New Solomons cabinet announced

9:28 am on 6 May 2006

The newly elected Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, Mannaseh Sogavare, has announced his new Cabinet.

Most of the Ministers have been sworn in at Government House while the rest will be sworn in over the weekend.

The new Government is keeping the staus quo of 10 Ministries and 21 Departments.

Former prime minister, Bartholomew Ulufa'alu has been appointed Finance Minister and another former PM, Francis Billy Hilly, has the commerce portfolio.

The Foreign Affairs post goes to Patteson Oti while the two MPs who were in police custody this week on charges relating to last month's riots, Charles Dausebea and Nelson Ne'e, have been given the portfolios of Police and Tourism respectively.

The current sitting of the Solomon Island National Parliament will now end next Thursday.

A government statement said this is to allow the newly elected Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare time to address Parliament on his new government's priorities on Monday.

The Prime Minister is expected to ask Parliament to suspend the relevant Standing Orders to allow MPs to respond to his policy statement.

Meanwhile, Australia Department of Foreign Affairs Trade says it's surprised and deeply disappointed at the appointments of Charles Dausebea and Nelson Ne'e.

It says the move will have damaging repercussions for Solomons Islands' standing both in the regional community and in the wider international community

It says its told the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands special coordinator to make representations to the government expressing Australia's view.