Tuesday, 26 June 2007 9:28 AM

No to Rearmament, says Guadalcanal MPA

A Member of the Guadalcanal Provincial Assembly, Stephen Panga, has spoken out against plans by the Police Commissioner Jahir Khan to rearm certain units of the Solomon Islands Police Force.

Mr Panga, who himself used to be Chairman of a joint Guadalcanal Solomon Islands Government Truth and Reconciliation Taskforce, says the people of Guadalcanal oppose such plans because they are yet to reconcile with the people of Malaita and other provinces.

Mr Panga reiterated that the people of Guadalcanal still feel that it is too early to even think about re-arming the Police Force as real peace is yet to be achieved. He says the right time to re-arm the Police would be after all parties to the conflict on Guadalcanal have reconciled.

"While I'm happy with the government's policy for truth and reconciliation, it needs to carry it forward.

"If we start to re-arm the special units within the Police, we won't be making any achievements in peace and security or in terms of the economy."

Mr Panga was disturbed at plans to rearm the Patrol boats, reminding Mr Khan that these were the very arms used against the people of Guadalcanal and they have not forgotten those incidences.

It's been reported that Police Commissioner Mr Khan had forwarded a submission to government to make provision for 18-million dollars in next year's budget.

This is to enable Police to arm its Close Protection Unit and Patrol Boats.

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