Thursday, 27 September 2007 10:33 AM

PM Questions Integrity of the Public Opinion Survey

Manasseh Sogavare has questioned the integrity of the public opinion survey on RAMSI carried out by the Australian National University with the assistance of the National Statistics Office.

In a statement made yesterday, the Special Coordinator of RAMSI, Tim George, welcomed the findings which showed 90 percent support for RAMSI by Solomon islanders. The survey also showed that 80 percent feared the return of violence if the Australian-led mission was to leave soon.

But responding to Mr George's statement, Prime Minister Sogavare said the survey would not be considered by the government given the fact that it was conducted without its sanction and involvement and also covered only a handful of the entire Solomon Islands population.

Mr Sogavare said he had been informed by the National Statistics Office that the so-called independent nationwide survey of Solomon Islanders' public opinion was purely carried out by the business arm of the Australian National University, ANUTEC.

"The claim that the survey was conducted with the assistance of the National Statistics Office was basically made to give some credibility to the survey itself and its findings," the Prime Minister said.

He said the National Statistics Office only provided advice on the sampling frame and logistics and never provided enumerators and staff support to the ANUTEC in its conduct of the survey.

"As a responsible government, the Grand Coalition for Change Government would not allow the findings of a biased and marginal survey to measure the performance of RAMSI against its objectives and to decide the future of the Australian-led mission," said Mr Sogavare.

Mr Sogavare said no matter how much the Australian National University or RAMSI would want to argue in support of the survey and its findings, the Solomon Islands government would never be convinced.

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