Tuesday, 20 November 2007 5:08 PM

PM Sogavare Calls on SICA to Stay Out of Politics

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has called on the Solomon Islands Christian Association to act responsibly by allowing the current political impasse to be resolved at the political level.

Mr Sogavare made the plea in response to the front-page article of the Solomon Star today revealing that a powerful delegation from SICA met with the Governor General, His Excellency Sir Nathaniel Waena last Sunday pressing him to intervene in the current political turmoil by calling parliament to reconvene immediately to resolve the impasse.

SICA Secretary General, Reverend Bishop Philemon Riti was quoted by the daily newspaper saying the political crisis had been dragged too long and it must be solved immediately in parliament.

But responding to the statement by Rev. Bishop Riti, Prime Minister Sogavare said the political impasse was a matter that should be resolved at the political level and the action by SICA was totally irresponsible.

He said as a church group SICA should be neutral in any form of conflict including the current political impasse by playing a reconciliatory role between the government and its defector MPs.

"There is a bold line between the church and the state or government. The government is an institution set up under the constitution. How the government is set up and can be pulled down is clearly spelt out in the constitution," Mr Sogavare said.

The Prime Minister said what SICA should also bear in mind was that new coalition of defector government MPs and the Opposition Group were yet to substantiate their allegations on why they wanted him removed from office.

Mr Sogavare said SICA should not judge the current political situation based on the general inclination of certain groups in the society who were so biased against the government or have connections with the Opposition Group.

Already the involvement of Mr Bob Pollard of the Transparency Solomon and Mr Mathew Wale of the Civil Society Group in SICA has placed SICA's neutrality under question because the two are supporters of the Opposition Group, he said.

"SICA should not allow itself to jump the gun and feed itself on general inclination by groups working against the government due to the tough decisions it had taken on issues," Mr Sogavare said.

Prime Minister Sogavare meanwhile assured the nation that as a responsible leader he would not allow the current political uncertainty to continue.

He also assured that Parliament would meet when the preparations for the next budget were finalised.

Mr Sogavare claims suggesting that he wanted to delay the next parliament sitting for fear of the motion of no-confidence filed against him by the Opposition Group was incorrect.

He said he had nothing to fear about the motion as he had the numbers on his side.