Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Solomons - gunpowder, treason & the plot

As our Honiara insider, Lukim Iu, predicted here on Friday, Snyder Rini is gone. The Solomon Islands PM stepped down yesterday rather than face defeat on the floor of Parliament. So what next for the Solomons?

Our man in the Solomons, Lukim Iu, continues the story:

Yesterday's events seem to have removed RAMSI from a rather sharp hook - Snyder Rini's resignation and some spectacular allegations in court put its activities into some perspective.

RAMSI had been attracting some flak over the past week for apparently supporting an unpopular government, that of Rini. Its argument is that it was simply supporting the democratic process, not Rini specifically.

The situation has now changed dramatically. Solomon Islanders had been hoping for a real change in government, after suffering from years of official corruption and incompetence. But they took the view that the old guard had, effectively, stolen the election by electing Rini as PM. He is a close associate of the previous PM Kemakeza.

People felt cheated, and that's what the riots were all about.

The torching of Chinatown was something different. It was well planned and carried out very efficiently.

In yesterday's court proceedings it was alleged by the prosecution that another MP, Nelson Ne'e, not only urged rioters to blow up the SI parliament - "dynamite hem parliament" - but threatened to "chop the throats" of five Malaitan politicians if they didn't vote the right way.

Meanwhile another MP, Charles Dausebea, who is also seeking bail, is said to have driven slowly through Chinatown in his green Mitsubishi calling out "go ahead, go ahead, go ahead," to the looters. Both are to find out today if their applications for bail will succeed.

The looting was a disgraceful free-for-all. We had a box seat view of the torching of Chinatown last Tuesday night and saw some of the subsequent looting, which is commonly known here as "shopping." One man I saw had a flat-bed trolley loaded high with his selections.

However, only a relatively small number of people were involved. The full story on these plotters and criminals has still to come out.

The truth, as Ernest said,is never plain and rarely simple. There are deep undercurrents in all of this, and they are just starting to emerge.

Hugo says: Another incisive analysis from our man in Honiara. Two handy resources for keeping up to date with the unfolding SI news are Radio Australia and the local newspaper, The Solomon Star, a publication which seems to have come of age during the crisis, providing timely and relevant coverage.


Blogger Niall said...

I'm concerned about Australian troops breaking down the doors of Solomons MPs - even if they did make inflammatory comments (rather than the obfuscatory comments favoured by our MPs).

3:42 am  

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