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Monday, August 21, 2006

SI Bar Association supports the action of Attorney General

The Solomon Islands Bar Association (SIBA) says it supports the action of Attorney General Primo Afeau in challenging two of the 11 terms of reference of the riot inquiry. That is if the circumstances of what has been reported in the press are correct, the association added.

SIBA held a special general meeting last Friday to discuss the Government’s intention to terminate Mr Afeau and the proposed appointment of a new Attorney General. “We support the actions of Mr Afeau if the circumstances of what has been reported are correct. In view of the above, we regret the proposed removal of the Attorney General for taking action in the public interest. It is regrettable if the proposed termination is seen as a means to frustrate or terminate the court action,” SIBA said in a statement issued yesterday.

The association also insists that only locals should be given the position of Attorney General. “In light of the special constitutional position of the Attorney General, including his or her right to participate in the proceedings of Parliament and Cabinet, qualified Solomon Islanders should be appointed. Non-citizens are to be considered only where no other Solomon Islands citizen is so suitably qualified,” the association said.

Last Friday’s meeting took place without the association’s president and secretary.
President Ranjit Hewagama, the country’s legal draftsman and Secretary Ronald Bei Talasasa, the Director of Public Prosecution, played no part in the discussions and resolutions. The two government officers decided to stay away due to conflict of interest and potential of perception of bias.

SIBA says its stand on the current debate should not be seen as being bias to either of the party. Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has earlier planned to address the nation at the weekend on his stand-off with the Attorney General. But the planned address did not take place.

Officials from the Prime Minister’s Office say they need time to prepare Mr Sogavare’s address. A press conference earlier scheduled for Friday was also postponed.

Source: Solomon Star

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