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Solomon Islands Police turn down request to protest in the lead up to PM election
5:29 pm GMT+12, 17/04/2019, Solomon Islands

Solomon Islands Police have turned down an application by a group of youth to stage a peaceful protest in Honiara in the lead up to the election of the prime minister on 24 April.
 
The decision was made in the interest of “public safety”.
 
Deputy Commissioner for Operations, Gabriel Manelusi said police will not accept any application seeking permit to stage any public gathering in the city.
 
The youth group claimed they represented young people of the capital, Honiara. They plan to stage a peaceful march through the city in connection with the election of a new prime minister.
 
Manelusi said they met members of the group this week at Rove police headquarters after they received their application.
 
“We want to thank the representatives of the group for agreeing to meet with police to discuss their application,” Manelusi said.  
 
“We explained to the representatives of the youth that to ensure there’s public safety, police will not be permitting any procession or public gathering from now until the election of the prime minister on 24 April,” he added.
 
“We proposed to the youth representatives that they should take up whatever issues they have in connection with the election of the Prime Minister with their Members of Parliament.  
 
“They agreed with our suggestion.
 
“We call on members of the public to respect the process that is underway towards the election of a new prime minister.  
 
“Police are mounting visibility patrols and traffic checks during the day and night to ensure there is peace in our capital city.   
 
“We call on the public to also respect the liquor ban from 23 – 24 April 2019,” Manelusi said.
 
“With the notice issued by the Governor General Sir Dr Frank Kabui for the election of the Prime Minister to be held on Wednesday 24 April 2019, this means that the Liquor Ban will be effective from 23 to 24 April 2019,” said Police Commissioner, Matthew Varley.
 
He appeals to all licensed premises and bars in Honiara City to respect this liquor ban and close all the licensed premises and bars in Honiara and do not sell any liquor during those dates.
 
“Officers of the RSIPF will be out in numbers during those days to ensure that the ban is respected and anyone failing to do so will be dealt with immediately.
 
“It is important to remember that the ban is critical to ensure there is safety and peace within our communities. It has been proven so many times that alcohol is one of the drivers of crime in our communities,” said Commissioner Varley.
 
He calls on supporters of all the different political groups forming for the election of the Prime Minister to allow the process to take its cause and accept whoever becomes the country’s new political leader.
 
“Let us move forward peacefully with our new Government to develop our nation for a better future for everyone.”
 
The RSIPF National General Election operation continues with the focus on Honiara and Guadalcanal Province for the election of the new Prime Minister and formation of a new Government.
 
The Operation will include visibility patrols throughout capital on a 24 hour basis including traffic checks during the day and at night. A Post-NGE awareness programme is being rolled out throughout Honiara to ensure a peaceful and safe election of the Prime Minister.
 
Meanwhile, the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA) candidate for Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has called on leaders and people of Solomon Islands to respect the democratic process in the election of the prime minister.
 
The 50 MPs will convene on April 24 to elect a new prime minister.
 
“I call on leaders and good-loving citizens of this nation to approach the process with maturity and dignity,” Sogavare said.
 
“Do not listen to leaders, groups or individuals that have an agenda to incite social disharmony,” he added.
 
“This is the last thing this nation needs at this time.”
 
The East Choiseul MP said the country and her people do not deserve to ever tread this path again.
 
“There are a few leaders and individuals that have selfish agendas to try and incite disunity amongst our people.
 
“There are negative perceptions orchestrated by few individuals with self-interests with no respect for the democratic process and the unity amongst our people,” he said.
 
He said the fact that an absolute majority of more than 30 MPs have supported his candidacy shows that the people, throughout the nation, have spoken through their elected leaders.
 
“Any elected government comes 24 April is for the people and for their interest,” he said.

SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS


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