A Solomon Islands Prime Minister on Thursday took a swipe at Australia and New Zealand as violent protests continued in the South Pacific nation nearly three weeks after the country’s political crisis erupted.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull traveled to Solomon Islands Monday to assist that country’s prime minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo, after he declared a state of emergency following the Supreme Court ruling to annul parliamentary elections, calling the polls illegal.
But Australian military intervention force sent into force to stabilise Lilo’s regime has been deemed illegal by a ruling from the Solomon Islands parliament on Wednesday, backing a local law that effectively invalidates the deployment.
“If not for our democracy and the support that we’ve received from the United States, New Zealand and Australia, this crisis would have brought greater damage and probably caused the government to fall,” Lilo said Thursday.
The protests, which caused widespread damage to the capital of Honiara, even see government buildings torched and incursion forces repulsed, leading most of the international media to cover the developments as they occurred.
“If the Australian, New Zealand police had not been there, the country would have fallen into anarchy,” Lilo said.
Other political figures have also accused Australia and New Zealand of coordinating the coup.
But Lilo said he was the victim of an international conspiracy to prop up the opposition leader, David Arkadin Quaye, who claimed he had the support of the acting army chief and the former military commander.
Quaye was removed from office in March last year following allegations of rape and illegal possession of weapons.
“We understand they were trying to engineer the arrest of General Niani Kava [also known as Colonel Beck] as part of a conspiracy and coup,” Lilo said.
“That’s when they fled to Honiara to lead an insurrection,” Lilo said.
“We believe that we had to quickly make a decision, we wanted to have a legitimate government that was willing to sit down with their political parties. We also wanted to give space to those who wanted to try and negotiate, but it was clear that (Nahan Quaye’s) hard-line stance, which included declaring a state of emergency, was not acceptable to the majority of the parliamentarians.”
There has been no sign of “politics as usual” in Solomon Islands since the state of emergency was declared by Lilo, Lilo said.
However, with no court hearing set to take place for months, there has been little or no resolution to the country’s political crisis.