RENNELL and Bellona Premier survived unscathed a political ambush set by his Deputy and his Finance minister on Monday midnight.
The two senior executive members, who are both heavily involved in the logging and mining industries, along with a third executive member, under the cover of darkness, delivered a letter demanding Premier Collin Singamoana’s step-down within 24 hours.
However, in a twist of events, the third party to the letter, Hon Brad Pugeva, on the same day of issuance revoked his signature to the petition letter and a resignation letter which had ensued, thus was allowed to keep his portfolio as minister of education.
In response, after legal consultation, Premier Singamoana immediately removed two of the inciters effective as of Tuesday June 20, and replaced them; the swearing-in ceremony of the new executive held yesterday at the Ministry of Provincial Government (MPGIS) office.
Premier Singamoana, in an interview with Island Sun, said, “Going through their reasons for demanding my stepping down from premiership, they were found to be totally childish and baseless.”
It is understood that the two stated reasons Hon Anthony Tamaika and Hon Eric Saueha staked their demands on were; (1) Premier Singamoana’s failure to consult the executive prior to some decisions, and (2) seeking advice from non-executive members.
Premier Singamoana also highlights that no references were also cited to back their two stated reasons.
“If they were planning to remove me from premiership, then they had better give me harder and solid reasons, not childish squabbles and half-wit reasons such as the two they stated,” Premier Singamoana said.
“I would have accepted it if the reasons were in range of me having undermined the integrity of Rennell and Bellona province, or breached some serious laws that would mean Renbel losing out on major projects or funds etc.
“But to call for my stepping down due to some vague childish reasons with no reference cited to support them is just mutiny instigated by selfish individuals with no mind for the welfare and progress of Renbel province.”
Meanwhile, sources familiar with the issue tell Island Sun that the mutinous move had been a reaction to false rumours which had circulated that Premier Singamoana had removed Hon Saueha from chairmanship of the Solomon Games taskforce.
Premier Singamoana refutes these false rumours, saying “I had not removed Hon Saueha from chairmanship of the taskforce, he still is the chairman.
“I had only voiced my intention to take back the authority which is rightfully the premier’s on the spending and monitoring of the funds for the Games preparation, that’s all.
“And, I had considered this after it came to my notice that there was a string of misappropriation of funds. This is a serious offence and I am not going to allow taxpayers’ money to be misused under my watch.”
MPA Tamaika and Hon Saueha could not be reached for comments before this paper went to print last night. [See story on new executive sworn-in in page 10]