US officials tell SIG that ex-premier Suidani and his political advisor are not in the US
MALAITA Province’s controversial ex-premier, Daniel Suidani and his political advisor, Celsius Talifilu, are not in the United States, despite persistent claims to the contrary, it was revealed yesterday.
It is understood, US senior officials confirmed this in a meeting with Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, in Honiara on Tuesday.
Government Caucus is believed to have since been given an extensive briefing on the whereabouts of the two men and the circumstances surrounding their intended visit to the United States.
“The US told the meeting in Honiara that Mr Suidani and Mr Talifilu are not in America, nor is the US supportive of the visit,” one SIG official told Solomon Star privately yesterday.
A former M4D man told Solomon Star recently that both men were invited to visit the United States by Winrock International, the Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), whose branch is in Auki.
According to this report, Mr Suidani was due to speak at Georgetown University, which has not responded to our email inquiry last week.
Since then, an active M4D member said the two men would be in the US for at least two more months. They are due to return to Solomon Islands on 4 June this year.
As it is, it very much depends on who you listen to.
The latest in this intriguing story is that the United States intervened in denying visas after it learned of an itinerary for the visit.
The United States Embassy, possibly in Suva, Fiji was advised immediately the extensive itinerary was intercepted. The itinerary was said to have contained items of subversive nature.
“The US was advised that allowing the visit to proceed would add nothing to the Solomon Islands-US relations,” one insider said.
Despite this, no one seems to know exactly where the two men are.
“We are not sure whether they have returned to Solomon Islands or not,” the official said.
One area being closely monitored is the sensitivity attached to a show cause letter issued to Mr Suidani on February 23rd this year – eight days after both men left for Fiji on 16th February.
Minister of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening, Rollen Seleso, gave Suidani seven days to say why he should not be removed as a Member of Malaita Provincial Assembly based on remarks he made to foreign media.
The order was given under Section15 (1) of the Provincial Government Act 1997. Suidani appears to have skipped the order which means his removal would be subject to invoking section 16 of the Act.
By Alfred Sasako