29 Apr 2008

Australian organisation says RAMSI is causing resentment in Solomon Islands

10:14 am on 29 April 2008

An Australian organisation, AidWatch, says the regional assistance mission to the Solomon Islands focuses too much on state building, and is causing resentment.

The finding comes in a report by the aid watchdog group, released yesterday, which finds that the billion dollar operation has triggered inflation.

Aid Watch's co-director, Flint Duxfield, says RAMSI has focussed on state-building and governance issues, which was not its original purpose.

"The Solomon Islanders obviously feel that it's their choice and their responsibility to focus on state building, not the responsibilty of foreign powers and while RAMSI was welcomed initially as a successful peacekeeping operation, the extent to whcih it has now become infiltrated into various arms of the Government, various arms of the judiciary as well, has meant that it's actually displaced a lot of Solomon Islanders from these positions."

Flint Duxfield says because there is a vested interest in maintianing RAMSI, by those involved, it will be difficult for it to leave Solomon Islands in the forseeable future.