20 Oct 2006

Report points to achievements of Solomon Islands regional assistance mission

5:40 am on 20 October 2006

The Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, RAMSI, says its first annual audit shows it has made substantial progress in all areas of its mandate.

A report by a US based consultancy CAMRIS, show 99 Solomon Islanders graduated from police training, along with 35 new prison service recruits over the past year.

There is now a Solomon Islander as Director of Public Prosecutions along with more legal services available in the provinces.

Government departments are completing annual reports for the first time in many years; the auditor general is being allowed to function as he should and the government revenues are up while its debts are being cleared.

The deputy special co-ordinator for RAMSI, Paul Ash, says they still have a lot of work ahead them.

"The gains that have been made remain fairly fragile. We are still in the early stages of the work that needs to be done here and there is a fair bit of work to be done to make sure that those gains are self sustaining, as it were. Capacity building is really the key to that."


A new chief for the Australian-led mission has been announced.

A senior Australian diplomat Tim George will replace the special co-ordinator James Batley, who completes his contract in November.

Until recently, Mr George was Australia's ambassador to Israel and before that served as ambassador to Spain and has held senior diplomatic posts in Fiji and New Zealand.