29 Nov 2006

Solomon Islands capacity building going well, says new RAMSI head

8:29 pm on 29 November 2006

The new head of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands says capacity building is progressing well.

Tim George took over from fellow Australian James Batley as RAMSI's Special Co-ordinator earlier this month.

His arrival coincides with the announcement of a new review of RAMSI commissioned by the Pacific Forum leaders at its recent summit.

The came amid strong criticism by Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare about the Australian-dominance of RAMSI and key positions in the civil service.

Mr George says capacity building remains a key aim of RAMSI and admits there's still a long way to go.

"Over the last year I think there were about 99 new recruits graduated into the Police Force. There were more Solomon Islanders appointed to new positions in the Force. There were more recruits in the Solomon Islands Prison Service, and in the Legal area, a Solomon Islander appointed as the Director of Public Prosecution. In terms of the Civil Service, there's been some good progress there I think with accelerated recruitment into the service."

Tim George