28 Apr 2008

Resentment said to be growing in Solomon Islands over RAMSI

10:48 am on 28 April 2008

A report by the independent Australian organisation, AID/Watch, says resentment is growing in the Solomon Islands over the Regional Assistance mission or RAMSI.

The paper, due to be released this week, says the Australian-led peacekeeping mission there is driving up prices and leaving the local people much worse off.

A report on the study in the Age newspaper says many of the aid workers, soldiers, police and contacted companies involved have a strong interest in keeping the operation going.

AID/Watch says local people appreciate the improvement in security provided by the Australian and other regional military personnel and police.

But it says that support is being undermined by a growing feeling that Solomon Islanders are economically deprived, compared to enclaves of long-term and relatively wealthy aid workers.

A senior lecturer in political economy at Sydney University, Dr Tim Anderson, who prepared the AID/Watch report, recommended that the mission should be wound down gradually.

AID/Watch co-director Flint Duxfield said that injecting more than a billion dollars in aid money through a project with no clear long-term purpose and no exit strategy was bound to create problems