28 Apr 2008

Gap between RAMSI work and people's goals, says NGO

7:48 pm on 28 April 2008

An Australian foreign aid watchdog says there's a vital disjunct between what RAMSI is doing in Solomon Islands and what the people want.

The report, commissioned by AidWatch, finds that the billion dollar operation has triggered inflation, and says RAMSI has focussed on state-building and governance issues, which was not its original purpose.

But Dr Tim Anderson says there's not enough communication, and RAMSI needs to listen to Solomon Islanders.

"You recall, back in 2003, one of the main rationales for the Australians going in was in that flush of enthusiasm of invading other countries in the Middle East, that you could go in and build a state in those countries. So they're still talking state-building here, as though RAMSI is actually involved in institution building in the Solomons, really it's not. The Solomon Islanders are talking about reconstructing their own institutions."

Dr Anderson says RAMSI has created its own bubble economy, where RAMSI personnel are the only people who can afford some goods and services, especially housing.