9 Jul 2012

Solomons hosting successful arts festival despite doubts

7:15 am on 9 July 2012

Thousands of Solomon Islanders are flocking to the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts, now into its second week in the capital, Honiara.

Despite widespread doubt about the capabilities of a country that, only a decade ago, suffered serious governance problems, to stage such a big event, it is being judged a success by all involved.

On July the 7th Solomon Islands marked its 34th year of independence from Britain and the prime minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo, says the festival is a milestone for a young country.

"Everybody doubted that Solomon Islands would be able to do it. And in fact you have confirmations from participating countries coming in very late to us, because everybody doubted that we would be able to host the festival, in a scale like this, and in the way that we are doing. Now we are not saying that we are doing it very well, but I am just giving you some kind of example of how a society can work out very well."

Gordon Darcy Lilo says hosting the Festival of Pacific Arts is a strong sign that the country is recovering from the ethnic tensions.