24 Jul 2013

Solomons marks RAMSI's first decade

3:07 pm on 24 July 2013

The national sports stadium in the Solomon Islands capital, Honiara, today resounded with the anthems of several Pacific Island countries as their leaders attended celebrations marking a decade of the regional assistance mission..

RAMSI, as it was dubbed in 2003 soon after soldiers an police were deployed to Solomon Island after five years of civil unrest, is being downsized to a policing-only operation and its development component transferred to bilateral aid agreements.

Annell Husband reports from Honiara.

"Two platoons of Royal Solomon Islands Police and the police marching band endured a three hour stand in searing heat as the ceremony marking RAMSI's tenth anniversary took place. The prime minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo, emphasised the country's gratitude to the mission's people for rescuing the country from a time when, as he put it, there was no hope. He asked those attending the ceremony and those listening to its live radio broadcast to observe a moment's silence for the RAMSI personnel who gave their lives for the operation. He says the real test of RAMSI will be what the people of Solomon Islands do now, whether the nation holds together or crumbles into individual microcosms."