19 Mar 2003

Grand development scheme in Solomons scrapped

11:20 am on 19 March 2003

A member of an international consortium which had planned a series of major developments in Solomon Islands, says it is dropping out of the scheme because of the divisiveness and corruption within the country.

The plan was for a four-star hotel with an international golf course, upgraded air services, an international university, and free trade zones where visitors could buy duty-free goods and local produce.

The man, who asks not to be named, says they had also offered to refurbish the National Referral Hospital, to ensure that tourists could be certain of medical help.

The head of the Government's policy evaluation unit, Sir George Lepping, says the Government has agreed in principle to the scheme, and is now considering the feasibility of it.

But the consortium has already decided to scrap the plan saying the atmosphere in the country is not attractive for international investors, and that a significant element in the Government is not prepared to back it.