26 Nov 2003

Capacity building in Solomon Islands is vital says intervention advocate

4:38 pm on 26 November 2003

Australia is being warned that it must build up Solomon Islanders skills and capacity to govern their own country or risk the work that has been done so far.

Dr Ellie Wainwright, from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, says while the military section of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands or RAMSI, can be reduced, the police presence must be maintained.

She says Australia should be prepared to be in Solomon Islands for the next ten years.

Dr Wainwright says it will take that long before the culture of corruption is replaced.

"The police will have to remain for a number of years to build up the RSIP, the Royal Solomon Islands Police, to conduct their criminal investigations, to ensure that this climate of law and order remains. One of the key challenges for the Regional Assistance Mission is going to be to build up Solomon Islanders' skills and capacity to govern their own country."

Dr Wainwright wrote the report proposing that Australia needed to send in an armed force to Solomon Islands to restore law and order as well as take control of the country's finances.

She is visiting New Zealand for Asia 2000's Seriously Asia forum which opens today in Wellington.