22 Jul 2004

Solomon Islanders reflect on RAMSI anniversary

5:31 pm on 22 July 2004

Solomon Islands is preparing for a weekend of celebrations to mark the first anniversary of the Regional Assistance Mission's presence in the country.

The celebrations will coincide with the withdrawal of a large percentage of the military personnel from Australia and New Zealand.

The chairman of the National Peace Council, Paul Tovua says the celebrations will reflect not only the success of the operation but the support it has received throughout the country.

But Mr Tovua says there is a lot of rebuilding work left for Solomon Islanders to continue...

"They now have to do a lot of work so that if in the end RAMSI does leave the country at least a lot of the things will be in a position to sustain the level of peace that has been achieved."

Meanwhile, Dolores Elima, a Programme officer with international charity organisation OXFAM, says the most noticeable change since RAMSI's arrival has been the frequent and regular presence of police in Honiara.

But despite the improvement in security, she says some Solomon Islanders had higher hopes for RAMSI's impact there...

Before, there was a perception that RAMSI would come in and do up the roads and fix the clinics and stuff like that and when they say that issues for roads and clinics and hospital and roads are still here they think that RAMSI has failed.

Dolores Elima from OXFAM