20 Jul 2006

Devolution seen as one way to bring governance closer to Solomon Islanders -commentator

12:55 pm on 20 July 2006

A commentator in Solomon Islands says the Regional Assistance Mission, or RAMSI, needs to realise that most people want to see a devolution of power from Honiara.

The NGO Oxfam has today brought out a blunt report calling for a change in approach by RAMSI else its efforts to help rebuild Solomon Islands will fail.

Oxfam's Bridging the Gap report says RAMSI needs to involve the people more and one key to this is to increase governance at the community level.

Ashley Wickham, a journalist and an official in the government deposed by the coup in 2000, says there is a strong demand from Solomon Islanders for devolution.

"There are seven thousand village communities in the country. Honiara is just one of them and it has all the control. It is a contextual thing. It is also about island life versus metropolitan life and we don't think that RAMSI fully understands that yet."