4 Feb 2008

Think tank fails to understand limits on RAMSI imposed by mandate - acting special co-ordinator

8:38 pm on 4 February 2008

The Acting Special Coordinator of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, Dr Jonathan Austin says a Centre for Independent Studies report on the economic development of Solomon Islands fails to understand RAMSI's role.

The think tank's Gaurav Sodhi says RAMSI had only achieved half its mission and needed to focus on education, health and agriculture.

But Dr Austin says RAMSI has a very clear mandate and cannot make sweeping changes on its own.

"And that mandate says that RAMSI should focus on law and justice, on the machinery of government and economic governance. And that is the work that we have been doing. This report says that we should be getting involved in other areas like health and education - not something you can just do unilaterally, just because we feel like doing it or we think that is the best thing for the country."

Dr Jonathan Austin of RAMSI.

Last month the new Prime Minister of the Solomons, Dr Derek Sikua, said he wanted RAMSI to expand its role in rural areas.