28 Mar 2011

Report argues RAMSI-type security deterrent essential for Solomon Islands

7:01 am on 28 March 2011

A report on the future of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands argues strongly for the retention of some form of security deterrent as the country loses its economic mainstay, logging.

Successive Solomon Islands governments have pushed for an end point to the mission.

However the report, written for the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, argues that an external security guarantee will need to be maintained and RAMSI provides a useful vehicle for that.

The report's author, Dr Matthew Allen of the Australian National University, says while Solomon Islands is more dependent than it's ever been on the export of round logs, technical assessments show the end of the logging industry's only about four years away.

"The last time the logging industry collapsed in Solomon Islands was in the late 1990s because of the Asian financial crisis and that of course coincided in time with the outbreak of the so-called ethnic tension on Guadalcanal which ultimately resulted in the deployment of RAMSI. So the collapse of logging is one issue and the other is the fact that few sources of growth which are on the horizon for Solomon Islands entail more enclave development."