RAMSI is Islands Business’s Choice for its 2017 Entity of the Year
SUVA, Fiji – December 6: 12.45pm (IB): RAMSI – the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands – that was sponsored by the Pacific Islands Forum and largely funded by the Australian Government is the Islands Business’ choice for 2017’s Pacific’s Entity of the Year.
The regional news and business monthly said RAMSI was its unanimous choice for its traditional December award for the remarkable transformation it carried out in Solomon Islands.
Editor in Chief Samisoni Pareti said RAMSI – in spite of all the controversies the mission generated — had contributed immensely to restoring peace and stability to the Pacific island nation after five-long years of civil conflict.
“For staying true to its mission, sparring no expenses that ballooned to a massive AU$2.3 billion, ripping away terror and replacing it with peace in the homes of ordinary Solomon Islanders in so doing restoring the name Hapi Isles back to this archipelago of 600,000 people and instilling genuine hope especially in the lives of its young people, RAMSI – the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands – is our Pacific’s Entity of the Year for 2017,” the magazine said.
“What started as an ethnic tension between the landowners of Honiara, the capital of Solomon Islands and tenants or residents from neighbouring Malaita Island in late 1998, soon escalated into a full blown conflict in which hundreds of men, women and children were killed and thousands more lost their homes and were displaced.
“To this day, official accounts speak in estimates only. The civil conflict of 1998 to 2003 is estimated to have cost the lives of 200 people and displaced between 20,000 to 35,000 men, women and children. Of the latter, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission estimates that 18,000 of those displaced were from Malaita alone.”
Islands Business acknowledges criticisms that have been leveled against RAMSI, including its supposed inaction in addressing accountability and stamping out corruption.
However, the Suva based regional magazine commended the regional initiative for restoring law and order in this conflict torn island nation, and for rescuing Solomon Islands from the brink of a failed state.
“Critics of the regional initiative would be quick to point out that RAMSI has very limited success if not failed totally in rebuilding government accountability and fighting corruption, but there is no denying that civil order has been restored not only in the capital Honiara but throughout the rest of Solomon Islands,” the magazine said.
“One of the many poignant images to come out after RAMSI forces comprising Australians, Fijians and Tongan soldiers landed at Henderson Airfields on Thursday, 24 July 2003 were that of the surrendered weapons used during the conflict being set alight and destroyed.”
After 14 years of rebuilding work in the island nation, RAMSI withdrew officially from Solomon Islands in June this year.
The mission was made up of thousands of policemen, soldiers and diplomats from the 15 member governments of the Pacific Islands Forum, which reportedly cost the Australian Government more than AUD2 billion.
Islands Business’s December edition will be out for sale this week, although earlier copies can be read on its website, www.islandsbusiness.com.
The magazine is the flagship of the Suva-based publishing house, Front Page Limited that is owned by four Fijian journalists and communication consultants.
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