Wisdom rules in the Solomons Islands
Rowan Callick, 22/4/10
An Australian Pacific imperium is on view today – in a benign version – in Solomon Islands. It has cost more than $1 billion across six years. But unlike the more expensive aid program to Papua New Guinea, it is working, and still winning applause. Military vehicles run around the capital, Honiara, with the word army stencilled next to the image of a kangaroo. Flights to the country are crammed with Australian experts, keeping the hotels so busy that the King Solomon is building a special club room for them. The Solomon Islands government shifts into caretaker mode this weekend in readiness for a June election, when almost half the 50 MPs may lose their seats. But every political leader and 88 per cent of the 600,000 population, according to a new survey, insist that the highly visible Australian presence must continue.