Solomon Star

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (July 6) - It’s been 27 years since the Solomon Islands gained political independence from Britain, on 7 July 1978.

We are still a young and developing nation. And as a developing democracy, we still have a long way to go.

Having come this far, however, it is an opportune time we sit down and reflect on the past 27 years.

How well have we performed in the last 27 years? Why is the country going backwards instead of moving forward?

Why do we continue to rely heavily on foreign aid money even after 27 years of self-rule?

Certainly, something is wrong.

We have almost finished harvesting our forests and other land resources. Our waters were almost emptied of its valuable resources. Millions of dollars of aid money were poured into the country each year.

Yet, the economic situation in the country remained dismal. People’s quality of live has not improved. We continue to live off handouts all the time.

Very little economic development, if any, could be seen in the rural parts of the country.

It was quite unbelievable to think that a country that was blessed with so many resources could achieve very little even after 27 years of self-determination.

But that is the situation we have today.

The challenge before us all today is to grasp the opportunity that is before us and turn the situation around.

Our friends from the region through RAMSI have provided the right environment for Solomon Islanders to turn their country around.

We have our natural and human resources. All we need is the right leadership. Leaders, who lead with dignity, are selfless and have the interest of the nation at heart.

We all know where we went wrong in the past. We also know where our weaknesses are.

If we can right our wrongs and improve from our mistakes, we can make Solomon Islands a successful and happy place for our children to enjoy in the future.

July 7, 2005

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