Solomon Islands is not the place it used to be before the ethnic tension in 1997, especially on Malaita and Guadalcanal where much of the fighting and criminal activity has taken place. At the end of May this year, when the government amnesty for those in possession of firearms and stolen property such as motor vehicles, expired, life has been slowly returning to normal. No more gunshots are heard; theft, drunkenness and the demanding of compensation have all reduced dramatically.
The change has come about mainly through the surrender of guns to the Peace Monitoring Teams. The Melanesian Brotherhood has played a crucial role in bringing about the relative calm which now exists. The first phase of their mission was to meet with the warring factions, seeking to bring an end to the killing and destruction. Now they have entered their second phase - also a pastoral approach - seeking to persuade militants to give up their arms and find peace.
The police are slowly gaining control in Honiara & Auki and there is much less crime and vandalism as time goes by. The whole nation has suffered and people now want peace and reconciliation. Talks are beginning for the reopening of Gold Ridge mine and the Palm Oil industry which were the backbone of the nation's economy in pre-conflict days, but there is a realisation that it is going to be many years before the economy recovers.
Article from: Melanesian News