Wednesday, 26 September 2007 12:45 PM

Solomon Islanders Want RAMSI to Stay: Survey

An independent nationwide survey of Solomon Islanders' opinions has revealed strong support for RAMSI's continued presence in the country.

Key findings of the People Survey 2007 found that 90 per cent of Solomon Islanders want RAMSI to stay and 80 per cent feared a return of violence if RAMSI was to leave.

The People's Survey, to be released on Thursday, is conducted by the Australian National University, with the assistance of the National Statistics Office, and is now an annual part of the Solomon Islands Government and RAMSI's review process.

Special Coordinator for RAMSI, Tim George said the "very encouraging" results of the survey for all members of RAMSI mission "... is ... such a strong feedback from the community saying, yes, please continue to help us rebuild Solomon Islands".

Mr. George also said that people from 15 countries have come with a commitment to working together with Solomon Islanders to help them build a better future.

Of the 5154 Solomon Islanders questioned:
. 90 per cent said they support the presence of RAMSI mission.
. 53 per cent said that violence 'would' return to Solomon Islands if RAMSI left soon.
. 27 per cent said 'maybe' violence would return if RAMSI left soon.

The People's Survey is a way for RAMSI, the Solomon Islands Government and RAMSI contributing countries to measure how RAMSI is performing against its objectives.

The RAMSI head reiterates the mission's high priority on making sure Solomon Islands, RAMSI and the mission's contributing countries had access to reliable information on how Solomon Islanders viewed its work.

"We will now be able to use the information from this independent survey to help us in our ongoing review of RAMSI's operation and effectiveness in Solomon Islands," Mr George said.

Mr George said that RAMSI was keen to sit down with the government and other key stakeholders to explore how the survey information could be used to ensure maximum benefit of RAMSI's work to Solomon Islands.

The survey is based on a questionnaire with questions that cover key development and social issues such as access to services, law and order, corruption and accountability that come under RAMSI's mandate.

More than 80 Solomon Islanders were trained to ask these questions and record the answers of their fellow countrymen.

More than 5000 people in eight provinces volunteered to answer these questions, representing a significant portion of the population.

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