Dear Sir,

I haven't had the opportunity to read this work of triumph by the various women who put the book together.

Up to this point, I have only read the ongoing debate. Writing a book is not easy. It's time-consuming, costly and demands a lot of patience, a commodity many of us don't have.

So let me congratulate the women who saw the need for this work and have successfully translated their thoughts on it for our record.

Having said that, I think what makes this book stand apart is the financial support RAMSI has provided to produce it.

Without the financial input from RAMSI, I doubt the book would see the light of day. Books are easy to write and there are many, many topics of interests crying out for recognition in Solomon Islands.

The greatest difficulty is money.

To give you some idea, the book by Sir Peter Kenilorea, edited by an academic from The Queensland University, cost AUD1 million to publish. Taiwan kindly provided the money.

Books these days are published largely on the basis of who you know and secondly if its contents are in support either directly or indirectly of the agenda set by the funder.

Let me give you an example. Some years ago I was encouraged by RAMSI-affiliated academics, to write a book in my capacity as former Minister of State, Assisting the Prime Minister on how I saw the ethnic tension unfolded. I was asked for example, to come up with a potential title, an outline for the book [chapter by chapter] and cost - things I spent hours to put together.

Six, seven years on, I am still waiting to hear from those guys at the ANU. Not even an acknowledgement of the proposal has been received.

A similar proposal was sent to the Macmillan Centre in New Zealand which kindly informed me that the Centre did not have money for such a project.

My conclusion is that some of us are not qualified in the two departments indicated above.

The book on Solomon Islands' First Women has a clear agenda that RAMSI has been drumming since its arrival - the need to recognize the important role our women have and continue to play in our young and evolving democracy.

That is why funding this project is so easy. It would have been very difficult otherwise for any other reason.

S Alfred Sasako