Solomon Islands. During the year, the authorities again
began to arm the police force in the kingdom, which had not
had access to weapons since the civil war in 1999–2003. In
the time when ethnically dominated violence was killed over
a hundred people; some policemen chose sides in the conflict
and police weapons were used in the fighting. The police
force was then deprived of their weapons when a regional
peace force arrived in the Solomon Islands.
Countryaah.com, the Australian-led peace force completed its mission
after 14 years at the turn of the year. Nearly 9,000
soldiers and police from Australia, New Zealand and 13
smaller island nations had participated in the peace mission
at a cost of nearly SEK 18 billion.
When the municipality's own police force regained
responsibility for security, 125 specially trained police
officers were given access to weapons. There was some
concern about whether peace could be maintained, and Prime
Minister Manasseh Sogavare explained that the country stands
at a crossroads in its history. In August, therefore, the
Solomon Islands and Australia signed a new security
agreement, which opens for a rapid Australian response in
the event of future natural disasters or new outbreaks of
mutual fighting. Both military and civilian personnel should
be able to deploy in a crisis situation to offer security
and humanitarian assistance.
The government said during the year that it planned to
reopen the Solomon Islands' only gold mine, the Gold Ridge.
It was closed after severe flooding in 2014 by concerns
about discharges into river water by arsenic and other toxic
substances from a waste pond. The mine previously accounted
for about 5% of the GDP of the country. Solomon Islands GDP
is estimated at around SEK 12,500, which is about a quarter
of the corresponding Australian figure.
In November, several ministers rebelled against proposals
for tougher anti-corruption laws. Prime Minister Manasseh
Sogavare was cast in a vote of confidence in parliament and
succeeded by former central bank governor Rick Houenipwel.