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.
According to 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.