Feb 5, 2014

The Asian mafia with a stranglehold on the Solomon Islands

A criminal syndicate of illegal logging interests threatens the development of the Solomon Islands. While corrupt politicians thrive, ordinary people are left by the wayside, writes freelancer Catherine Wilson, who travelled to the region.

On the edge of a squatter settlement in Honiara, Benjamin (not his real name) has “the mafia” on his mind, a transnational criminal organisation that threatens to derail the slow recovery from civil unrest in the Solomon IslandsĀ and rob his family of their livelihood.

Memories of the “Tensions” (1998-2003) — a civil conflict triggered by unequal access to land, resource benefits and employment made worse by the 1990s Asian economic crisis and government mismanagement — are still fresh. Asian logging interests plundered resources and captured massive windfalls. And the mafia, as he calls them, have since consolidated control of political corruption and expropriated hundreds of millions of dollars of state revenue.

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3 thoughts on “The Asian mafia with a stranglehold on the Solomon Islands

  1. ianmcc

    This is very sad, I see a big disconnect: why would the current government of Australia care in the slightest about this?

  2. zut alors

    It’s difficult to understand why politicians would want to plunder and undermine their own country – particularly when the Solomons have the potential to be a paradise.

  3. JohnB

    Zut, when politicians become only middle men, the interests of the true government are not those of the country.

    Even the words “government” and “politician” change radically to “front office” and “front man or woman”.

    This is akin to when multinationals dictate policy to our Australian governments.

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