Pacific Partnership: Sustainability Key to Success in Solomon Islands

Posted by Thomas E. Weinz
August 21, 2009
People Next to Ocean Near Honiara, Solomon Islands

About the Author: Tom Weinz served as the Foreign Service Liaison Officer (FSLO) aboard the USNS Richard E. Byrd for Pacific Partnership 2009 (PP09).

Early in this series, I reflected on how our best-laid plans often take a detour. My personal detour came in French New Caledonia, when some medical tests prevented my sailing with the USNS Byrd, and I subsequently returned to the Washington, DC area. Although I know both Solomon Islands, and PP09's specific mission, very well, I am sorry to miss what continues to be an effective and mutually beneficial undertaking. Guadalcanal Day memorial services were held early on August 7 at the well-kept American Memorial on Skyline Ridge, overlooking Iron Bottom Sound. Americans and Solomon Islanders alike gathered to reflect on the profound events that took place there in 1942-1943.

A few days later, as I was monitoring PP09 activity in Solomon Islands from my home, I read an article in the Solomon Islands “Island Sun” newspaper lauding the Pacific Partnership effort, but pleading for sustainability, an equally important concept to Pacific Partnership planners and participants. These events and emotions resonate with me, what that means, and how it impacts people in their daily lives.

Solomon Islands is at a critical juncture. In 2003, the Solomon Islands Parliament requested assistance to stabilize their country, socially and economically. The response came in the guise of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI), military, police and civilian personnel from fifteen Pacific countries working to help Solomon Islanders achieve peace and stability. Sustainability is key to their plans also. Pacific Partnership responded to requests to provide assistance to both Guadalcanal and Malaita, the two key islands responsible for a better future. As I write this, the Byrd is leaving the Solomon Islands, after treating thousands of people and renovating additional schools and hospitals, and constructing teaching facilities for the local Red Cross. Though their stay was not long, PP09 personnel have done much to contribute to sustainability in health care and education for all the people of Solomon Islands.

Read Tom's previous entry en route to the Solomon Islands or his next entry about PP09 in Kiribati.



David S.
Texas, USA
August 21, 2009

David S. in Texas writes:

Tom represents the best of us. Foreign Service Representatives such as Tom help all of us understand our world better and help us to appreciate how America can have the best impact possible in underdeveloped areas of the world.

Thanks Tom.

Best Regards,

New Mexico, USA
August 25, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Sorry to hear your cruise got cut short Tom, hope you are feeling better.


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