Solomon Islands. According to
COUNTRYAAH, corruption continued to plague the
country. Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said at the
beginning of the year that his newly appointed government
would set up an independent anti-corruption agency. But in
April, the members of Parliament decided on tax exemptions
for their own recently raised wages. Sogavare defended the
measure, but the decision was met by popular protests.
According to the anti-corruption agency Transparency
International, it was "outrageous" in light of an economy
with major shortcomings in schools, services and roads.
Solomon Islands is one of the world's most aid-dependent
countries. Only about a tenth of the residents have paid
work, while most of them live on self-catering.
In May, local landowners on the island of Guadalcanal had
to take over the Gold Ridge gold mine from the Australian
owner. The mine had been lying down for a year after severe
floods that stopped production. The rain of the tropical
cyclones threatened to flood the mine's waste dust with the
risk of discharges of large amounts of arsenic, cyanide and
heavy metals. The mine has previously accounted for about 5%
of the country's GDP.
During the year, the Solomon Islands were haunted by the
cyclone Pam, which caused severe damage to the islands in
the east, where Tikopia was described as a desert landscape
with many houses and 90% of the harvest and fruit trees
Dissatisfaction with Prime Minister Sogavare in October
led to seven of his ministers leaving the government and
demanding his resignation following allegations of
corruption. The opposition demanded a vote of no confidence
against Sogavare, but did not get a sufficient majority so
the vote was withdrawn.
Prior to the UN Climate Summit in Paris in December,
Solomon Islands' first climate refugees were noted.
Residents of the Atong Java Atoll have left their homes,
some 40 miles out in the sea, and settled in a slum area in
the capital Honiara on the Guadalcanal. Their atoll is
flooded with salt water which reduces the harvest while the
population grows. Warmer climates, worse weather, elevated
sea level and worse surge waves are seen as threats to many
of the Solomon Islands low-lying islands.