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Send the unemployed home, archbishop says: The Church of England Newspaper, May 20, 2012 p 6. May 28, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Melanesia, Church of England Newspaper, Crime.
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Archbishop David Vunagi

The Archbishop of  Melanesia has urged the government of the Solomon Islands to halt the influx of rural villagers to the country’s capital Honiara saying there is neither work nor a place for them to live. The lack of opportunity has led to a sharp jump in crime, Archbishop David Vunagi told Radio Australia on 25 April 2012. He believed the capital was experiencing a spike in crime because of “the struggle to survive.”

“As long as we continue to have people who are doing nothing in Honiara, this is where all this criminal activity is beginning to develop; stealing, shoplifting, even snatching people’s bags as they walk past, all these things. And even worse, even wounding and killing,” the archbishop said.

“That’s why I think maybe these are people who are supposed to go back to the rural areas and use the subsistence lifestyle…where they can fish, they can grow something to eat … Coming to live in town they’re frustrated about life…they have to do something that is inappropriate for everybody,” the archbishop said.

Slowly recovering from a four year civil war and the effects of a 2007 tsunami, the Solomon Islands is classified as a less developed country with a per capita income of $600 per year.  Over 75 per cent of the population is engaged in subsistence agriculture.  Described as a “failed state” by political analysts, the Solomon Islands government is assisted by a Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) with military and civilian assistance provided by Australia, New Zealand and other Pacific nations.

Archbishop Vunagi stated the church was doing what it could to help, but there were “members of the community, who escape the net of the church, and this is where I believe the government, the law of the country needs to be firm, needs to be articulate to address such issues.”

“Our country, Solomon Islands is a small country…we need to develop more human attitude and behaviour…so that our personal problems we should not push it onto others. We should not take it onto others,” the archbishop said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.