• Short Summary

    Celebrations are underway in the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific as the people await the formal granting of independence by Britain on Friday (7 July).

  • Description

    SV: Solomon Island Prime Minister-elect Peter Kenilorea arriving at his home.

    SV: Kenilorea and family in garden

    GV: people in street.(4 shots)

    SV: Kenilorea seated in office.

    SV: Kenilorea speaking in English to reporter. (5 shots)

    PETERSEN: "Peter Kenilorea lives in an unpretentious but large house on a hill overlooking Honiara. He is a family man who likes nothing better than to relax with his wife and four children. 35 years old, he was trained in New Zealand as a school teacher, and then became a public servant. He is a teetotaller and a devout Christian. Since he became Chief Minister two years ago, he has been very active internationally, seeking investment and assistance from Japan, Australia and New Zealand and the Asian Development Bank. He realises that the problems facing him and the Solomon's are considerable. There is, as yet, little sense of national identity. Instead, there are distinct regional jealousies. The country badly needs a better water supply and more schools. Less than half the school-age children attend school. There is little arable land. But there are rich resources still to be fully tapped..(indistinct) fish and minerals. Mr. Kenilorea is, therefore, cautiously optimistic that the country can meet the challenges ahead. He has gained in confidence as a leader, though there is some criticism of his reserved nature, said to be unusual in a Solomon's man. Others thing this is a strength, giving him and his office considerable dignity."

    PETERSEN: "How well did the British prepare you for independence by way of training and infra-structure and so on?"

    KENILOREA: "Well, I think they have done something during the past 85 years, but I would had thought that they could have done a little bit more on the economic development side."

    PETERSEN: "But there has been some suggestion that the British forced the pace of independence a bit faster than you actually wanted here in the Solomon's. Is that the true story?"

    KENILOREA: "That is not a true story. It is not a true story because the Solomon Islands government had decided to get its independence. Once we decided (indistinct) we decided on July this year."

    PETERSEN: "So what would your greatest needs be now on independence

    KENILOREA: "The greatest need now is, of course, to maintain our islands as an independent nation (indistinct) has to be solved. But we need now economic development and we are, we are, looking for outside investors to help us develop our resources to realise this aim."

    Initials RH/2300


    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: Celebrations are underway in the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific as the people await the formal granting of independence by Britain on Friday (7 July). The independence comes after 35 years of British administration and two-and-a-half years of self-government. The long chain of islands, 1,800 kilometres from the Queensland coastline of Australia, has a population of only 200,000. It will become the 37th member country of the multi-racial Commonwealth, whose symbolic head is Queen Elizabeth of England. The new nation's Prime Minister will be the present Chief Minister, Mr. Peter Kenilorea. From the island's capital of Honiara, Neville Peterson, of the Australian Broadcasting Commission, reports.

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