Biographical entry: Hilly, Francis Billy (1948 - )

20 July 1948
Prime Minister


Francis Billy Hilly was born on 20 July 1948 at Emu Harbour on Ranongga Island, Western District. He was educated at the Government Primary School in Honiara (1958-1962), King George VI School (q.v.) (1963-1966), and then at University of the South Pacific (1968-1973), where he was a representative on the Students' Council and the first student to graduate with a B.A. (Administration). Before entering politics he worked as a District Officer (1974), as Clerk to Makira Province (1975), and then as Manager of the British Solomons Trading Company in Gizo (1976).

Hilly entered the Legislative Assembly (q.v.) as the member for Ranongga/Simbo in 1976. He was appointed Minister for Home Affairs in the 1976 Kenilorea government but resigned in May 1978 in support of the Western Breakaway Movement (q.v.) which was lobbying for independence for Western District due to fears of Malaitan dominance of the Central Government. The movement was also influenced by Bougainville's secessionist movement. The particular cause of Hilly's resignation was the publication of the notorious poem 'Ode to the West Wind', which ridiculed the West and its independence claims. Although Hilly retained his seat in the Legislative Assembly, he also contested and won the Provincial Assembly seat of South Ranongga in 1979, and subsequently replaced Jerry Buare to become President of the Western Council (1979-1980). The Kausimae Report in 1979 and compensation paid for 'Ode to the West Wind' diffused tensions with the West. After re-election in August of 1980, Hilly became leader of the Independent Group, which held ten of the thirty-eight seats in Parliament and, alongside Kenilorea's United Party's sixteen seats, The Independent Group became the junior coalition partner in government. Hilly was appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health and Medical Services.

Hilly left Parliament from 1984 to 1993 to pursue his own business interests, but in 1993 he was re-elected to the Ranongga/Simbo seat. He was Prime Minister from June 1993 to November 1994 and Leader of the Opposition in 1994-1995 and 2004-2006. Hilly was one of the two candidates for Prime Minister in June 2000, but lost out to Manasseh Sogavare (q.v.). In July 2004 he became Leader of the Opposition until April 2006. He was Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee 2004-2005 and Chairman of the Parliamentary House Committee in 2006. He opposed the election of Snyder Rini as Prime Minister in 2006 and alleged that bribes had been paid. In May 2006 he became Minister of Commerce, Industries and Employment in the second Sogavare Government, but was dismissed from the position that August over a disagreement on the relationship with Taiwan. In 2007 he joined the Sikua Government as Minister for Commerce, Industry and Employment. He was knighted in 2012.( [accessed 11 May 2010]; SND 9 July 1976; [accessed 3 Aug. 2011])

Related Concepts

Published resources


  • Solomons News Drum, 1974-1982. Details