Isabel Province confirms support for RSIPF as RAMSI exits

Isabel Premier James Habu has re-pledged the provincial government’s support to the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) as it prepares for the conclusion of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) in June 2017.

Welcoming the RSIPF’s new crime prevention and community policing model, the Premier and his Executive were pleased to receive reassurances earlier this week from a high-level delegation from Honiara that the national government and police force were ready for RAMSI’s departure.

The delegation included Solomon Islands Government (SIG) Special Secretary to RAMSI John Wasi, RSIPF Deputy Commissioner Juanita Matanga, RAMSI Special Coordinator Quinton Devlin and RAMSI Participating Police Force Pacific Islands Contingent Commander Logo Filipo.

In particular, the Provincial Government welcomed confirmation that the small number of specialist police officers to be rearmed had been carefully selected and each had met the very high standards of discipline and professionalism set by RAMSI trainers, and that robust systems of accountability and transparency would be in place before the SIG gave its approval for the limited rearmament of the RSIPF.

Special Coordinator Quinton Devlin also explained that while the 15-nation RAMSI mission would end in ten months, substantial ongoing policing assistance from RAMSI contributing nations such as Australia and New Zealand would continue bilaterally in areas identified by the national government.

In addition to briefing the Provincial Government, the high-level delegation also spoke with chiefs, locals from the provincial capital and surrounding areas and other visitors to the Kodili Festival from the main festival stage in Buala.

Over 800 people sat down and listened to the SIG and RAMSI officials, who stayed and answered a broad range of questions about policing in Solomon Islands.

RSIPF and RAMSI representatives also operated a stall at the Kodili Festival, which attracted large crowds all week. Community police officers and Buala-based policemen and women, working alongside RAMSI officials, talked to community members about everything from road safety and crime prevention, to tackling alcohol abuse and family violence.

Several thousand people passed through the Festival, with many visiting the RSIPF-RAMSI stall to receive information about policing issues, the drawdown of RAMSI and the national government’s preparations to resume full responsibility for policing and national security and continue with its peace-building and nation-building efforts.

Separately, in an event hosted by the Isabel Development Corporation (IDC), Premier Habu paid tribute to RAMSI for bringing peace to Solomon Islands so that businesses like the IDC could flourish.