RAMSI drawdown outreach reaches major milestone

 Marking another major milestone in the drawdown of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI), senior representatives of the Solomon Islands Government, Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) and RAMSI have now visited, thanked and farewelled all nine provincial governments and assemblies, the Honiara City Council and the National Parliament.

The honourable members of the Rennell and Bellona Provincial Assembly were the last to be briefed earlier this month in the provincial capital of Tigoa.

In addition to briefing the provincial authorities over the last three months, the officials have also explained to provincial and rural communities the extensive preparations for RAMSI’s departure, their confidence in the RSIPF, and the bilateral security support that Australia and New Zealand will provide after RAMSI leaves on 30 June 2017.

The outreach teams spoke at schools, markets, business houses and churches across the nation – from Mono in the Shortland Islands of the Western Province, Santa Cruz in the Temotu Province, the Faumamanu Market in East Malaita, and the New Place Provincial Secondary in Tigoa, Renbel Province.

“RAMSI wishes to thank the national and provincial governments, chiefs, churches, community and business leaders, women and youth representatives for the opportunity to brief them, and just as importantly, the opportunity to hear directly from them,” said Quinton Devlin, RAMSI’s Special Coordinator.

“I also wish to express our deep appreciation to the many men and women that helped with the planning and logistics, including but not limited to the Provincial Secretaries and Provincial Police Commanders”.

Mr Devlin continued: “I was humbled by the heartfelt words of appreciation and the personal stories of what it meant to thousands of families when RAMSI ended the violence and suffering. It was also very heartening to meet Solomon Islanders that were, optimistically, getting on with their lives and building futures for their children”.

The Special Coordinator added: “I am confident that law and order will be maintained by the RSIPF after RAMSI leaves. After 14 years of training from RAMSI, the RSIPF is a professional and capable force that deserves the trust of the public and can deal with the security issues that are likely to face this country in the future”.

“No country has zero crime. No police service is perfect. And the task of maintaining law and order should not be left to the police alone,” he said.

“Lasting peace requires everyone to take responsibility for their own security – in their home, village, province and nation. The best way forward is for the police and communities to partner together, at the village level up to national level, to prevent crime before it happens,” argued the Special Coordinator.

The SIG, RSIPF and RAMSI outreach teams will continue to engage with communities until RAMSI leaves next month.  They will be, for example, returning to the Weathercoast of Guadalcanal, several times over coming weeks.