RAMSI humbled by high turnout at farewell parade

The Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) is humbled by the high turn-out at a public parade in the capital Honiara today (26 June) to farewell the Mission which ends this Friday 30 June 2017.

Several hundred members of the public including groups representing Government Ministries, non-government organisations, the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force, women’s organisations, schools and RAMSI marched through Honiara as part of the five-day farewell celebrations.

“We were humbled by the high turnout at the public parade this morning which is a clear manifestation of the impact that RAMSI has had on the lives of everyone in Solomon Islands. This is a celebration not only of what the Mission has been able to achieve, but more a celebration of the success of the partnership between the governments and people of Solomon Islands and the 15-member countries of the Pacific Islands Forum,” said Quinton Devlin, the RAMSI Special Coordinator, who also joined the parade.

Mr Devlin said: “Members of the public in Honiara and those who are in town from the provinces are encouraged to join the public events planned for the rest of this week because this is not only about RAMSI but about what everyone has contributed, big or small, to bring back the country’s ‘Hapi Isles’ name from the near ‘failed state’ status before the Mission arrived in 2003.

After 14 years of assistance from RAMSI, the RSIPF is ready to take full responsibility for maintaining law and order and the security of Solomon Islands, but the police cannot do it alone. Law enforcement agencies need the support of everyone in the country.

While RAMSI will end, the Mission’s participating countries will not abandon Solomon Islands. Australia and New Zealand will provide, for example, bilateral policing assistance to the RSIPF from July. Solomon Islands is also finalising a treaty with Australia that would facilitate faster assistance if both nations agreed that help from Australia was required in the case of a natural disaster or other crisis.