Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and Leaders of the 15 countries that contributed to the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands hailed the success of the RAMSI partnership during the official unveiling of the RAMSI Monument in the grounds of the Central Police Station in Honiara this morning.
During his opening remarks, Prime Minister Sogavare thanked the countries of the Pacific Islands Forum and paid tribute to the contributions and sacrifices made by RAMSI personnel.
Designed by renowned Solomon Islands sculptor, Frank Haiku, the monument was constructed to mark and leave a permanent reminder of the contributions of RAMSI over 14 years to restore law and order, stabilise Solomon Islands’ finances and re-start the national institutions following the ‘Tensions’.
The striking monument is ringed by the flags of the 15 RAMSI contributing countries and topped with a white dove of peace in flight, clearly visible to all who pass by its prominent location on the main street of Honiara. In the foreground, the figures of two Solomon Islanders face each other to exchange shell money in a traditional peace ceremony.
RAMSI Special Coordinator, Quinton Devlin cut the ribbon with the Pacific Islands Forum Chair, H.E. President Peter Christian from Federated States of Micronesia, Prime Minister Sogavare and Forum Secretary-General Dame Meg Taylor.
After the unveiling, the Special Coordinator remarked that “The symbolism of the design sits perfectlywith the spirit of RAMSI. For the last 14 years, RAMSI has sought to provide the time and space for national healing, and the peace dove is it at the centre of the emblem of RAMSI ‘Operation Helpem Fren’.”
The inscription on the monument reads: “Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) 24 July 2003 – 30 June 2017 In commemoration of the thousands of police, military, civilian advisers and diplomats from 15 Pacific Islands nations that rescued Solomon Islands from lawlessness and reversed the country’s descent towards economic collapse and state failure. Operation Helpem Fren, led by Australia, stopped the violence and rebuilt the nation so that Solomon Islanders could regain control of their country, lives and future. RAMSI returned hope and stability to the Hapi Isles.
This monument was unveiled on the eve of RAMSI’s departure in the presence of Pacific Islands Forum Leaders to acknowledge the region’s enormous contribution to the reconstruction of Solomon Islands and as a reminder to future generations of Solomon Islanders that the trauma and mistakes of the past must never be repeated. “That men should brothers be, make nations see.” – extract from the National Anthem of Solomon Islands.
The RAMSI monument was unveiled as part of the final day of RAMSI Farewell celebrations.