Stakeholders briefed on RAMSI drawdown

Senior representatives of the Solomon Islands Government (SIG), the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) and the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) and Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat this week discussed preparations for RAMSI’s departure in June 2017 with a range of important stakeholders.

Specifically, they briefed women leaders attending a National Women’s Summit on Peace and Security, Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Government agencies, and RSIPF Provincial Police Commanders and departmental Directors.

“The briefings provided a wonderful opportunity to update three important partners in the Solomon Islands peace ‘equation’ on RAMSI’s drawdown and our confidence in the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force to maintain law and order when RAMSI leaves in nine months,” said Quinton Devlin, Special Coordinator of RAMSI.

“It was also very encouraging to hear important government and community stakeholders acknowledge that RAMSI had achieved its mission and it was now time for Solomon Islands to stand up and accept responsibility for the security of this nation,” he added.

Solomon Islands Government representatives echoed these view.

“One of the questions commonly asked is what will happen after RAMSI ends. My answer is that the Government is implementing a broad range of plans to ensure nothing will change,” said John Wasi, SIG Special Secretary to RAMSI.

“In addition to supporting police development and believing in the capacity of the police to do the job asked of them, the Government is focused on prioritising the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Report, pursuing political reforms and addressing land and development issues.”

“The Government is also confident that our regional neighbours are not abandoning us just because RAMSI is ending. SIG is already working closely with countries such as Australia and New Zealand to develop bilateral policing support programs. The Governments of Solomon Islands and Australia have also commenced discussions about a mechanism that would enable Solomon Islands to ask for urgent operational assistance from Australia if an emergency arose,” said Mr Wasi.

He added: “SIG is also collaborating with our regional neighbours such as Papua New Guinea and the MSG member countries on Police to Police cooperation, hence, regional assistance in another form will still exist. Also cooperation with donors such as the United Nations Development Program on peace building initiatives also exists.

Mr Wasi emphasised: “But as citizens of Solomon Islands, the responsibility of maintaining law and order rests on our shoulders. We must take this solemn responsibility seriously because the future of our children depends on a safe and secure community.”

The briefings on the RAMSI drawdown and post-RAMSI arrangements will continue in the coming months both in Honiara and the provinces.