Special Coordinator, Nicholas Coppel
Nicholas Coppel commenced as Special Coordinator of RAMSI in April 2011. As Special Coordinator, Mr Coppel is responsible for the overall coordination and strategic direction of the Solomon Islands-RAMSI partnership and of RAMSI’s activities in Solomon Islands.
Before commencing his duties with RAMSI, Mr Coppel was most recently Assistant Secretary for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Pacific Regional and New Zealand Branch. Prior to this role, Mr Coppel held a number of senior positions in Canberra and overseas including as Deputy High Commissioner to Port Moresby and Deputy Head of Mission in Manila. Between 2006 and 2008, Mr Coppel was seconded to the Australian Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, where he ran the branch responsible for the Pacific, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and the United Nations.
Mr Coppel holds a Bachelor of Economics degree from the Australian National University and a Master of Business Administration degree from London Business School.
Deputy Special Coordinator, Wayne Higgins
Wayne Higgins commenced as RAMSI’s Deputy Special Coordinator in August 2011. He follows previous RAMSI Deputy Special Coordinators Mary Thurston (2011), Justin Fepulea’i (2009-2011), Jonathan Austin (2007-2009), Paul Ash (2005-2007) and Peter Noble (2003-2005).
As Deputy Special Coordinator, Wayne Higgins provides support and advice to the Special Coordinator, and has specific responsibilities for RAMSI civilian security and the Solomon Islands Government-RAMSI Partnership Framework.
Prior to commencing with RAMSI, he served in the New Zealand Ministry of Defence as the Director of the Planning Branch within the Defence Policy and Planning Unit. Mr Higgins has also served as a Director in the Ministry’s International Defence Relations Branch. Prior to joining the New Zealand Government, he lived in Hong Kong for over 15 years, where he served as an officer in Hong Kong Police Force, working in the criminal investigations, anti-narcotics, and anti-vice units, along with a period serving as a court prosecutor and security specialist, achieving the rank of Chief Inspector.
Mr Higgins holds a BA (Hons.) in History and Politics and an MA in International Relations from the University of Lancaster. In addition to his police career, Mr Higgins played representative rugby for Hong Kong between 1987 and 1991.
Assistant Special Coordinator, Mataiasi Lomaloma
Mataiasi Lomaloma commenced as RAMSI’s Assistant Special Coordinator in July 2005, replacing Sekove Naqiolevu, who served in the position from RAMSI’s inception in July 2003. Mr Lomaloma is from the Republic of Fiji’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade.
As Assistant Special Coordinator, Mataiasi Lomaloma is responsible for peace building, with a strong focus on reconciliation.
Mr Lomaloma started his career as an Army Officer of the Fijian Military Forces. During his military career, he served in a number of peace-keeping operations in the Middle East, including with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) as the Battalion Commander of the Fiji Battalion.
Mr Lomaloma finished his military career in 1990 to join the Fiji Civil Service, serving in the Ministries of Finance, Regional Development and Multi-Ethnic Affairs, Home Affairs and Fijian Affairs. He is a graduate of the Malaysian Armed Forces Staff College.
Commander - Participating Police Force, Paul Osbourne
Paul Osbourne commenced as the Commander of RAMSI’s Participating Police Force in June 2011, following Wayne Buchhorn (Commander, June 2009 to May 2011), Denis McDermott (July 2007 to June 2009), Will Jamieson (July 2005 to July 2007), Sandi Peisley (July 2004 – July 2005) and Ben McDevitt (July 2003 to July 2004).
Commander Osbourne is responsible for the RAMSI Participating Police Force whose roles are supporting and assisting the Royal Solomon Island Police Force (RSIPF) to uphold law and order within Solomon Islands. As part of his role, Commander Osbourne also serves as the Deputy Commissioner of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force.
Commander Osborne has over 26 years of experience serving with the Australian Federal Police (AFP). He has a diverse range of law enforcement experience at both the national and International levels and has previously served overseas as a Senior Liaison Officer attached to the Australian Embassy in Bangkok.
Commander Osborne has also managed the AFP’s Law Enforcement Cooperation Program, leading a range of bilateral and multilateral capacity building and assistance programs being undertaken with various overseas law enforcement partners and agencies in Asia and the Pacific, and has managed the AFP International Network of Senior AFP Officers in 33 cities around the world. Prior to commencing his role with RAMSI, he has been responsible for the AFP’s International Deployment Group, which is responsible for training and deploying police to the RAMSI Participating Police Force.
Commander – RAMSI military (Combined Task Force 635), Brenton Gasteen
Lieutenant Colonel Brenton Gasteen joined RAMSI in August 2012 as the Commander of RAMSI’s multi-national military component, known as Combined Task Force 635 (CTF635), that includes troops from Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Tonga.
The primary focus of RAMSI’s security elements, both military and Participating Police Force, is to provide a stable environment to assist the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force to conduct their policing duties.
Lt Col Gasteen joined the Australian Army in 1980, and his 32-year military career has seen him work across a range of areas, including intelligence, transport and training.
Lt Col Gasteen holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Building Technology from University of South Australia. In his civilian career, Lt Col Gasteen works at the professional and management level within the industrial and commercial construction industry in Adelaide.
Development Coordinator, Jane Lake
Jane Lake joined RAMSI as Development Coordinator in August 2010. With nearly 25 years spent working in development roles with the Australian government, and as a teacher and as a volunteer, Jane brings considerable development knowledge and experience to RAMSI.
Ms Lake oversees RAMSI’s three civilian development programs: the RAMSI Law & Justice program, RAMSI Machinery of Government program and RAMSI Economic Governance program. Her focus is on ensuring RAMSI’s aid and development contributions are delivered with strong strategic direction, and are consistent with the priorities of the Solomon Islands Government.
Prior to commencing as the RAMSI Development Coordinator, Ms Lake held a range of positions within AusAID, the Australian Agency for International Development, including as Assistant Director General working on Australia’s Pacific program, and as an economic advisor to the Pacific program. Between 2002 and 2006, Jane spent four years working with AusAID in Papua New Guinea, and has also worked with AusAID in India. Her qualifications include degrees in science, mathematics, economics and development.