Senior officials from the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) and Solomon Islands Government (SIG), including members of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF), are stepping up their community engagement in and around Honiara, as well as in provincial centres, as the Mission draws to a close in June this year.
So far this month, SIG and RAMSI officials have spoken directly to more than 2,000 people. Meetings have been held with the staff of several government ministries, private companies, secondary schools and churches in and around Honiara. Consultations are also planned with all the Provincial Assemblies and a number of communities in the provinces, as well as members of the National Parliament.
“These drawdown outreach activities are important as RAMSI wants to explain why it is time for RAMSI to leave and to reassure the people of this nation that the RSIPF is more than capable of taking care of law and order in Solomon Islands on its own,” said Quinton Devlin, RAMSI Special Coordinator.
“The RSIPF is a strong and very capable force, a very different force to that during the Tension years. After almost 14 years of training and mentoring from RAMSI, the RSIPF enjoys the reputation of being one of the best police forces in the region and neighbouring countries now come to seek training from the RSIPF,” Mr Devlin added.
At the outreach events, SIG and RAMSI officials discussed the RSIPF’s strong focus on crime prevention, community policing, police discipline and police responsiveness. They also underlined that the RSIPF has a strong leadership team and that SIG was committed to properly resourcing the force in 2017 and beyond.
RAMSI Special Coordinator Quinton Devlin said: “We also want to reassure the people of this country that while the time for a 15-nation regional intervention is over, RAMSI contributing nations will continue to support law and order in Solomon Islands”.
SIG is working closely with Australia and New Zealand to develop bilateral policing support programs beyond RAMSI. Australia has also commenced discussions with SIG about a mechanism that would enable Solomon Islands to ask for urgent assistance if an emergency situation ever arose.
RAMSI officials are also taking these outreach opportunities to thank the people and governments of Solomon Islands for their friendship, partnership and hospitality over the last 14 years. SIG is planning to farewell RAMSI and celebrate the success of the partnership in late June.