RAMSI talks transition with King George VI

Leadership and Scholarship – the two cornerstones of King George VI National Secondary School’s proud motto are written high above the entrance. They were a strong theme running through a recent School Forum organised for Form 6 and 7 students to discuss RAMSI’s transition.

“I agree it is time RAMSI should go,” Robert Amalo, Form 7, confidently tells the room. “While RAMSI takes the lead on everything, local officers and officials are not capable of doing the work as they are not doing it.

“Make them strong by making them do the job alone.”

The current Wakabaot Tok toks are designed to provide the community an opportunity to discuss with RAMSI personnel the future of the Solomon Islands and the implications of RAMSI transition. The school forums are targeting form six and seven students across Honiara’s schools.

RAMSI’s Culture and Community Outreach Coordinator, Chris Tarohimae opened the session by introducing the Outreach team, which include representatives from the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF), government officials from the Inland Revenue Department and the Office of the Special Coordinator and by offering a view of what transition means.

“RAMSI is not going today, not tomorrow, but the nature of RAMSI’s work has changed, offering more opportunity for you and me and the government to lead the Solomon Islands,” said Mr. Tarohimae.

RSIPF and government officials outlined how RAMSI has equipped them and how that is effecting everyday life in the Solomons. One good example is the more than SBD$1 Billion in tax revenues collected in the past year, following capacity development and the introduction of new systems and processes.

The forum then broke into smaller groups of students, with one or two Outreach team members facilitating discussions about what should be happening now.

Like other school forums, the feedback sessions were lively and covered a wide range of opinions and topics: from trust in the police to the ongoing problem of corruption; provincial awareness of progress made to the importance of good governance.

“If there is no security there is no work and no economy. But if security is strong, the economy will be strong,” said Walter Ama from Form 7.

“We need you, the Inland Revenue Department, to do more awareness raising in the provinces on better understanding of how tax works and the need for it to be paid,” he added.

But the challenge to do more and do better now was also realised as a personal one.

Mr. Ama continued, “If this generation sets a good example, at this moment, then the future will be bright for Solomon Islands.

“If we do our part.”