RAMSI Special Coordinator, Nicholas Coppel says he is greatly encouraged by the Royal Solomon Islands Police (RSIPF) growing capacity to manage public order in Honiara as seen most recently during Pacific Arts Festival.
Speaking on the plans for RAMSI’s transition at a seminar at the Australian National University in Canberra today, Mr Coppel said the strong partnership between the community and the police as witnessed during the festival augured well for Solomon Islands future.
“The recent performance of the RSIPF in handling major events has been very good. The Festival of Pacific Arts is only the latest example of a strong performance by the police not to mention outstanding cooperation from a very well-behaved public.”
Mr Coppel told the audience of academics, public servants and the media that RAMSI recognized that maintaining community and investor confidence was key to a successful transition.
“Solomon Islands has improved greatly over the past nine years. Transition is the way to recognise these improvements while providing the opportunity for Solomon Islanders to step forward, as RAMSI steps back,” he said.
Transition is about what will happen in the next four year phase of RAMSI that commences on 1 July 2013, Mr Coppel said.
Separate judgments were being made about the future of the civilian, police and military components of RAMSI.
The Solomon Islands Government, the Pacific Islands Forum and RAMSI contributing countries have already discussed plans for RAMSI’s development assistance programs to be absorbed into other donor programs including Australia’s bilateral development assistance program from 1 July 2013.
However funding for RAMSI to continue with the task of building the capacity and capability of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force was likely to continue for at least another four years.
While no decision has been made, it was proposed that RAMSI’s military component withdraw in the second half of 2013.
Mr Coppel said he believed that the proposed withdrawal of the military would help restore a positive image of Solomon Islands.
A recording of Mr Coppel’s presentation can be accessed on the Australian National University’s website. asiapacific.anu.edu.au/__data/assets/mp3_file/0018/7029/20120720-SSGM-Coppel.mp3