The Solomon Islands Government most senior official responsible for the drawdown of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) is very optimistic that the country will be safe and secure when the Mission concludes in June 2017.
John Wasi, Solomon Islands Government (SIG) Special Secretary to RAMSI, expressed these sentiments on SIBC’s Talking Truth radio program this week as the Mission marks its 13th and final anniversary on 24 July before the Mission ends next year.
Mr Wasi explained that RAMSI had completed its mission and SIG was ready to resume full responsibility for the nation’s security.
“RAMSI has been a very successful regional undertaking by the Pacific Islands Forum as it has accomplished all its mandates as agreed by the Solomon Islands and members of the Pacific Islands Forum under the agreement setting up the Mission,” he said.
“The Solomon Islands Government is ready … but as RAMSI prepares for its departure in June 2017, Solomon Islanders must know that we are all responsible for the security of our country. We can and should be optimistic about the future security of our country,” said Mr Wasi.
He emphasised: “Every Solomon Islander must support the work of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) in maintaining law and order in our communities.”
In its preparations for the departure of RAMSI, Mr Wasi said: “The Government increased its budget allocation for the RSIPF by nearly 20 per cent in the 2016 budget and Cabinet has endorsed the RSIPF Crime Prevention Strategy, the True Cost of Policing Report and the Capability Plan.”
“Furthermore, the Government is continuing with the implementation of its national reconciliation policy, the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Report recommendations and its economic development policy,” Mr Wasi added.
The Special Secretary also noted: “The Government has started consultations on future bilateral policing programs with Australia and New Zealand that will follow RAMSI. The Government is also exploring policing assistance options through the Melanesian Spearhead Group and there are security cooperation programs under the Pacific Islands Forum.”
“Even if RAMSI leaves us, our friends like Australia and New Zealand will never leave us. We are friends forever,” said Mr Wasi.
During the final 11 months of RAMSI’s mission, the Government and RAMSI officials will embark on a community outreach program throughout Solomon Islands to explain the final elements of RAMSI’s drawdown and Government preparations for RAMSI’s departure.