Friday, 1 October 2010 7:46 AM

Opposition Cautions Government on RAMSI Exit

A leading Solomon Islands opposition politician, Mathew Wale, says winding up the Regional Assistance Mission within six years is possible, but it would be pushing the limit.

Mr Wale, who is a spokesman for the Democratic Party, made the comment after the new prime minister, Danny Philip, suggested that RAMSI could depart in five or six years.
RAMSI was deployed in 2003 in response to a request by the Solomons government for an outside force to reverse a decline in law and order.

Mr Wale says although it is doable, he says there is no guarantee that the country's finance, police and other key institutions will be in the most favourable conditions.
He says there is no appetite for security to be taken lightly.

"I think if the government continues to be responsible, continues to be open and continues on the path of reform and continues ahead in investment in the Royal Solomon Islands Police Service, then I think six years is probably pushing it but it probably is realisable."

Mathew Wale says progress is being made through RAMSI officials gradually phasing out of direct responsibility within some institutions.