Wednesday, 24 September 2008 7:20 AM

Peace Building Trip to the Weathercoast

The Former Chairman of the Solomon Islands National Peace Council, Mr. Paul Tovua, yesterday joined police and RAMSI officials to bring a message of peace to the Guadalcanal Weathercoast.

Mr. Tovua, who has long been associated with peace building, appealed to the people of Purepure village on the Weathercoast to help the police and RAMSI resolve long-term law and order issues.

"The current issues are affecting the community and so the choice is yours," Mr. Tovua said. "How can this problem be resolved? It really is up to the community."

This is the third high level delegation to visit the Weathercoast this month in an effort to explain current investigations to apprehend a man wanted for three murders since 1999, and the recent attempted murder of a RAMSI Participating Police Force officer.

Chief Liberato from Purepure village acknowledged the visit by the delegation which included from the Solomon Islands Police Force Acting Assistant Commissioner, Peter Aoraunisaka and Guadalcanal Provincial Police Commander, George Guna; RAMSI Special Coordinator, Tim George; Assistant Special Coordinator, Mataiasi Lomaloma; Commander of RAMSI's Participating Police Force, Denis McDermott, and Lieutenant-Colonel Glenn Weir from RAMSI's military.

He told the delegation that his village realized they had nothing to fear from the police and RAMSI, and would work together to help resolve problems.

RAMSI Special Coordinator, Tim George, thanked Chief Liberato, emphasizing that RAMSI was a partnership with the government and people of Solomon Islands.

"RAMSI looks forward to continuing to work closely with the community to ensure improved lives in a peaceful environment," Mr. George said.

Acting Assistant Commissioner Peter Aoraunisaka assured people that police investigations for tension crimes were not just happening on the Weathercoast.

"The police have operations in other areas of the country where people who are alleged to have committed crimes are still hiding", Mr Aoraunisaka said. He said it was important for people involved to give themselves up for their own peace and for the peace of the community.

RAMSI officials also explained the importance of law and order for development.
Assistant Special Coordinator, Mataiasi Lomaloma, said, "With no security and law and order, there will be no peace, no investors and no development."

RAMSI's Participating Police Force Commander, Denis McDermott, said the RAMSI was committed to supporting the police rebuild community trust and support for their work.
"Good, long-term relationships are important for community policing - both for the community and the police," Mr. McDermott said. "We want to reassure people that we are here to support and protect everyone and we can only do that by working with the community to achieve everyone's goal of a peaceful Solomon Islands."

Mr. McDermott said police and RAMSI would continue community visits to build the confidence of the local community, hear their views and talk about the importance of law and order for development.

PRESS RELEASE (RAMSI)