Monday, 24 August 2009 2:32 PM

RAMSI Farewells Officer

The Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, RAMSI, has bid a final farewell to the young Participating Police Force officer, Sisiliah Puleheloto, lost in the recent ferry tragedy in Tonga.

Hundreds from the Mission and nearby Honiara communities attended a moving memorial service held in the mission chapel at RAMSI's headquarters last Thursday.

RAMSI Special Coordinator, Graeme Wilson, said the young police woman from Niue, who worked in the PPF's Community Relations Team, had made an enormous contribution to the Mission's work that belied her 23 years and would be deeply missed.

Mr Wilson said the Mission's thoughts were also with present and past Tongan contingent members and their fellow countrymen and women, particularly the grieving families in Tonga who had suffered such devastating losses with the sinking of the Princess Ashika ferry on 5 August.

The Commander of the Participating Police Force, Wayne Buchhorn, said 'Sisi', as she was popularly known, was one of two officers who made up RAMSI's Niue contingent and the first female officer to represent her nation in an overseas mission.

The service conducted by New Zealand military chaplain, Father Darren O'Callaghan, was attended by representatives of many of the local communities Sisi worked with during her nine months in the Mission.

Several of them spoke of her ready smile and great way with children.

Ms Puleheloto is the fifth active member of the Mission to die in the six years since RAMSI first deployed to the Solomon Islands in July 2003.