Friday, 13 July 2007 9:02 AM

Solomon Islands not ready for Rearmament: RAMSI

The Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, RAMSI, has made it clear that they will not support the proposed rearmament programme by the Police Commissioner.

Acting Special Coordinator of RAMSI, Dr Jonathan Austin, in his address to a meeting of civil society groups, stated that RAMSI believes much more needs to be done.

"We think it's not time to re-arm the police force yet. And the reasons for that are there are still issues, the capacity of the police, the training, the facilities they have, the leadership which they have that needs to be worked through. And there is still a lot of concern through the country, we continue to hear from people that they just don't feel, that the time is right yet for the police to re-arm."

Dr Austin said RAMSI's position on rearmament has not changed since the Prime Minister told Parliament in February this year that he would not go ahead with rearming the police force.

The Special Coordinator and Deputy Special Coordinator had met with the Prime Minister early this month to discuss RAMSI's concern about the proposed re-arming of the police force.

Dr Austin said RAMSI had sought clarification from the Government on plans for rearmament following recent media reports.