The High Court of the Solomon Islands has issued a final eviction notice to 11 former police officers who still occupy government housing after leaving the force in 2004.A recent civil hearing in the High Court on February 17 resulted in the parties being formally given an Order to Vacate, and one month's notice to move out. This deadline was reached today.
The High Court found that regardless of any potential claims against the Government for unfair termination of service in June 2004, the former police officers' rights to continue to occupy their official quarters ceased with their employment.
Acting Deputy Commissioner Edmund Sikua said due process had been followed by the RSIPF and a court order was presented to 11 men living in various quarters in Honiara.
Mr Sikua said the RSIPF's Human Resources officers had been offering assistance to the former officers with transport, and some were opting to cooperate in leaving their quarters.
"The vacated accommodation will be allocated to serving officers and their families as soon as possible, after urgent cleaning and repairs are completed," he said.
Acting Deputy Commissioner Sikua said that although being evicted was upsetting for the affected individuals and their families, it was not unexpected.
"This eviction process through the courts is unfortunately necessary after repeated appeals to these people to voluntarily move out of their official quarters, were deliberately ignored.
"These individuals are no longer entitled to accommodation authorised by the Ministry of Police," he said. "They clearly understand this and have not contributed a cent to costs.
The RSIPF has been more than fair in giving them time to make other arrangements."
Mr Sikua said it was important that people in the wider community recognised the impact on serving police officers desperately waiting for accommodation.
"Many of our dedicated officers currently have no accommodation for themselves or their families. They are more deserving of public empathy given their ongoing responsibilities."
"Their welfare and ongoing ability to serve the people of Solomon Islands must be our top priority - to protect the future of the RSIPF and improve our operational reponse," he said.
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