The Democratic Coalition for Change (DCC) Government says it wants no gap left in its police force after the departure of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands in 2017.
This was echoed at the opening of a one day Pacific Islands Forum “Enhanced Consultative Mechanism (ECM) meeting on the drawdown strategy of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) in Honiara last week.
Delivering the opening statement on behalf of Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare this morning, Deputy Secretary to the Prime Minister, Derek Futaiasi said the DCC government wants to review the drawdown strategy so that the work of RAMSI under the drawdown strategy is aligned to the government’s policies and priorities.
The Solomon Islands Government’s commitment to ensure that the strategy is in line with its policies and priorities was highlighted by a recent Cabinet endorsement of a Solomon Islands Government Working Group on RAMSI.
This group comprises senior government officials from the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, the Ministry of Police National, Security and Correctional Services and the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs.
Their task is to discuss with RAMSI and carefully plan the drawdown strategy to ensure that whatever is to be taken on board by the Solomon Islands Government has to be noted and done.
“The time set in the drawdown strategy of RAMSI under the policing component is June 2017 and with that date in mind; we want to ensure that there is no gap left in the policing component after RAMSI leaves and therefore the drawdown strategy of RAMSI is critically important,” Mr Futaiasi said.
Mr Futaiasi also highlighted that the departure of RAMSI will have cost implications for the Solomon Islands Government in order to sustain the achievements made by the Mission after 2017.
In 2013, ten years after the arrival of the Mission to restore law and order following years of social unrest, the Mission was scaled down to only a policing mission while its Military component was withdrawn and development component aligned into the bilateral aid programs of Australia and New Zealand.
Since RAMSI is now a policing component, the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) and the Ministry of Police National Security and Correctional Services are taking the leading role on behalf of the Solomon Islands Government and supported by relevant key government Ministries such as the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade.
On the oversight mechanism of RAMSI, the Solomon Islands Government feels that the continuation of an oversight role of RAMSI is important during the drawdown strategy since there is more work to be done within the short time ahead of 2017.
On this note, the SIG feels that it is important that RAMSI as a regional intervention mission under the auspicious of the Pacific Islands Forum and with Leaders taking interest on its work must ensure that the Pacific Islands Forum is part of the oversight mechanism on the drawdown of RAMSI till it concludes.
The one day meeting was chaired by the Republic of Palau and was attended by the representatives of the Pacific Islands Forum, Marshall Islands, Australia, Solomon Islands and the RAMSI Special Coordinators Office.
Source: Press Release, Government Communications Unit