National security is pivotal to sustainable development and nation-building of any nation.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare made this statement when he officially opened the National Security Summit at the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) in Honiara.

The Prime Minister said in the last 40 years of our political independence, our nation has travelled without a focused direction in addressing our security concerns.

“We operate mostly either through ad hoc basis or individual institutions working on reactive modes. In hindsight, this had been costly as aptly demonstrated by the events that struck our nation in the late 1990s to early 2000. We were caught unprepared,” he said.

Prime Minister Sogavare said these events and the period of insecurity that followed had impacted negatively on the economic development efforts of this nation.

“Worse still, these events had unfortunately tainted the picture of our country as a failing state; that needed the help of our neighbours to restore peace, security and stability, at a great cost,” he said.

The Prime Minister told the gathering that if we have any sense at all, we must endeavour, never again, to let the events of the past happen again.

“That is why this draft National Security Strategy (NSS) will provide the platform to safeguard the future development of our country. It is also why your participation at this summit over the next 3 days is crucial,” Prime Minister Sogavare told the summit.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister highlighted that the departure of RAMSI was a key driver to our country’s commitment to establish the NSS.

He said the draft NSS signals a new era for Solomon Islands.

The Prime Minister said it highlights the responsibility of every single citizen of this nation to contribute to a secure and prosperous future for our country and people.

“It is an investment to achieve our national desire of: Joy, Peace, Progress and Prosperity, that men should brothers be make nations see,” he said.

“It provides new dawn of opportunities for all Solomon Islanders, irrespective of our colour, creed, culture or religious affiliations to build a strong and united country as we progress into the future,” he said.

Prime Minister Sogavare said we must learn from our past because conflicts as such that had torn our country apart have no place in a Solomon Islands that we wish to leave behind for our future generations.

Source: PM Press Secretariat