Solomon Islands Police Force Deputy Commissioner, Edmond Sikua has pledged the RSIPF to boost policing services to Isuna and surrounding communities on the Weathercoast following the closure of RAMSI's Participating Police Force (PPF) post last week.Speaking at a traditional chupu ceremony held to mark the closure of the post on Tuesday, Deputy Commissioner Sikua assured the communities that the RSIPF had already developed a plan for the policing of South Guadalcanal.
While this would not include operating a post out of Isuna, the community should expect to see RSIPF officers on regular monthly patrols through the area, he said.
"We will not forget you," he told the more than 100 people that had gathered to
witness the handover of the building used by the PPF for the past eight years to the Guadalcanal Provincial Government.
"I will make sure that officers visit your villages regularly for everyone: chiefs; people and police must work together to maintain peace and development in South Guadalcanal."
RAMSI has gifted the building to the Province who have immediately converted it into a health clinic.
Handing over the building to the province, RAMSI Deputy Special Coordinator, Wayne Higgins, said RAMSI and the communities of Isuna had shared both good and not so good times over the past eight years but he was happy that the legacy of RAMSI's presence was to be a new clinic to look after the physical needs of the community.
"I congratulate the province in taking this important step to bring better services to the people of Isuna and I pray that the spirit of Solomon Islands partnership with RAMSI live-on in a healthier, happy community which works in partnership with its own police to keep the peace and build a better future for its children," Mr Higgins said.
The Provincial Member for the area, Hon Silas Chekana, thanked RAMSI for all that has been achieved since they first deployed to Isuna in 2003.
"Eight years down the line, today I'm happy to say that we can sit together as one family, so for that RAMSI we thank you for this achievement."
Warning the community that they must look after the building and protect the clinic, Mr Chekana, said he hoped that it would not suffer even a single scratch of paint.
"I want especially you chiefs to take charge of this property and you young people not to do anything stupid.
"I've heard lots of news about this area, shooting at the police, swearing at them, stoning them, now all these things does not help anyone including the person that does it," Mr Chekana said.
Chief John Tova of Duidui said the community would work hard to look after the clinic.
"We thank RAMSI very much for this building they have built and now are leaving. We in this community from Duidui to Kolina are very happy, this has given us a new chapter in how we live and survive because for so long we have been waiting for clinic in this area."
The PPF Commander, Mr Paul Osborne said the PPF had enjoyed exceptional hospitality and support from the people of Isuna and the neighbouring villages over the past eight years.
"I extend my sincere gratitude and thanks to each and every one of you for this."
"I am extremely pleased with progress made by both the RSIPF and the Isuna community and this makes me confident that the time is now right to withdraw the permanent PPF presence from Isuna."
Commander Osborne said this did not mean it was the end of PPF's support to the communities of Isuna.
"The PPF remain committed to supporting the RSIPF throughout the Solomon Islands."
"Transition is about recognising that the PPF can safely step back, and the RSIPF can confidently step forward and take responsibility for law and order in Isuna and other provincial police stations," said Commander Osborne.
Source: Press Release, RAMSI