RAMSI Acting Special Coordinator, Jonathan Austin yesterday thanked the mission's two largest Polynesian contingents, Samoa and Tonga for the great job they do in the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI).Both contingents celebrated their national holidays in the past week which Dr Austin said was an appropriate occasion to express RAMSI's gratitude to the two nations and their personnel who have served in RAMSI since it landed in Solomon Islands in 2003.
"I know the genuine friendship and support extended to Solomon Islands by both Samoa and Tonga through the mission is greatly appreciated both by RAMSI and also by Solomon Islands," Dr Austin said.
The Commander of the 7th Samoa Police Contingent, Fa'aletatau Keti Toleafoa, brings 22 years of policing experience to his job in RAMSI's Participating Police Force (PPF).
Keti says he is honoured to be entrusted such responsibilities and does not take it lightly.
Appointed as an adviser to local police officers working in General Duties at Central Police Station (CPS), Keti is in charge of a group of PPF officers that are deployed in one of the shifts at CPS.
"Building good rapport with my local counterparts and sharing my experiences with them in my role as an adviser is a must in this mission. I am also eager to learn a lot from them too and this mission has provided us with that opportunity plus a lot more. I intend to make the most of it," he said.
Samoa's 7th contingent consists of six policemen and one police woman.
Tonga which also contributed from the commencement of RAMSI in 2003 has gradually expanded its contribution from police to military and more recently the provision of civilian personnel.
The Tonga Police contingent consists of eight members headed by PPF Advisor Polota Amato with seven male officers and one female.
The Commander of the 6th Tongan Marine Contingent, Captain Ma'ama Misi said recently that Tonga is honoured to be of assistance to their fellow Pacific Islanders through RAMSI.
"We are happy that whilst being part of RAMSI we are given the opportunity to reach out to the local communities here in the Solomon Islands.
Tonga currently contributes 12 police officers, a Military Liaison Officer and a lawyer working in the Solomon Islands Public Solicitor's office under RAMSI's Law and Justice Program.