Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has defended his plans to re-arm certain units within the Solomon Islands Police.Mr Sogavare said that those opposed to the planned rearmament have been very misleading in their campaigns. Sogavare went on to say that the government is aware that most of the opposition are made from outside influence.
Sogavare said that he was also surprised to learn that Acting Special Coordinator of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI), Jonathan Austin, made opposing statements against the plans. He says he was very surprised an official from RAMSI was trying to tell the government of a sovereign nation that the country was not yet ready to have an armed police force.
Mr Sogavare said that the Solomon Islands is a sovereign country and cannot allow itself to be manipulated by outside forces. Mr Sogavare says Solomon Islands cannot continue to live forever with an armed foreign police force such as RAMSI. He says if Solomon Islanders want to build trust in the local police force, it has got to start right now.
Mr Sogavare says while re-arming the entire police can be done later, the plan is to arm a small unit which provides security and protection for VIPs and visiting overseas dignitaries.