RAMSI hands over new police station in Auki to SIG

(Left to Right) Commissioner of Police, Frank Prendergast; Minister of Police, Hon. Peter Shanel Agovaka; Malaita Deputy Premier, Hon. Alick Maeaba; RAMSI Special Coordinator, Justine Braithwaite;  Commander RAMSI PPF, Greg Harrigan; cutting the ribbon to officially open the Auki Police station. Photo credit: RAMSI Public Affairs

(Left to Right) Commissioner of Police, Frank Prendergast; Minister of Police, Hon. Peter Shanel Agovaka; Malaita Deputy Premier, Hon. Alick Maeaba; RAMSI Special Coordinator, Justine Braithwaite; Commander RAMSI PPF, Greg Harrigan; cutting the ribbon to officially open the Auki Police station. Photo credit: RAMSI Public Affairs

THE people of Malaita Province will now have access to a modern, spacious and well-equipped police station with the opening of the AU$1.8 million Malaita Provincial Police Headquarters in the provincial capital Auki on 10 June 2015.

The Special Coordinator of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI), Ms Justine Braithwaite handed over the new Malaita Province Police Headquarters to the Minister of Police, National Security and Correctional Services, Hon. Peter Shanel Agovaka. Malaita Provincial government representatives, senior officials of RSIPF, RAMSI Participating Police Force (PPF), chiefs and other community leaders from communities in and around Auki witnessed the ceremony.

The Auki Police station is the 7th station that RAMSI has built in Solomon Islands under the Mission’s infrastructure development program for RSIPF.

Speaking before handing over the facilities to the Solomon Islands Government, RAMSI Special Coordinator, Ms Braithwaite said: “The opening of this impressive facility is proof of RAMSI’s commitment to see that the RSIPF is well-supported and well-resourced.”

“The facility is arranged in a way that allows for a better flow of information, more cohesiveness within the different departments and a more efficient working environment. This station has new police cells that meet human rights standards and are also fitted with IT cabling internet services. The facility allows for a dedicated private room for interviewing victims so that they can feel safe and secure,” Ms Braithwaite explained.

She added that,“Already the positioning of this station in Auki Town, which is the seat of power as well as the centre of commercial activities of Malaita Province has resulted in an increase in people coming into the station to report crimes or talk to police. This kind of engagement, where residents visit and support their police, will be the key to promoting a safe and secure environment within the province.”

“In handing over this facility we in RAMSI expect great service, commitment and professionalism from the RSIPF. This new station is our tribute to the people of Malaita and all those who serve in it.”

RAMSI Special Coordinator, Justine Braithwaite thanked both the national and provincial governments, the RSIPF and the local construction company, Manepuri Construction for their contribution towards the successful completion of the project and a very special acknowledgement to the PPF corporate and logistics areas who initiated the project and oversaw the project from the development phase to delivery.

In his keynote address before the official opening of the new facility, Minister of Police, National Security and Correctional Services, Hon Peter Shanel Agovaka said: “The completion of this new Provincial Police Headquarters signifies many important aspects of the development of the RSIPF – national security, law and order, community relationships and most significantly the relationship we have with our donor partners.”

“For many years the Malaita Provincial Police Commander (PPC) and his staff had to operate from a very small office building. As the demand for police services grew, the old office became small and inadequate. With these new facilities, the RSIPF Officers serving here in Auki will no longer sit on empty gas bottles and will no longer have the challenges they have in the old Auki Police station,” said Minister Agovaka.

“But let me forewarn the PPC and his staff here in Malaita Province that having the new provincial police headquarters building will raise expectations from the communities. The communities in Malaita will now expect the RSIPF to perform its duties more effectively. They will expect Police officers to display leadership, professionalism and discipline on or off duty. There will be expectations that responses to incidents are improved and cases reported to Police are investigated efficiently.”

The Minister of Police thanked RAMSI for providing the funds to build the new facility and the Malaita Provincial Government for allocating the land which the building is located.

Speaking on behalf of the Malaita Provincial Government, Deputy Premier, Hon. Alick Maeaba said: “The new Auki Police complex will play an important role in the livelihood in Auki especially for the development of our economy, health and sustainable development in our province.

“As we witness today, the majority of development of Malaita require law and order within the communities such as Suafa Bay and Bina. The Malaita provincial government is ready to allocate land for more police stations within the province including places like Bina, Suafa, Liwe, Dala, Waisisi, Manawai, Ata’a and in other regional economic zones in the province,” said Hon. Maeaba.

The Malaita Provincial Deputy Premier, Hon. Maeaba acknowledged and thanked RAMSI and other stakeholders who contributed towards the completion of the Auki Police Station project.

The new Auki Police station was blessed by the Anglican Bishop of Malaita, the Right Reverend Sam Sahu.

Source: RAMSI media unit

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