RAMSI to depart SI, mid-2017

RAMSI Special Coordinator Ms Justine Braithwaite to SI. Photo credit: Howard Moffat/AUSPIC

RAMSI Special Coordinator Ms Justine Braithwaite. Photo credit: Howard Moffat/AUSPIC

THE Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) may “go finish” and depart Solomon Islands (SI) in mid-2017.

That was revealed by the RAMSI Special Coordinator Ms Justine Braithwaite when speaking at the RAMSI’s 12th anniversary in the country at Visale, North-West Guadalcanal over the weekend (Friday).

“RAMSI may “go finis” and depart Solomon Islands in mid-2017,” she said.

“But Australia, New Zealand and the contributing nations to RAMSI remain committed to supporting the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) for the long term, whether this is managed through RAMSI or through other forms of police development assistance.

“RAMSI is progressively drawing down its resources in Solomon Islands, as the RSIPF’s own capabilities are growing.

“RAMSI’s current budget cycle – that is, the money we receive from the Australian Government as our lead funder – will end in the middle of 2017,” said Ms Braithwaite.

She added that preliminary discussions with the Solomon Islands Government (SIG) and the Pacific Islands Forum on the future security needs of Solomon Islands from 2017 on-wards have begun.

“No final decisions have yet been taken on RAMSI’s future as we will be consulting extensively with the SIG and our regional stakeholders.

“The RSIPF has made significant progress in recent years but our collective task is not yet done.

“We should not gloss over the fact that the force still faces many challenges. Resource constraints, difficulties with mobility and logistics, and the need for greater support in the “back of house” or enabling services of the RSIPF are among the key issues we’re working to address.

“Looking forward, the RSIPF will need a high level of ongoing support and additional resourcing from the SIG if it is to be able to provide an appropriate level of policing services across the country.

Police officers can also only be effective if they are assisted by the communities who they serve and protect. I ask everyone to support your police, to welcome them into your villages and help them to prevent and deter crime and anti-social behaviors,” she concluded.

By STEPHEN DI’ISANGO

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