Malaita Police force boosted

THE work of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) in Malaita Province will be enhanced with the official hand over of a Stabicraft by the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) during a ceremony in Auki on 18 December.

The new RAMSI Special Coordinator, Quinton Devlin, and the new Commander of the RAMSI Participating Police Force (PPF), Mark Ney, handed over the Stabicraft to the RSIPF, which was represented at the ceremony by Acting Deputy Commissioner, Gwen Ratu.

Before the handover ceremony, Mr Devlin and Mr Ney met the Premier of the Malaita Provincial Government, Hon. Peter Chanel Ramohia. Both men explained that they had wanted to visit Malaita very early during their terms in Solomon Islands to get an understanding of the province and the issues affecting livelihoods and the people of Malaita Province.

Malaita Premier Ramohia welcomed the two RAMSI chiefs on behalf of the provincial government and people of Malaita.

“During its time here, RAMSI has done a lot for Malaita Province, including the construction of the new Auki Police station, the Correctional Services facility and now the Stabicraft. These are all for the enhancement of security in Malaita Province and its people. My provincial government and people are really happy indeed for this,” said Premier Ramohia.

The Premier also expressed his provincial government’s support for the staged and limited rearmament of the RSIPF. He said the RSIPF had been doing an excellent job in the province and pledged to continue to work together with the RSIPF and RAMSI to maintain law and order in Malaita Province.

At the ceremony to handover the Stabicraft, Premier Ramohia said the gifting of the vessel demonstrated the commitment and continued support of RAMSI to the Solomon Islands, especially Malaita Province, in the area of policing and maintaining law and order.

“The question of what happens after RAMSI leaves is one that the national government, the provincial governments, community chiefs, churches, non-government organisations and other stakeholders must answer together. It is through all of us working together that our country will continue to grow in peace, unity and harmony,” Premier Ramohia told the large crowd that gathered at the Auki wharf for the ceremony.

 Also speaking at the ceremony, new RAMSI Special Coordinator, Mr Devlin, said that RAMSI recognised the need for the RSIPF to be closely engaged with the community as part of its crime prevention and community policing strategies, and the new Stabicraft would assist police move around the province more easily and help build the trust and confidence of the people in the work of the RSIPF.

“The Stabicraft is not simply a gift to enhance the RSIPF’s capacity to police the Province, it represents another step towards the RSIPF becoming a truly independent, modern and mobile police force,” Mr Devlin said.

At the same ceremony, new PPF Commander, Mr Ney said with the 900 islands in Solomon Islands and limited road infrastructure, maritime mobility was clearly a priority for the RSIPF.

Mr Ney said: “To address this priority, RAMSI has gifted to the RSIPF a total of nine Stabicraft vessels and associated launching, refuelling and towing infrastructure. This is the second vessel to be officially handed over and follows the launch of the first Stabicraft at Gizo in the Western Province recently. The next group of vessels will be delivered to Honiara, Tulagi and subsequently Taro and Lata.”

 When accepting the Stabicraft on behalf of the RSIPF, Acting Deputy Commissioner, Ms Gwen Ratu thanked RAMSI and the Australian Government for gifting the vessel.

Ms Ratu said: “The Stabicraft will enable police in Auki to respond in a timely manner to any reports of incidences around the Malaita Province and enable the RSIPF community policing to engage more frequently with the communities. I call on the Malaita provincial police to use the vessel wisely and call on the people of Malaita to respect the gift from RAMSI.”

The Stabicraft was blessed by local Catholic Bishop Chris Cardone before a short demonstration of its capabilities in Auki harbour.

Source: RAMSI Public Affairs & Media