The Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) are ready to be rearmed, Special Coordinator of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI), Quinton Devlin, told Members of Parliament during an outreach programme this week.
Mr Devlin said that, after almost 14 years of training by RAMSI, the RSIPF are now a highly competent force and it is ready to be rearmed.
“Two of the biggest things that I can attest confidently to is that the RSIPF is once more a professional force and the small number of carefully-selected, RAMSI-trained specialist police officers that the Government will entrust to carry police firearms are ready to do so responsibly.”
He said Samoa, Vanuatu, Nauru and other Pacific island countries were now looking to the RSIPF for training and the RSIPF was contributing to a United Nations policing mission in Africa and had supported disaster recovery efforts in the Pacific region.
This, he explained, was evidence of how far the local force had come with the support of RAMSI.
“More broadly, history shows that it generally takes most conflict-affected countries a much longer period of time to recuperate, but it has taken Solomon Islands only 13 short years to recover the lost ground and rebuild the nation,” Mr Devlin added.
The RAMSI Special Coordinator thanked the Government and Parliament for increasing the budget allocation to the RSIPF last year.
He noted the level of police resourcing had been maintained this year and welcomed a commitment to further supplement the RSIPF’s budget in the months ahead.
He said properly resourcing the RSIPF is critical to ensuring that the police could, in partnership with the community, look after the law and order and national security needs of Solomon Islands, especially as RAMSI transitioned out.
Mr Devlin said RAMSI personnel were going around to churches, businesses, schools, Provincial Governments and market places all over the country alongside RSIPF officers explaining why RAMSI is leaving, sharing RAMSI’s confidence in the RSIPF and Solomon Islands Government, and explaining the Limited RSIPF Rearmament exercise.
RAMSI will withdraw from Solomon Islands at the end of June this year.
-PM Press Secretariat