17 Dec 2015

Solomons govt committed to RAMSI as exit looms

10:29 am on 17 December 2015

The Solomon Islands Government has assured the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands of its support as the mission winds down towards a final exit in mid-2017.

The assurance was given to the new RAMSI Special Co-ordinator, Quinton Devlin, by the Minister of Police, National Security and Correctional Services, Stanley Sofu.

In officially welcoming the new special co-ordinator, Minister Sofu said the government would do its utmost to make the drawdown strategy and programmes relevant, realistic and affordable.

He said the question of what happens after RAMSI leaves was a question all Solomon Islanders must find answers to.

Mr Sofu said citizens should not rely only on government in this quest for lasting security in the country.

Meanwhile, Mr Devlin said that since his arrival several clear messages emerged.

He said these include that RAMSI's support had been highly appreciated over the past 12 years; the government and RAMSI have worked well together, but also that while much progress has been made, there is still considerable work to be done.

RAMSI Special Co-ordinator, Quinton Devlin.

RAMSI Special Co-ordinator, Quinton Devlin. Photo: RAMSI

The RAMSI Special Coordinator said he was looking forward to working very closely with the government, parliament and the community to support the priorities and plans of Solomon Islanders:

"Particularly as the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force moves towards assuming full responsibility for policing, and as the RSIPF continues on its path towards becoming an independent, modern and accountable force focused on crime prevention and community policing."

This would entail continued RAMSI support for the rearmament process and ongoing capacity building and mentoring by the RAMSI Participating Police Force.

"Some of RAMSI's top priorities include supporting the development of strong leadership at all levels of the RSIPF," Mr Devlin explained, adding that RAMSI would keep "supporting government efforts to ensure the RSIPF is properly resourced."

The RAMSI head underlined that leadership and funding would be critical to sustaining the gains made to date.

"RAMSI will also continue to regularly consult the Solomon Islands government. A key part of that role will be to support dialogue between the Solomon Islands Government and countries such as Australia and New Zealand on what might follow RAMSI beyond the scheduled mid-2017 exit date."

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