The bech-de-mer case must be resolved - Solomon Star News
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The bech-de-mer case must be resolved

28 May 2014
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WE acknowledge the excellent job the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) are doing to keep law and order in our country.

We also appreciate the difficulties they face daily in the performance of their duties.
Policing is no easy job.

It involves officers putting their lives on the line at times in order to save others.
But that’s the nature of the job anyway.

Those who have chosen to serve as police officers know this too well before taking their oath of office.

So they have no excuse, albeit the difficulties and dangers they encounter while on the job, not to do what the nation expects of them.
That is to promptly respond to law and order issues that are brought before them.

While the RSIPF are doing pretty well at some fronts, there are other areas that have left much to be desired of our force.

One classic case is the stolen consignment of bech-de-mer from the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources in October last year.

The beche-de-mers became state property after they were seized from those who have illegally harvested them in the waters off Malaita Outer Islands.

The products were valued at $10 million.

They were kept in state custody under the watchful eyes of state security guards when a group of men arrived one early morning with a pick-up truck and took off with them.

One known medical doctor came out publicly the next day and declared in the media that he and his group took the bech-de-mers because he was unhappy with the manner the products were seized from them.

It was big news at that time.

Fisheries officials involved in the seizure of the bech-de-mer were obviously unhappy and have urged the police to locate the consignment and return them to the care of the state.

The case was reported to police. That was October 2013.

Seven months on and the police are yet to make an arrest, let alone locate the stolen bech-de-mers.
This is just unbelievable.

The question is has the police investigate the matter at all or are they prevented from doing so?

Police minister Chris Laore, when questioned on the matter in parliament, said he does not know about the progress of any investigation.

Acting police commissioner Juanita Matanga, when asked on the issue, requested the public to provide information so that police can investigate the case.

In any case, the police may not have investigated the bech-de-mer case after all.
How sad if that’s the case.

Here we have $10 million worth of state property stolen in broad daylight and the police made little or no effort to bring those responsible to justice.

Mr Laore and Mrs Matanga must know that police inaction in this case does no good for the RSIPF and its public image.

They need to get their house in order and get down on this case.

It would be a sad day for this country if those who are involved in stealing $10 million worth of state property get away with it.


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