DEFENCE and Police Ministers from Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) countries are meeting this week to discuss important regional security and police matters, and to provide appropriate recommendation to leaders.
While opening the MSG Police Ministers Meeting (PMM) in Nadi Wednesday, Solomon Islands Minister for Civil Aviation and Communication, Peter Shanel Agovaka said policies needed to be aligned to further MSG members’ shared goals of economic growth, sustainable development, good governance, peace and security.
Agovaka, who is also the PMM chairman, said the meeting will allow them to consider a number of important security and police initiatives that had been approved by MSG Leaders and to find ways to advance them in the coming years.
“I am pleased to note some positive progress by our secretariat to advance the Department of the Peace Keeping work since its establishment was approved by our Leaders in 2013 in Noumea, New Caledonia. This is an important initiative that will ensure our Police forces are empowered to participate and contribute to global and regional peace and harmony,” Agovaka said.
“I am also pleased to inform you that our Leaders have signed the Framework Agreement for the MSG Formed Police Unit; the Agreement Establishing the Regional Police Academy (RPA) and the Memorandum of Agreement for the Humanitarian and Emergency Response Coordinating Centre.”
Highlighting the risk of ever increasing natural and man-made disasters as well as emerging threats to peace and security, Agovaka said they were required to advance and implement the aforementioned initiatives.
“Our MSG countries also share a rich history, culture, customs and values, which we hold dear to our hearts. This is our heritage and pride that we ought to promote to the global community in a peaceful way.
“We have a greater responsibility to ensure our decisions have positive impacts on the lives of our people. We must shoulder this responsibility with wisdom and care,” Mr Agovaka added.
Meanwhile, Discussions on ways to foster better understanding and co-operation of policing efforts in Melanesia is high on the agenda for the inaugural MSG Police Ministers Meeting in Nadi.
Minister for Defence and National Security, RatuInoke Kubuabola said despite internal and external challenges, Fiji and other Melanesian countries made the best use of limited resources to mitigate the challenges faced.
Minister Kubuabola said the “isolated nature of our islands made us more vulnerable to crime and criminal activities which know no borders.”
“The advent of technology and globalization has brought upon us the people of Melanesia new problems associated with social media, cybercrime and computer related offences which would require our united and concerted effort in tackling these issues,” Minister Kubuabola said.
The MSG had been spearheading initiatives like the Police Cooperation, establishment of the Formed Police Unit, Department of Peace Keeping Operations and the Humanitarian Emergency Response Co-ordination Centre.
Minister Kubuabola said the 2-day meeting would assist ministers in developing better policies and frameworks to ensure better information sharing and professional exchanges amongst the respective countries.
MSG Director-General, Amena Yauvoli acknowledged the Fijian Government for seconding senior police officers to the Department of Peacekeeping Operation in the MSG Secretariat as endorsed by the Leaders in 2013.
The inaugural meeting ended on Thursday.