Securing the common border - Solomon Star News

Securing the common border

03 November 2015

LACK of police, immigration, and quarantine presence at the Solomon Islands-Papua New Guinea common border is a long-standing issue.

But past governments seem not to have taken it seriously.

This may perhaps due to those residing on both sides of the border are blood-related although they belong to two separate independent countries.

The recent Parliamentary Standing Committee hearing conducted by the Police, National Security & Correctional Service Commission (PNSCSC) heard the concerns of Solomon Islanders on our side of the border.

The hearing offered the opportunity for those on Choiseul and Shortlands to express their concerns and experiences on what life is at the unmanned border.

Of particular concern to the people were the illegal movements of Bougainvilleans across the border.

Villagers told of threats and intimidation they suffered in the hands of people Bougainvilleans who came to their side of the border.

The people of Shortlands, in particular, expressed disappointment at some of their people who tend to invite their Bougainvillean relatives and get them involved in domestic disputes.

Such situation causes disharmony and hostility between villages and communities.

Furthermore, people of Choiseul and Shortlands said the Bougainvilleans regularly visit their islands to buy fuel, food and communicate with their relatives.

They stated such movements need to be controlled in order to prevent criminal activities at the border area.

Police, immigration, and quarantine presence at the border used to be there in the 1980s.

But due to government neglect of the facilities there, no officer was willing to be posted there.

Eventually, government presence at the border simply disappeared.

We are yet to see what recommendations the Police, National Security & Correctional Service Commission will be making in their report.

Funding would be a major issue to the reinstatement of police, immigration, and quarantine presence at the border.

This would be perhaps a matter the national government could take up with Australia, in particular, to fund a project for the security of our border.

The cheapest way to station at the border is to work with the Papua New Guinea government.

Through a joint effort, both governments could be able to provide security for the well-being and peace of the villagers on the common border.