QUINTON Devlin, the new Special Coordinator of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI), took up his position this week after being appointed in late October.
The RAMSI intervention led by Australia, New Zealand and other Pacific Islands Forum member countries started in July 2003 at the invitation of the Government of Solomon Islands following several years of social unrest.
“I wish to pay a special tribute to my predecessors for leading this very successful Mission over the past 12 years, not least the recently departed Special Coordinator, Ms Justine Braithwaite,” Mr Devlin said.
“I am honoured and humbled to assume the role of RAMSI Special Coordinator at this critical stage of the Mission as it draws down in accordance with the plan to exit at the end of June in 2017,” he added.
“One of my top priorities will be to support dialogue between the Government of Solomon Islands, Australia, New Zealand and other members of the Pacific Islands Forum on the type of assistance that might be offered to the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force once RAMSI ends its mission.
“Other priorities include supporting consideration and preparations for the possible Staged and Limited Rearmament of the RSIPF and continuing the excellent cooperation between the RAMSI Participating Police Force and the RSIPF under a wide range of police capacity development programs.”
To start his term as RAMSI Special Coordinator, Mr Devlin yesterday paid courtesy calls on the Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare and Governor General, Sir Frank Kabui.
Mr Devlin also plans to meet with the Minister of Police, National Security and Correctional Services, Stanley Sofu; the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs, Manasseh Maelanga; the Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Milner Tozaka; the Commissioner of Police, Frank Prendergast and his Executive; representatives of the diplomatic corps in Honiara during the week. Other meetings are also being planned with other Government Ministries, the Parliamentary Opposition Group and other stakeholders in the coming weeks.
The appointment of Mr Devlin, who was nominated by the Australian Government in accordance with the RAMSI Treaty, was endorsed by the Solomon Islands Government and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.
Mr Devlin is a career foreign policy officer with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
For the past three years Mr Devlin has served as Deputy Head of Mission at the Australian Embassy in Brasilia.
He has held a number of positions within the department, including director in the H1N1 Swine Influenza Task Force and APEC reform teams.
Overseas, Mr Devlin has served in the Philippines (2005-2007) and as a Peace Monitor in Bougainville (2000).
He holds a Masters in Management from the University of New South Wales and a Bachelor in Law and Bachelor in Arts (Honours) from Monash University.