THE active engagement by the communities and organisations consulted so far in the decision of the national government for the limited rearmament of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) has been applauded by the government, police and the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, (RAMSI).
Since the beginning of August, the community consultation working group of the Project has held workshops for the media, women and youth and has held meetings at several communities in East Honiara.
The community consultations will continue in other communities and with other organisations in Honiara as well as in the provinces during the coming months.
In October last year, the Government decided that while RAMSI is still in the country, and to protect its citizens as well as for the protection of members of the RSIPF, RAMSI should start work to prepare the local police for limited rearmament.
Part of the decision is to conduct consultations on the project with communities and organisations throughout the country.
“We very much welcome the support expressed for the government’s decision for the limited rearmament of our police by the organisations and community groups that we have spoken to so far.
“We know it’s still early days but the responses we have received so far shows that our people have given very serious thought to this government decision,” said Edmond Sikua, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services.
“Besides expressing their support for the limited rearmament of the RSIPF, members of the public have also raised some valid issues for the Government to consider as it finalises its decision on the project. I hope that such discussions will continue as the consultations continue,” Mr Sikua explained.
The Acting Commissioner of RSIPF, Ms Juanita Matanga said: “RSIPF appreciates the effort by our local media organisations for informing their audiences about the Government’s decision for a limited rearmament of the Force.
“With the information, members of the public have been able to put together their thoughts and so when we consult them, they are ready to express themselves.”
“Besides the support expressed for the limited rearmament of the RSIPF, the Force also welcomes the feedback from the public during the consultations on what they see as some gaps in the performance of my Officers.
“ The RSIPF has its challenges but we welcome constructive feedback,” said Ms Matanga.
“RAMSI appreciates the valuable feedback from the public on the decision by the Government for the limited rearmament of the RSIPF.
“The feedback will be collated and presented to the government. We see the public’s responsiveness to the decision as part of the rebuilding of confidence in the force,” said Justine Braithwaite, RAMSI Special Coordinator
“I urge the communities in Solomon Islands to trust their police as they take on the responsibility of limited rearmament.
“The new RSIPF with the 70 per cent turnover has benefited over the past 11 years from the capacity building by RAMSI. I ask people to keep an open mind and not prejudge your police,” said Ms Braithwaite.
The community consultation working group of the limited rearmament of the RSIPF project consists of representatives of the Office of the Prime Minister; the Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services; the RSIPF and RAMSI.