RAMSI’s Special Coordinator Ms Justine Braithwaite on Monday,paid a visit to the Malaita provincial capital,Auki, where issues related to the upcoming elections were discussed.
During the trip Ms Braithwaite met with the Provincial Premier, Edwin Suibaea, the Provincial Police Commander (PPC) of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force, (RSIPF) Alfred Uiga and representatives of the Malaita Provincial Council of Women Executive.
“I took the opportunity of the visit to brief Premier Suibaea and PPC Uiga on the support that RAMSI is providing the RSIPF to ensure that the National Elections on 19 November will be free and peaceful,” said Ms Braithwaite.
“Mobility is always a challenge and that is why RAMSI has provided three vehicles recently to the police in Auki to help in engaging with the communities, especially around election time.”
“I appreciated the opportunity to discuss local views on potential election security issues in Malaita. It was very encouraging to hear that the Provincial Government is not expecting any trouble during the national elections in Malaita. But it’s good that the RSIPF are putting strong measures in place in case any disturbance occurs,”said Ms Braithwaite.
Ms Braithwaite added: “I am impressed with the preparations that are being undertaken under the leadership of the PPC, Mr Uiga in organising community outreach meetings in key constituencies to inform people about the role of police during the elections.
“It’s important that people understand that they should not take matters into their own hands if they disagree with the election results or have other concerns. Solomon Islands is a democracy and every vote counts and must be respected. Disruptions or illegal activity around the elections will be met with the full force of the law,” stated Ms Braithwaite.
Ms Braithwaite also provided briefings on the progress of the community consultations on the limited rearmament of the RSIPF with plans to extend the consultations to the provinces next year.
During her meeting with the Executive of the Malaita Provincial Council of Women, the RAMSI Special Coordinator informed them of the work that RAMSI is doing through the Participating Police Force, to assist the RSIPF address gender-based violence in Solomon Islands.
President of the Malaita Provincial Council of Women, Ms Martha Rurai briefed the Special Coordinator on some of the challenges confronting women in the province.
This included issues of a lack of resources to inform women in the province about their rights, domestic/family violence issues and the reported exploitation of women and children within logging camps.