APART from their other priority support areas in their current form, the successful RAMSI mission other focus now is on the upcoming national general election.
RAMSI is actively engaging the RSIPF in preparation for the election.
Speaking during the 11th anniversary of the mission, special coordinator Justine Braithwaite said the election will be a vital and essential component of the democratic process and a chance for the people of Solomon Islands to choose their next leaders.
“In this regard we are fully engaged with the RSIPF in supporting the Government’s efforts to see a free, fair and trouble free general election at the end of this year,” Mrs Braithwaite said.
Date for the national general election is yet to be declared but talks are all on September-October period after the current house’s last meeting.
The special coordinator said the RSIPF now have the skills needed to manage election operations and for the first time since the Tensions will be taking the lead in ensuring security in the lead up to, and aftermath of, polling day.
“They will be taking a tough stance against anyone found to be inciting violence or engaging in criminal behaviour during the election period.
“And RAMSI will be here to support them with a range of election-related assistance, including additional training, advisory, logistical and operational planning support.”
Meanwhile Mrs Baithwaite added that violence against women is another of their priority focus.
“RAMSI values highly the importance of the family in building a vibrant, progressive and peaceful nation.
“The bible makes clear that families, after all, are the foundation of communities.
“Violence against women and children is a threat to this process and therefore the prevention of family violence is one of RAMSI’s key priorities till 2017.
“RAMSI is supporting the RSIPF in its efforts to build stronger linkages with communities and tackle violence in the home.
“We here know all too well what violence against women and children looks like. It is happening in every nation, not just in Solomon Islands, though it is a particularly prevalent problem here and across the Pacific. It is not talked about enough. But it is holding back individuals, it is holding back Solomon Islands as a nation.”
The RAMSI chief acknowledged that everyone has a responsibility to help stop the problem.
“Governments, communities, churches, leaders and chiefs, donors and civil society have a responsibility to work together to help tackle this problem.
“I know it is a big challenge but “with God in us we can do all things.”
By EDNAL PALMER