Members of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) on Thursday farewelled the outgoing RAMSI Special Coordinator Justine Braithwaite with a guard of honour at the Rove Police Headquarters in Honiara.
Ms Braithwaite, the sixth RAMSI Special Coordinator and the first female to hold the position, leaves at the end of this month after spending two years in the Special Coordinator’s position and two years prior to that as Chief of Staff in the Office of the Special Coordinator.
Speaking at the parade, Ms Braithwaite thanked the RSIPF for organising the parade in honour of her departure from Solomon Islands.
“During the past four years working closely with the RSIPF I can say with all honesty that I have been very impressed and happy with the progress you have made in all aspects of your policing role,” Ms Braithwaite told the officers at the parade.
“Through your hard work and commitment, the RSIPF is now in a position of strong and stable growth. You have worked hard to transform your police force into a professional and disciplined organisation, and one rightly focused on crime prevention and community engagement,” said Ms Braithwaite.
“The transition and the drawdown phases of RAMSI are reflections of the progress made in Solomon Islands since 2003, particularly the progress that the RSIPF has made in the maintenance of law and order in this sovereign nation.”
The outgoing RAMSI Special Coordinator thanked the Commissioner of Police and his Senior Executive for their leadership, vision and commitment to raising the standards of the RSIPF to a level that Solomon Islands can be proud of.
With RAMSI likely to leave Solomon Islands in 2017, the outgoing RAMSI Special Coordinator, Ms Braithwaite encouraged members of the RSIPF to see the Mission’s coming drawdown as an opportunity.
“The drawdown is a sign of confidence in you, the officers of RSIPF. And although RAMSI is expected to exit in 2017, there will be some continued assistance to the force beyond that. The Solomon Islands Government, Australia as the lead donor in RAMSI and other contributing countries to the Mission have begun discussions to identify the appropriate form and type of assistance to the RSIPF going forward. I am confident that the force has started preparing to assume its leadership role in all areas as the Mission’s drawdown progresses.”
Speaking at the RSIPF parade, the Commissioner of Police, Frank Prendergast commended Ms Braithwaite for the assistance that RAMSI has delivered to the RSIPF during her term as Special Coordinator.
“You will leave a legacy as the Special Coordinator who has always been a strong advocate for the RSIPF. This has been manifested in the projects that RAMSI is implementing under the RAMSI Drawdown Strategy including the staged limited rearmament of the RSIPF,” said Mr Prendergast.
Ms Braithwaite also paid tribute to the RAMSI Participating Police Force, whose members come from fifteen contributing Pacific Islands Forum nations and who work side-by-side with their Solomon Islander counterparts to strengthen, train and develop the RSIPF.
Ms Braithwaite leaves Solomon Islands at the end of October and a new Special Coordinator will be announced soon.