The Solomon Islands is planning to re-locate its consulate to Langley, the first diplomatic post to be established in the Township.
Last Monday, Premier Anthony Veke of the Solomons’ Guadalcanal Province visited with Langley RCMP officers.
The local police have established a relationship over the past several years with Ashwant Dwivedi, head of the Solomons consular post in Canada.
Veke thanked the RCMP for a book of condolences sent after flash floods struck the Solomons in 2014.
The island nation has a population of about 550,000, and like Canada, it is a former colony of Great Britain.
In 2014, flash flooding ravaged the Solomon Islands, which lie in the South Pacific north-east of Papua New Guinea.
The floods killed 22 people and displaced up to 50,000 from their homes, destroying buildings and farms.
Local consular head Dwivedi had a previous relationship with local police. He had offered training on diplomatic issues and had been a member of a diversity committee.
In honour of that relationship, the Langley RCMP set up a book of condolences at the detachment, signed by both mayors and then-head of the detachment Supt. Derek Cooke.
Veke visited to thank the Langleys for the outpouring of support.
He said the words and prayers of Langley residents helped propel Solomon Islanders to rebuild.
Veke also said that the Islands could learn a lot from the RCMP, particularly on community policing.
He said he was considering sending police commanders to Langley for training.
Dwivedi also expressed appreciation for the book of condolences, which is now in Guadalcanal provincial offices.
Current head of the Langley RCMP, Supt. Murray Power, was presented a traditional shell necklace as a token of thanks.
Power mentioned how even with Canada’s greater infrastructure and size, natural disasters can happen here as well, noting the Fort McMurray wildfires.
When it comes to disasters, Dwivedi pointed to the destruction climate change is causing in the Solomon Islands.
“We are a living victim of climate change,” Dwivedi said.
Five islands in the chain are now underwater, lost to rising sea levels. Another 11 may be lost, Dwivedi said.
The Solomons have 40,000 internally displaced people at the present, out of a population of a little more than 550,000.
by Matthew Claxton
Langley Advance news online