Transparency Solomon Islands calls on the Executive Government to deal with the alleged unwanted and unprofessional behaviour and conduct of the Papua New Guinea Police Contingent in country at the request of our government following the protest and the rioting, lotting, that followed. Whilst Transparency Solomon Islands appreciates and commends the government of Papua New Guinea for coming to our help in our hour of need, how a few have conducted and behaved themselves towards Solomon Islanders who were subjected to these unruly and unprofessional conduct and behaviour is uncalled for and unacceptable.
A number of calls by citizens who have been subjected to these alleged unacceptable behaviour and those who witnessed it, have called on Transparency Solomon Islands on a number of occassions sharing and asking for help to get this to the right authority. These concerned citizens have also reported the incidences to the police calling for a stop to such unprofessional conduct, but there has not been much change they shared, since the beating up of the Kingdom Harvest Pastor. From that experience they shared that they are afraid to further report since this contingent is also in the habit of seeking out those who raise complaints and harassing them, pointing guns at them and simply being abusive. Whilst Transparency Solomon Islands acknowledges that raising this now in media it might be subjected to the same treatment, this conduct and behaviour has got to the point where it must be dealt with and addressed with immediate attention.
Transparency Solomon Islands notes that the Papua New Guinea contingency whilst here and under the current arrangement they have been given all the powers accorded to our Royal Solomon Islands Police Force. With that legal power they can anything that our RSIPF are empowered to do under our laws. These are enormous powers such as entry into private property etc. which they have probably used when they inhumanly abused the Kingdom Harvest Pastor. It is important to remind the Executive Government that in their discussion and consultations for this arrangement that, that power comes with the responsibility not to misuse and abuse it for issues that are not related to the work they are here to do. The abuse and misuse of it does nothing other than to bring disrespect to the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force, and people’s confidence in their police. Totally unwarranted in any situation not warranting the use of those powers. Transparency Solomon Islands understands that they are under the direct control and responsibility of our Commissioner of Police and as such, call on the Commissioner of Police together with the Commissioner of Police of Papua New Guinea to put a stop to the current unwarranted, unprofessional behaviour and conduct of some of the members of the Police Contingency from Papua New Guinea.
Since the reporting of some of these unprofessional behaviour and conduct at the end of a barrel of gun, Transparency Solomon Islands raised this to the responsible authorities to look into. So far it seems that very little has been done to curb these disrespectful and coercive behaviour. More disturbing is some comments from within the police force during our fact finding. These include members of the Solomon Islands Police Force feeling intimidated and afraid in their own offices and in the conduct of their duties when it comes to the alleged unacceptable conduct of some members of the PNG Police contingent. They are afraid to remind them when they witnessed these conducts that “this is not how we do things here, or that is too much”. They fear them because they have guns, they feel helpless and feel intimidated when it comes to the behaviour and conduct of some of the PNG Police Contingent.
Transparency Solomon Islands acknowledges that there are excellent officers within the PNG Police contingency but the behaviour and conduct of a few tarnishes the whole contingent, and this must stop. The Royal Solomon Islands Police Force cannot do without the PNG contingency it is admitted from within the force, for they are the only ones that the displeased rioters, looters and other criminal factions are holding them back from going on a rampage displeased with a country leadership that fails to listen to the cries of its people, they shared. RSIPF please remind them that the majority of people in Solomon Islands are not members of those who were responsible for the rioting, looting, and burning.
This disrespectful, coercive behaviour continues. This week it was reported that a married Solomon Islander going about his business, with his family was thrown abusive comments completely unacceptable, disrespectful, and inhuman, in custom and in any society. The married man repeated the same back to them in anger resulting in them getting out of their car with their guns at the ready pointing the gun at his head it is alleged and telling him that if he had a sister they would take her from him immediately ….. It was with much restrain from the married man that his family remained calm and did not retaliate. Before leaving they informed the abused that and TSI quotes “Your Government has failed …Government blo you hem fail government…”.
Transparency Solomon Islands acknowledges how ill-prepared the Solomon Islands Police Force is to deal with any crisis such as witnessed in Honiara end of last year. For this reason, external help is required and will be required long-term. Until such time as the Executive [s] does something about this situation, Solomon Islands will continue to depend on its development partners for security and safety and peace within the country. But that help and support must be delivered transparently, be accountable, respect human rights and be respectable and responsible. It cannot do just as it wishes and must keep within the law.
Transparency Solomon Islands therefore calls for an inquiry into the recent rioting and looting and in particular with focus on Police Response, capability, and resources. Above all and immediately TSI urges the Executive Government to look into the alleged misconduct, unprofessional behaviour of the Papua New Guinea Police Contingent currently in Solomon Islands. Transparency Solomon Islands thanks you along with Fiji and Australia for keeping the peace but do so with respect, professionalism, responsibility, and accountability.