Dear Editor – The Royal Solomon Islands Police Force ( RSIPF) has only one patrol boat base in the whole of Solomon Islands. The second major base will be in the Shortland Islands to be funded and constructed by the Australian government.
Since Solomon Islands got its first patrol boat in the early 80s, it was rare to see a patrol boat moored for days or even weeks in a provincial capital. That was until last week when Honiara decided to send one of the Australian donated patrol boat to Auki under the pretext of keeping law and order. At present, Auki is like a defacto patrol boat base in addition to the Aola Base in Honiara.
Officially the RSIPF said the deployment of the patrol boat was to address “lawlessness” in Auki. The word “lawlessness” equates with “chaos” and “disorder.” What sort of lawlessness or chaos or disorder in Auki is hard to ascertain. The local media has not published any front page story about Auki descending into lawlessness or disorder like it did when Honiara spiralled into chaos late last year. Even the Solomon Islands Government controlled SIBC has not run any news about chaos in Auki. It seems the lawlessness advanced by the proponents of the deployment of RSIPF and foreign forces is yet to manifest in any real chaos on the ground.
Social media reports coming out from Auki say the deployed international police officers and their local RSIPF officers are enjoying their time in Auki. Upon their arrival in Auki last week, they found the town to be all but peaceful. In fact these deployed officers said they found Auki to be more peaceful than Honiara and seemed rather confused as to why they were deployed to Auki in the first place.
Observers are wondering what is going on here. Generally the RSIPF does not deploy its limited assets such as its patrol boats unless there is clear and present danger to the sovereignty and security of the country. For the past days, residents of Auki wake up to see that deployed patrol boat moored boringly at Auki Harbour with its crew and deployed officers walk and roam around Auki aimlessly with no lawlessness or threats to address.
It should be noted that Solomon Islands Government has a habit of misusing Australian donated patrol boats. Apart from using them to take Solomon Islands prime ministers to their villages like when former PM Lilo did to attend the death of his late mother, these boats were deployed in search of lost maritime treasures in Tulagi during the Mamaloni days. The boats were also deployed to Malaita Out Islands in search of lost treasures few years ago. In the 90s, late Mamaloni deployed the boats with police officers to protect logging operations in Russell Islands against opposition from local land owners and communities there.
The point to make here is that the deployment of RSIPF assets can be misused by political leaders for specific nefarious purposes. Is the deployment of RSIPF one of those misused deployment? Only time will tell.
Republished from YTTF