The Royal Solomon Island Police Force (RSIPF) Deputy Commissioner Operations Juanita Matanga has met with the Council of Chiefs on Mono Island in the Western Province on 25 August 2020 to discuss the issue of access to islands for police operations at the western border during the COVID-19 State of Public Emergency.
During the meeting, Deputy Commissioner Matanga explained, “My visit to Mono Island and other islands in the Shortlands this week is to discuss with you a concern by the Government and the RSIPF about the access for police operations as the country continues to put in measures to prevent the COVID-19 entering our country through the western border from Bougainville.”
“And to make sure police is able to carry out its operation for the safety of our country we need to have a mutual understanding between the chiefs and the landowners of these islands and the RSIPF to allow free access to your islands for the purpose of carrying out the COVID-19 operation.”
“I want to ask the chiefs, landowners and elders of this island to give free access to my officers to allow them to move from island to island without any restriction to enable them to carry out their duties effectively,” says Deputy Commissioner Matanga.
“To keep our shores free from COVID -19 it is our responsibility to work together.”
Deputy Commissioner Matanga adds, “I really appreciate the permission granted by the chiefs, landowners and elders of Mono for the two islands in Mono specifically Soana Talu and Kopuria to be accessed by RSIPF officers manning the western border when there is a need.”
“I want to also acknowledge the Member of Parliament for the Shortlands, Hon. Chris Laore, the Joint Working Committee of people from Famoa and Fauro and the landowners of the Shortland Islands residing in Honiara for facilitating my discussions here in Mono and the rest of the Shortlands.”
“With the granting of permission for free access coming from the rightful authority on Mono Island, I want to sincerely say thank you to the community here for your support and the trust you have placed on our officers for the security of our people on this island and the rest of Solomon Islands,” says Deputy Commissioner Matanga.
Deputy Commissioner Matanga will also hold discussions with chiefs, elders and landowners on other islands in the Shortland Islands and in Choiseul to discuss the same issue of free access by RSIPF officers deployed to the western border for the COVID-19 operation.