The National Government through the Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Service, wish to express its disappointment to the article published by Alfred Sasako describing the Lofung Border Outpost as a ‘Nuclear – Powered Submarine Base’. Mr Sasako should have consulted responsible offices before publishing such stories.
The article is misleading and creates anxiety among the people. The government wish to reiterate that such unsubstantiated information and article poses security risk and a concern that should not be taken lightly as such misleading information has the potential to derail an important national project.
Whilst the Ministry respects the author’s right to free speech and freedom of the press, it is equally important to provide facts and not speculations. The government wish to reiterate that the use of the Western Border Patrol Boat Base at Lofung is to manage our border with Papua New Guinea and the assertion made by Sasako is false and misleading.
The Border Patrol Boat Base is the country’s second Patrol Boat Base and it will accommodate members of the Police Maritime, as well as, members of the Law Enforcement Agencies, such as Immigration, Customs, Health and Biosecurity.
It is to enable all these agencies to effectively carryout their duty along the PNG/SI border, which stretches from the Shortland Islands to the Malaita Outer Islands. Once the construction of the patrol boat base is completed, it will become the property of the Solomon Islands Government. Therefore, the assertion by Sasako in his article is misleading and irresponsible.
In terms of the architectural design of the patrol boat base, engineers are yet to carry out the assessments, which include environmental impact assessment, building designs, and hydrographic surveys. Therefore, the speculation highlighted in the article by Sasako lacked facts.
The Ministry wish to assure everyone that the ‘Lofung Border and Patrol Boat base in Western Province’, will not be used as ‘Nuclear – Powered Submarine Base’.
Solomon Islands is a signatory to the 1985 Rarontonga Treaty and is located in a nuclear free zone. As a nuclear free state, Solomon Islands prohibit nuclear powered or armed vessels including nuclear powered submarine to enter its waters. Furthermore, Solomon Islands object all forms of nuclear testing, storage or dumping of nuclear wastes or material in the Blue Pacific Ocean.