Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has assured the people of Shortland Islands that Border and Patrol Boat Outpost to be built at Lofung will bring many benefits to the communities along the western border region.
Apart from improved security benefits, Sogavare said the project once completed will bring economic and cultural benefits that come from living at the border.
People living along the border region share a border with a country that they are culturally connected to which cannot be stopped by relations purely because of international rules.
The Prime Minister however, cautioned that it is equally important that as a sovereign nation, our relationship is monitored and done, in such a way that our safety and wellbeing is being protected and not compromised.
“This border outpost is NOT here to stop the traditional border relations between Bougainville and Solomon Islands., “he said.
The Traditional Border Crossing Agreement between SIG and PNG still remains, is intact and respected.
Sogavare said the border outpost is established to ensure that everyone enjoy our border relations with PNG in a safe, regulated and peaceful manner.
The Prime Minister further assured border dwellers that this Patrol Boat Outpost is just the beginning of the good things ahead.
He said programs that may promote economic prosperity, social interaction and community partnership can be promoted as well.
This site could very well be the catalyst for FAMOA, to start planning on greater expansion for development. I hope that once completed, this project will provide the necessary enabler for other development opportunities in tourism and small to medium business ventures.
He encouraged people to see this project not only from a security lens, but also from a development aspect as well.
“We must be reminded that all things are connected, and if we view them in isolation, we may lose out on a lot of possibilities,”said.
Currently, due to COVID -19, the border relationship is suspended, but will eventually return to a new normal.
The border outpost will serve to ensure that activities are done in a manner that does not put the security and welfare of Solomon Islanders at risk.