RAMSI Special Coordinator surprised by “Black Box” claims by Solomons PM
RAMSI Special Coordinator, Tim George yesterday expressed surprise at the Prime Minister’s decision to once again raise allegations that mysterious black boxes were lifted out of the sea in front of the RAMSI headquarters.
Mr George said he was puzzled that the Prime Minister should repeat this claim to the national parliament last Friday as he had already personally provided the Prime Minister with formal written advice on the allegations in January of this year.
In his letter of 18 January Mr George re-assured the Prime Minister that there was nothing sinister in the activities referred to which had been part of a joint sea and air rescue exercise between the SIG authorities and RAMSI.
Prime Minister Sogavare told the parliament on Friday that “six boxes were lifted from the sea just outside of GBR…no one knows what they are because no one is allowed to go and check them,” the Prime Minister said.
However the Special Coordinator said today that it was simply not true that no one knew or that no one was allowed to check.
“In fact the Prime Minister knows himself the true story behind these claims because I told him,” Mr George said in a statement released yesterday.
“There was nothing sinister or secretive about this exercise, as it was actually involving SIG authorities and RAMSI, as I have already informed the Prime Minister.
Mr George said that he had taken time and care to check the claims after the prime minister raised it with him in a meeting on 11 January this year.
Mr George’s letter in response to the Prime Minister on 18 January, says in part:
“Regarding alleged reports of RAMSI helicopters taking containers out of the sea near GBR. In December 2006 RAMSI helicopters, as well as several boats, participated in a routine sea and air rescue exercise in the sea off GBR. This was a joint exercise with Solomon Island Government authorities. Nothing was removed from the sea”
The letter then goes on to state: “The above confirms that reports conveyed to you of possible untoward activities by RAMSI have no substance.
“Nevertheless please feel free to contact me with any genuine concerns you have about RAMSI and I will be happy to look into them and respond to you. Similarly the Commander of the Participating Police Force, Will Jamieson, and the Commander of the Combined Task Force, Lieutenant Colonel Martin, would be happy to meet with you at any time to brief you and respond to questions on the activities by the RAMSI police or military respectively.”
Mr George said he was always available to personally respond to any concerns the Prime Minister might have.