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Monday, April 28, 2008

Solomon police minister visits Australia for RAMSI consultations

The Minister for Police, National Security and Correctional Services, Hon Samuel Manetoali is holding consultations in Australia this week on RAMSI’s work with the Solomon Islands Police and Correctional Services.

Mr Manetoali who is being accompanied by Permanent Secretary, George Hiele on the four day visit, will meet with a range of senior Australian officials involved in the RAMSI deployment including the Australian Attorney General, Robert McClellan and the first special coordinator of RAMSI, Nick Warner, who led the mission to Solomon Islands in 2003 and now heads the Australian Department of Defence.

Shortly before he flew out, the Minister said the trip would give him a chance to meet face-to-face with many of those responsible for RAMSI in Australia.

“The visit is a very good opportunity as I will be able to see for myself, and find out first-hand information about what is happening and what is the thinking in Australia in regards to RAMSI,” he said

Mr Manetoali said that in return he would be briefing the Australian Government and relevant authorities on the CNURA Government’s policies on police and correctional services, especially the Government’s strong commitment to the maintenance of law and order and the development of a strong and independent police force in Solomon Islands.

Farewelling the Minister and Permanent Secretary yesterday, the Commander of RAMSI’s Participating Police Force, Denis McDermott said the visit was another way that RAMSI could provide the Solomon Islands Government with detailed information about the Regional Assistance Mission.

As part of their visit, the two will visit the International Deployment Group (IDG), which is the body responsible for preparing all Australian and Pacific Island police for deployment to Solomon Islands. They will hold talks with IDG’s National manager, Assistant Commissioner, Frank Prendergast and visit the replica Pacific training ‘village’ that has been created at the IDG to mirror the operational environment police will find themselves in, when deployed to the region.

“The IDG is constantly reviewing and improving its approach to pre-deployment training so RAMSI police now undergo a very different training from those who were first deployed nearly five years ago,” Mr McDermott said.

“We hope that the visit will help the Minister and the Permanent Secretary have a better sense of how RAMSI police personnel are prepared for deployment in the Pacific and elsewhere.”

The Solomon Islands delegation will also hold talks with the Deputy Superintendent of the Australian Capital Territories Correctional Service Centre and visit the Corrections Centre (prison) in the Australian regional town of Goulburn.

The Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, Mick Keelty, will host a dinner on Monday night, to be attended by the Solomon Islands High Commissioner, Victor Ngele as well as representatives from AusAID, the Australian Federal Police, and the Departments of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Prime Minister and Cabinet and Defence.

Source: RAMSI

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