SICCI commends the RSIPF’s Police Response Team (PRT) who were able to contain the disturbances experienced in Honiara last week avoiding further looting and damages to businesses and properties.

The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) commends the professionalism and capability shown by officers of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) and the Correctional Services in dealing with the violent unrest experienced in Honiara City.

This was following the election of the Prime Minister on Wednesday 24th April 2019, that sparked disturbances around Honiara.

From the early assessments by Police, the violent disturbances were largely opportunistic and driven by a few individuals.

SICCI, on behalf of its members and the business community, thank the hard work of the RSIPF officers who risked their own safety to maintain law and order in the capital.

SICCI particularly commended the RSIPF’s Police Response Team (PRT) who were able to contain the situation on Wednesday avoiding further looting and damages to businesses and properties.

“From our observations, we are impressed by the conduct of RSIPF and we call on our members and the general public to show support to the force on the streets and their executive in dealing with the situation,” SICCI Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ms Atenasi Ata, said.

“The Police work as seen these past days was one of utmost professionalism and endurance,” she added.

Ms Ata welcomes the assurance by the Police Commissioner that normalcy is back and pleas to individuals wishing to continue with more violence to think twice for the sake of peace in our capital and continuous growth of our country.

“Events like Wednesday's opportunistic violence can have significant negative impacts on business activities as we have witnessed these few days so as a Chamber, we strongly condemn the disturbances that has occurred.

“The resulting damages can set businesses back in having to rebuild and restock. The costs in non-operating days also impact on the everyday Solomon Islander. In most cases the customer at the end of the chain will meet these costs,” Ms Ata said.

On the other hand, the Chamber encourages members and the wider business community to return to their normal operations.

"Resuming your routine operations can help counter the uncertainty and fear that can also paralyze communities,” Ms Ata said.

In a statement (Friday 26th April), Police Commissioner Mathew Varley assured the public that the security situation in East Honiara is now under control.

“Such violence as shown since the election of the Prime Minister will not do anyone any good. It will only affect the lives of the innocent people in our communities including women and children.

“It will also affect businesses which provides employment for our local people and in turn provides revenue for the Government to fund much-needed public services including hospitals, schools and roads,” the Commissioner said.

SICCI also calls on Solomon Islanders to accept the outcome of the Prime Minister’s election and allow issues that came up to be dealt with accordingly through the right processes.

"At the end of the day there is a process for electing a country's political leaders. So, we are all encouraged as individuals to engage in those channels.

“It must also be kept in mind that laws and policies that impact on things like jobs for young people pushed out of the education system are captured in platforms of the Government of the day,” SICCI CEO, Ms Ata, said.

Therefore, the Chamber remains a ready and willing partner to develop the strategies concerning industry-growth and job creation.

“By doing this we can address the observation that the majority of the crowd causing the unrest were young unemployed men and boys,” Ms Ata said.

About the author

Philip Lilomo is the Chamber's Media & Communications Officer. Philip writes most of the Chamber's media releases. He also manages the website contents, designs the Chamber's monthly newsletter, brochures and maintains the organisation's visual branding. 

Philip can be contacted on email: media@solomonchamber.com.sb 

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