SICCI and RSIPF officials who attended the Executive Group meeting on Friday 7 August. The Group was formed under the MoU signed between both parties which provides a platform for cooperation.

The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) and the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) hosted their third Executive Group meeting for this year 2020 on Friday 7 August at the Police Headquarters in Rove, west Honiara.

Among the items discussed was the review of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between SICCI and RSIPF under which the Executive Group was established, the convening of the Road Transport Board (RTB), Community Policing, exemption process for businesses in the case of a lockdown situation and relevant updates from the RSIPF for the business community.

SICCI Vice Chairman, Ricky Fuoo chaired the meeting together with the Deputy Police Commissioner, Ian Vaevaso.

SICCI representatives which also included Board Members, Craig Gibsone, Qila Tuhanuku, Hilda Lamani, Daniel Tucker and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ms Atenasi Ata presented feedbacks and recommendations to RSIPF on the exemption process for businesses in the case of a lengthier lock-down period due to COVID-19.

SICCI Vice Chair, Mr Fuoo pointed out that there is no clarity on the process of approving and rejecting exemption applications from businesses as experienced during the previous simulated 72 hours lockdown in June as there has not been any responses to date from the COVID-19 Oversight Committee.

It is understood that the process is that businesses through SICCI will have to apply for exemption to the Oversight Committee within the Prime Minister’s Office to operate during a total lockdown period.

The Oversight committee will act as a screening body which will pass on selected businesses for exemption to the Commissioner of the RSIPF who will make the final decision in regards to granting businesses exemption to continue operating during a potential lockdown.

SICCI Board Member, Ms Qila Tuhanuku stressed that if there’s going to be another lockdown then businesses will need to be notified at least twenty-four (24) hours prior.

“Some companies need their specialized staff to be on site 24/7 to man machines and such to avoid breakdown or any potential disasters from happening. As such, companies will not want to be in a situation where they have to choose between duty of care or breaking the SOPE laws,” she said.

Deputy Police Commissioner, Mr Vaevaso gave his assurance that they have taken note of this concern raised by businesses and highlighted that it is a matter for the RSIPF and the Oversight Committee to improve on once another lockdown is imposed if and when the country records its first confirmed case.

The Group was also updated on SICCI’s support towards Community Policing by facilitating request for company sponsorship for community events while acknowledging the good work RSIPF have been doing in hotspot communities around Honiara through community policing.

While presenting the RSIPF update, Deputy Commissioner Vaevaso emphasized that the RSIPF is putting more resources on the country’s western border with Papua New Guinea and proposed to extend the emergency zone to Choiseul Province and the Malaita Outer Islands.

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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