Immigration officers facilitate traditional TBC documents for Shortland Islanders travellers to Buka
Police Forward Command Post (PFCP) Commander, Kulitanai Inspector Kerry Sireheti says, “The facilitation occurred at Kulitanai Police Station. The Kulitanai-Korovou Port is designated Ports Gazetted under section 5 of the Immigration Act 2012. Taro in Choiseul Province, Kariki, Harapa and Mono in Western Province are also ports of entry under TBC.
“The traditional Border Crossing is under the revised basic border treaty signed between Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea in Gizo Western Province in August 2019 to manage safe and secure movement for border communities.”
Inspector Sireheti says, “The recent Joint SI-PNG Border operation commenced between Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF), Immigration and Customs as of Tuesday 19 November 2019. The members of the Joint border operations posted to the designated ports of entry to manage the border crossing to ensure that traditional border crossers are checked and declare their departures and entries to Immigration.”
“RISPF is providing supports for Immigration and Customs to ensure that the TBC is peaceful and lawfully administered. The Joint border operations team is assisting border communities with awareness on how to implement traditional border crossing.”
Inspector Sireheti explains: “The Joint Border operation team is a long term plan for the SI-PNG border of Western and Choiseul Provinces. RSIPF, Immigration, and Customs’ presence is not here in the SI-PNG for the Bougainville referendum only but to protect Solomon Islands international borders.”
“Since people from the Shortland Islands and part of Choiseul have cultural ties with people from Bougainville, there are special arrangements made for their border crossing. If you like to go to Bougainville do call in at those designed ports of entry for clearance. On your return from Bougainville you have to call in back for clearance as well.”
Inspector Sireheti adds: “Other Solomon Islanders apart from the mentioned areas will be using normal passports for border crossing. For those from Bougainville related to Shortland Islanders especially villagers close to the common border also have that special arrangements because they are blood-related.”
“PNG Immigration officers will be stationed on the other side of the common border to make sure whoever is crossing will be checked. Any visitor from other countries will have to come through the Honiara International Airport for proper checking,” says Inspector Sireheti.