Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Matthew Wale expresses grave concern over the incident involving our local border police and a group of Bougainvilleans, at the Western border resulting in the intimidation of our officers and the seizer of a Police drone.
The Opposition Leader says, “This incident just made it public knowledge that a serious gap exists in our Covid 19 border control systems. Reports suggest, our border police were simply over powered by sheer numbers making them powerless and having no weapons of any sorts, there was nothing they can do to control the situation.
He said this is an embarrassment to Solomon Islands which must fall squarely on the government’s shoulders.
“While I condemn the action of the Bougainvilleans involved in the strongest of terms, the inadequate arming and resourcing of the border police has been an ongoing issue attracting little or no attention from the government.
“It is no secret that dealing with border crossers can get out of hand at times thus putting the lives of police officers and civilians alike in danger. The border was a war zone not too long ago and so our covid-19 preparedness plans should have given this history due consideration with appropriate mitigation measures in the form of light arms being made available.
“This incident flies right in the face of our Prime Minister whom was quick to praise our border front-liners last week. What is the government assurance in respect of these sorts of incidents?” Hon. Wale questioned.
The Opposition Leaders said any activity putting our front-liners on the back foot from quarantining outsiders entering Solomon Islands undermines our national interest in protecting the health and safety of our people, adding that the incident is also a clear example of how an unrelated threat if watered down can destroy any well-constructed preparedness plan.
“The incident therefore calls for immediate action and so I call on the government and the Covid 19 oversight committee to review their policies on border control measures, and to ensure that armed police or the required number of arms are on hand at the border for quick response as and when required,” Hon. Wale further added.