A personal thought on the Australian Aid Investment Plan for the SI with human development in mind

A personal thought on the Australian Aid Investment Plan for the SI with human development in mind

Posted by : Frank Short Posted on : 19-Apr-2021

In terms of the existing Solomon Islands Police Development Program (SIPDP) it is reported the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (SIPF) is building 2 police stations and officers’ barracks in Guadalcanal.

Work has already started on the construction of two new police stations at Aola and Avu Avu in Guadalcanal province to allow the RSIPF to continue delivering services in the province.

The Aola police station located in East Central Guadalcanal will be re-built after it was burnt down in a fire due to an electrical fault in 2020, and the Avu Avu police station in South Guadalcanal has been taken down and a new one built in its place.

The work is being undertaken through the partnership between the RSIPF and the SIPDP to support policing in the provinces.

Source. Island Sun newspaper.

The Solomon Islands Police Development Programs, to the best of my knowledge is part and parcel of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Aid Investment Plan for Solomon Islands by supporting stability, enabling economic growth, and enhancing human development.

Australia has consistently committed considerable resources to stabilizing and rebuilding SI policing capability and reforms to the rule of law in the Solomon Islands generally since 2003 which saw the arrival of the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI)

 Assistance to the law and justice sector is said to now makeup approximately 83 per cent of Australia’s bilateral assistance to the country

At the time planning for the intervention of RAMSI was considered, it is my understanding that Australia considered then, quote,

“The post-conflict environment in which the Government of Solomon Islands (SIG) operates poses significant challenges to providing basic services of state to the population. The majority of the rural population, and particularly women, youth, children and people with a disability, struggle to access adequate health.”

End of Quote.

I appreciate all Australia has done since 2003 to aid the law and order sector in the Solomon Islands, and the new police building developments underway simply add to the ongoing support in terms of the SIPDP.

I feel it is more than a pity, however, that a similar kind of Australian MHMS Development Project was never a consideration, especially as Australia stated the poor state of health services for the rural population, and “particularly women, youth, children and people with disabilities, struggle to access adequate health.”

Now, in 2021, 18 years after RAMSI arrived and the commencement of SIPDP support to the law and order sector, the state of health services for the rural population is far worse with very many of the former health clinics and health centres derelict and unused, as I have so very often written about.

I knew, from past service in the Solomon Islands how very badly the police needed new police stations, training, equipment and upgrading, and I have acknowledged my appreciation of the changes in the law and order sector, including the police service, but a balancing of aid with some money going into a re-building projects, long term, for the improvements in health facilities for the rural population might best have been implemented in 2003, or subsequently, is my personal opinion.

Yours sincerely

Frank Short


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