Biting the hand that feeds

Solomon Islands behaviour and attitude towards recruiters for RSE scheme criticised



SOLOMON Islanders had been heavily criticised on how they behave towards recruiters under the Recognised Seasonal Employers (RSE) Scheme.

Recently Anthony Rarere from Pick Hawkes Bay told Radio New Zealand International (RNZI) that Solomon Islands is not an easy place to recruit out of. He said there is a high level of corruption and there is always a ‘horror story’.

“The last time we went I got threatened by a police officer unless I employ his wife,” Mr Rarere told RNZI.

In the story broadcasted this week, Rarere said he no longer feels safe in the Solomon Islands. The Rareres say they have not experienced these levels of intimidation elsewhere in the Pacific.

Rarere told RNZI that unemployment is so high in the Solomon Islands and people would rather give up their job to go over and work in New Zealand because they can earn more in six months in New Zealand than they can earn in three years in their own country.

RNZI reported that Rarere said he had made complaints about the threats made against him and about him being made to feel unsafe but nothing has changed.

The Royal Solomon Island Police Force (RSIPF) media unit has said that the RSIPF is aware of this story broadcasted on RNZI.

“We will investigate if the complainant files a complaint with the details of what happened so we can follow up but at this time, we have no record of the matter being reported to police. The RSIPF have in its structure the Professional standards and internal investigations (PSII) department which is tasked with the responsibility of investigating such allegations of misconduct against any of its officers.”

The RSIPF is also concerned that a police officer has been implicated in the story but will not be able to substantiate the allegation because of lack of evidence (naming of the officer or the wife).

The RSIPF media unit says they welcome any complaint of misconduct against any of their officers as they strive to develop a professional and ethical force where our people can have their full confidence and trust.

At the same time, the Solomon Islands High Commissioner in New Zealand says there are processes in place where everyone should follow.

“There are also mechanisms already in place where New Zealand recruiters who prefer to do direct recruiting need to follow and processes to raise concerns like this through Labor Mobility Unit (LMU),” Mrs Joy Kere told Island Sun.

However she says the RSE Scheme is employer driven and based on employer demand so it is eminent that Solomon Islands take the employer’s concern onboard.

Kere told RNZI that if recruiters like Anthony refuse to go to the Solomons, it would have a huge impact, not just on the seasonal workers, but for the country’s economy as a whole.

Meanwhile Anthony told RNZI that he would like to see the security issue resolved as he’s still keen to recruit Solomon Islanders, who have earned a great reputation as very diligent workers.

Pick Hawkes Bay currently employs 133 workers from Solomon Islands of which 75 are women.

Island Sun has not been able to get comments from the Labour Mobility Unit in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade.

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